Misleading? Lies? Greenwash?
Simply enough, they co-op the Climate Movement narrative, use the same designs and same kinds of slogans so glancing at a poster like this (which recently appeared in several locations in Brussels) you might even think coal is a good thing. The posters are part of a PR campaign promoted by the Polish state-owned coal company @Grupa_PGE which is aiming to dig coal up to 2044.
Poland is currently building 4.3 GW of new coal-fired power generation capacity. According to the government, these will be the last coal power plants to be built in Poland, output from coal and lignite plants will thus remain relatively stable through to 2030 What is it that the Polish Government doesn't understand about continuing to burn coal?
1. False Claims or vague language: The Advertising Standards Authority says this is the area it receives the most complaints about. And some firms have already had adverts banned.
2. Images of nature or green buzzwords: Phrases such as "eco", "sustainable" and "green" are commonly used by companies to make the business appear environmentally conscious - but they rarely pertain to any scientific standards.
3. Hiding information: For example, a firm could claim to be environmentally-friendly, but not take into account supply-chain emissions from a coal-powered overseas factory used to make part of a product.
4. Look out for Carbon Offsetting: A government, business or individual can attempt to balance their own emissions by finding other ways to remove an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The process is called carbon offsetting. But environmental groups argue this is kicking the problem into the long grass rather than dealing with the issue of actually cutting emissions.
5. Check Company ownership: Larger firms, or conglomerations, with a high environmental impact have often bought smaller brands to target environmentally conscious customers who otherwise might not have chosen to spend with them. So knowing what, or who, the ultimate owner of a firm is could be important if you want to find out their entire environmental impact.
6. Eco-friendly products in a wider range: Some firms will market environmentally beneficial products, but will omit information about the impact of their other products.
7. Is the produce and its packaging recyclable ? The "recyclable" label on some plastic items can be used for products that are not easy to recycle. In 2018, McDonald's announced it was going to get rid of single-use plastic straws in its restaurants, and offer paper straws instead. But the following year, it was accused of greenwashing when it was revealed the straws weren't actually recyclable.
Want to know what Offsetting is and what the problems are with it?