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Greenwashing, coined by Jay Westerveld, describes practices of branding or marketing that mislead consumers about social and environmental benefits to generate profit without meaningfully acting on the issues they claim to support; a common strategy adopted by the fast fashion and fossil fuel industries - Remake Our World, adapted by Michelle Xie [1]

Examples of Greenwashing

Canadian Banks

Several climate justice groups in so-called Canada are targeting Canada's major banks. 

  • Banks know from their consumer preferences research that climate change matters to their customers, so most of them put a small amount of their funding towards initiatives that encourage a 'green' image.
  • Banks pouring a small amount of their earnings into climate-friendly initiatives misleads the public into believing that they are environmentally-friendly companies, as some of the largest fossil fuel funders in the world. [2]
  • Check out this instagram post by Banking on a Better Future for more specific examples of RBC's greenwashing.

Exxon Mobile [3]

ExxonMobil has taken many initiatives to paint themselves as a 'green' company, despite being a fossil fuel company (direct culprits behind the climate crisis).

  • Exxon says they have invested more than $10 billion in “lower-emission technologies” since 2000.
  • In 2021, the company unveiled a division called ‘Low Carbon Solutions’ with plans to invest $3 billion on “lower emission energy solutions” through 2025, specifically through carbon capture and storage.
  • However, between 2010 and 2018, ExxonMobil reportedly spent 0.2% of its capital expenditure on sources of low-carbon energy. These initiatives, therefore, are misleading.

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