Don’t let companies get away with greenwashing bluster | Letters

Emma Thompson’s recent article on greenwashing (Greenwashing is Driving Our Descent into Climate Catastrophe. But We Can Stop It, August 2) rightly highlights how fossil fuel companies have delayed and deceived us for decades. decades with their false promises. However, the bluster of greenwashing goes well beyond the oil and gas industry and pervades a wide number of sectors, blinding us collectively to the scale of the change needed and obscuring where the real solutions lie.

Last year, outside of London Fashion Week (without permission), we launched our website,, which highlights the wide range of greenwashing tactics used by the fashion industry, and we have since added examples of plastics and packaging. By seeing examples “in the wild”, we hope to help citizens, corporate employees and policy makers learn how to become greenwashing super-detectors.

Greenwashing misleads us; it’s unfair to companies making the right changes, and it acts like a giant placebo – making us think change is happening when it isn’t.

Activism is an important route to change, but it doesn’t always mean taking to the streets. Greenwashing cases can be brought to both the Competition and Markets Authority and the Advertising Standards Authority, with the EU and US soon to update their mechanisms to deal with it. Action here will help set a precedent that fake marketing will not be tolerated and will encourage companies to provide full proof of what they deem to be green.
George Harding Rolls
Campaign Manager, Changing Markets Foundation

We need many more like Emma Thompson to speak often and loudly. Most of us feel absolutely helpless. In the 1970s there was a successful boycott of all South African products, because of apartheid, and we did everything we could to make sure we didn’t buy anything from South Africa. What we need now is a web platform with the reach of Facebook or Google to capture the appropriate global boycotts of companies that do nothing or green their businesses.
Julien Crane
Wellington, New Zealand

Is advertising the real problem? I do not think so. Reflecting on the impact of the anti-tobacco campaign, ad protest might change some minds by challenging the propaganda of the fossil fuel industry, but would that lead to the urgent change that is impose? And as we know, these companies move quickly to exploit different channels and circumvent restrictions. It will address the symptoms rather than the cause. The exploitation and use of fossil fuels fuels an existential threat to the world’s population in which they effectively have no choice or say.

Fossil energy companies achieve this because they are not required to absorb their externalities, the costs of which they impose on the community.

These are almost incalculable – including pollution, plastics, environmental destruction and corruption. If this industry were to account for these costs, the fossil fuels would stay in the ground and the industry would collapse. This is the question that demands an urgent global political response. The ban on advertising is laudable, but in the final analysis it is only a gesture. The time for gestures has passed.
Neil Blackshaw
Whittingham, Northumberland

Emma Thompson is clearly an eco-warrior who rightly seeks to ban fossil fuel advertising and sponsorship, but she can’t undo the negative contribution she and other high-profile celebrities have made to the cause over the years. many years as part of the 1% of flyers responsible for up to half of total carbon emissions from commercial and private aircraft. Who can forget his 5,400 mile trip to and from California to be in the Extinction Rebellion protest boat in 2019, a trip that emitted 1.6 tons of carbon?
Bill Jackson

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