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BP, Chevy and GE

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 11:25 PM

Further exploring the concept of greenwashing, I decided to take a look at some of the biggest companies around the world and see how they go about giving their image a "green" vibe. Obviously, design plays a large role in this, plenty of earthy tones: greens, blues, browns, etc.,. Clean, simple designs, and (undoubtedly absurdly expensive) television advertisements with top-notch production quality. Here are three big ones that impact your everyday life:

At one time known as British Petroleum, BP is the third largest global oil company and is one of the so-called "Big oil" companies, a term often invoked in political contexts. As can be easily seen from this logo at the left, BP has rather successfully cast itself as a enviro-friendly company. A green and yellow starburst vaguely resembling a flower or the sun certainly gives the impression of a "green" company. BP, now dubbing itself "Better Petroleum" has given to producing animated television spots featuring Charlie Brown looking characters who find BP stations as wonderful, exciting oases in a sea of oil drudge. Here are a couple:


Additionally, you can see the BP website here to experience all the greenwashing for yourself.

Next up is Chevrolet. Chevrolet is of course not strictly run independently, but rather, is run by General Motors, the world's fourth largest automobile manufacture. But Chevrolet specifically has gone to great lengths to seem environmentally friendly. Below is an image capture from their website:
As you can see, Chevy prides themselves on being anywhere from "Gas-friendly to gas-free." This from a company whose cars boast up to 35 mpg (source, GM), when there are other cars on the road that can get up to 50 mpg and cars in the European market that can exceed that. Additionally, Chevy features a commercial with the Jonas Brothers, a rock band for the Disney market, where the Brothers demand that they're ride to a gig be in a "green" vehicle. Let's watch:

The car featured is the 2008 Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, and while the hybrid technology is a plus, the vehicle still only gets 20 mpg.

The third and final big company on this list is General Electric. With their slogan, "imagination at work" GE has made a commitment to environmental friendliness called ecomagination. The ecomagination website features press releases, downloads and commercials for GE. GE, begun by Thomas Edison himself, is the third largest company in the world, owning subsidiary technology companies, as well as 80% of NBC Universal (one of the largest media companies in the world). This image is from the GE website:
GE has a horrible environmental record, once being titled the fourth largest corporate producer of pollution in the United States. And of course, the shameless greenwashed commercials:


Although, I've got to hand it to them, they do produce very charming commercials, if only they spent that money on developing those resources...

Posted by Jeff Hammond

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