hsbc at it again
The UK's advertising regulator has banned two HSBC advertisements for being "misleading" about the company's work to tackle climate change.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the banking giant can no longer run the ads which promoted its plans to reduce harmful emissions.
The watchdog said that the posters "omitted material information" about HSBC's activities.
It marks the ASA's first action against a bank for so-called "greenwashing".
An HSBC spokesperson told the BBC that "The financial sector has a responsibility to communicate its role in the low carbon transition to raise public awareness and engage its customers."
"We will consider how best to do this as we deliver our ambitious net zero commitments," they added.
Greenwashing - branding something as eco-friendly, green or sustainable when this is not the case - misleads consumers into thinking they are helping the planet by choosing those goods or services.
In East Africa, an engineering company is preparing to start work on the construction of an environmentally devastating oil pipeline that threatens to derail vital targets set out in the Paris Agreement. And in the north of India, one of the world's largest cement companies - which last year emitted more CO2 than Greece - has applied to clear a large swathe of forest less than a kilometre away from a wildlife sanctuary.
All these companies' operations have not only been facilitated by HSBC - which claims it is "helping to lead the transition to a more sustainable world" - but have benefitted from deals that the bank has labelled sustainable finance.
HSBC has committed to contribute up to $1trillion in sustainable financing and investment by 2030. However, the Bureau can reveal that billions of dollars being counted towards this target are in fact helping to fuel the climate crisis.
the F-list 2022
Clean Creatives issued a new report today, “The F-List 2022” that documents 90 Ad and PR agencies working with fossil fuel corporations that are responsible for climate change and compares holding company pledges for climate action with their work to greenwash their clients’ image and spread climate misinformation.
Read all about it here.
heard it all before?
Sounds like a good thing, but if you're reading this remember who McKinsey are and what their motivation is. They have such an investment in the status quo it's hard to believe anything they say ...
The Alliance to End Plastic Waste, backed by 65 companies including Exxon and Shell, is doing an amazing job at, well, not doing anything about ending plastic waste. Its what greenwashing on steroids looks like.
In 1962 the London Royal College of Physicians published an in-depth and groundbreaking report on the dangers of smoking to human health. Ten years later the Benson & Hedges Cup was born – a sponsorship deal between a tobacco company and cricket that lasted 30 years.
The Sunday League knockabout was sponsored by John Player between 1969 and 1986, ciggies given out willy-nilly in dressing rooms from Headingley to Hove, 1980s all-rounders battled it out for the Silk Cut Challenge, while the 1992 and 1996 Cricket World Cups were sponsored by B&H and Wills cigarettes. So it went on, in as many sports as you could mention, until a ban on tobacco sponsorship and sport kicked in UK-wide in 2002. Read the story in the Guardian here
And they're still doing it.
Oil and Gas - the tobacco of today. Read about it here
Anybody who has undertaken a beach clean-up or seen pictures of the seas filled with plastic waste can tell you that Coca-Cola product packaging is ever present in areas where they are likely to break down into microplastics and pollute our water, soil and food chains for thousands of years to come.
Now a report by the Changing Markets Foundation has slammed the company, along with many others, for greenwashing its packaging in a bid to persuade consumers that progress is being made in addressing is critical problem.
Coca-Cola claims its new bottles are made using 25% marine plastics recovered from beaches in Spain and Portugal and from the Mediterranean Sea. At the same time failing to acknowledge its responsibility in creating the mess in the first place. Read the whole sorry story here
SOMETHING YOU CAN DO:
Have you seen a BP or Shell advert recently? They love to talk up their green credentials and commitment to renewable energy - but behind the scenes, they're still ploughing money into opening up new fossil fuel projects.
We can't let them get away with this spin. That's why I have just signed a petition calling on YouTube to ban all greenwashing from fossil fuel companies on its platform. Will you help me show them they need to lead the way on this? Join me and sign the petition:
BAnks leading climate destruction
And yet .... sport gives a perfect cover for companies who want to 'green up' their image. So we have decided to create our very own awards - SPORTSWASHER of the year. These companies spend a fortune to be able to plaster their names across all sorts of sports - presumably hoping people will be fooled into believing they are good, healthy organisations. Nothing wrong with sponsorship - except when it's by one of these oil producing, oil investing climate destroyers.
" .... event sponsorships are a way to build credibility and authority around your business. Essentially, you attach your business to worthy causes and high-profile events in order to nurture positive associations. Customers who attend are given strong reasons to believe you are reliable and trustworthy." Reference
How about these for a start:
HSBC official banking partner of Wimbledon tennis, rugby 7s, golf, badminton
Standard Chartered sponsoring Liverpool shirts
Emirates sponsoring 7 football teams including Arsenal, AC Milan ..
Ethihad airlines sponsoring Manchester City, Formula 1...
J P Morgan sponsoring the MCC, the US Open Tennis ...
Barclays official banking partner of the premier league
Ineos (oil & gas exploration) sponsoring cycling, football and the NZ rugby team
Greenwash from energy companies
Greenwash in meat production
Greenwash in aviation
Carbon offsetting is not warding off environmental collapse – it’s accelerating it
Wealthy companies are using the facade of ‘nature-based solutions’ to enact a great carbon land grab ....
Watch this explanation - 'Carbon Offsets 101'
greenwash: mind your language
You've been hearing them all year, the way the government and big business talk about their progress in reducing emissions. Admittedly from time to time the stories are true, but are mostly exaggerated and are mostly just deceiptful. They want to tell us about all the great things they are doing but it's important to understand how they tell their stories and how in doing this how they mislead us all - into believing they're actually doing something positive. A recent article suggests we must be on alert all the time to spot Greenwash - "To survive this post-Cambridge Analytica world you must treat everything you encounter as if it might be a #sponsoredpost". Read the article here
The biggest myth of all is that we can look forward to infinite growth. In 1961 the UN produced statistics to show that the world population was living within what nature could support. Since then the estimated level of resources and ecosystem services required to support human activities today is just over 1.7 Earths, fast moving to becoming 2 Earths by 2030. (reference). If everyone on the planet lived like the population of the UK we would need 3 Earths. That's pretty simple to understand; what we urgently need to do is slow down, stop some of our destructive habits and help nature recover. We carry on, the truth manipulated, destructive behaviour continuing and denial all around. Companies and governments across the world making it look as if they are trying and doing something. Watch carefully.
In spite of the occasional bit of good news, most of the landscape is pretty bleak. Big corporations and governments around the world are finally starting to say the right things about the Climate And Ecological Emergency; it's only taken them 50 years since science showed unequivocally what a catastrophe we are heading towards. Unfortunately their fine words are often accompanied by lies, half truths and disinformation. We will be highlighting some of the most spectacular examples of this cynical behaviour and awarding them "Certified 100% Greenwash". If you have any examples of Greenwash you'd like to share or would like to get in touch, please use email@example.com