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Greenwashing Celebration: Eco-Business Awards a Farce

Thursday, November 12, 2009 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: greenwashing, business, health news

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(NaturalNews) Business in the Community's 2009 Responsible Business Awards for ecological responsibility were dominated by companies that have made their fortunes exploiting the Earth, writes Guardian columnist Fred Pearce in his series "Greenwash."

"Greenwashing" refers to the practice of putting an environmentally friendly face on companies or practices that are anything but.

The greenwashing began with the sponsors, with Bank of America the world's largest funder of mountaintop removal coal mining and also it's largest underwriter of debt handing out a Climate Change Award. Finalists for this award included Toyota, the world's largest car maker and thus a major contributor to global warming, and United Biscuits, which purchases large quantities of palm oil from monoculture plantations that have replaced native rain forest in Indonesia.

Deforestation is also a major contributor to global warming.

The Environmental Leadership Award was sponsored by Adsa, which has failed to inform consumers of any progress on its 2007 promise to remove all unsustainably produced palm oil from its products, in violation of commitments it made as part of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. The award went to the Co-op, which is two years behind on its own reporting to the Roundtable.

The Responsible Marketing and Innovation Award was sponsored by Procter & Gamble, which has come under fire for a wide variety of practices from animal testing of cosmetics, failing to reveal the ingredients in its laundry detergents, falsely labeling its detergents as "future friendly," and aggressively marketing disposable diapers in Third World countries. The award went to Thames Water, a privately held water utility serving large areas of the United Kingdom, for its "campaign to promote the serving of tap water in London's restaurants, bars and hotels."

"Here we defy parody," Pearce wrote. "Forgive me, isn't tap water just about the only thing that Thames Water sells? It would be one of life's great surprises if it were not promoting its one and only product. Does it deserve a prize for this self-sacrifice?"

Sources for this story include: www.guardian.co.uk.

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