The top 5 companies that practice greenwashing
The France 2 broadcast this Thursday, January 26 “ Superprofits: multinationals wear green ». Elise Lucet puts three companies in the dock for greenwashing: TotalEnergies, BNP Paribas and Nespresso. But in the Top 5 companies that practice greenwashing the most, we should not forget Coca-Cola and Adidas.
To listen to them, all multinationals will be green » and ” eco-responsible ». But behind the words, the truth is often less colorful. NGOs attack the most polluting companies, trying to paint their activities as green without real change. The top 5 of these companies? TotalEnergies, BNP Paribas, Nespresso, Adidas and Coca-Cola.
N°1: BNP Paribas, the “green” investor?
BNP Paribas made a record profit of 9.5 billion euros in 2021. The bank mainly promotes its investment funds “green”. However, the NGOs Oxfam France, Friends of the Earth France and Notre Affaire à Tous recognized BNP Paribas as the leading European funder and 5th in the world for the development of fossil fuels. On October 26, 2022, they gave BNP Paribas three months to comply with the law on the duty of care on climate matters.
This Tuesday, January 24, BNP Paribas announced that it wants to reduce its financing for oil production by 80% and by 30% for gas by 2030. Therefore, this commitment does not cover all supporting activities its for fossil fuels. and never ends. financing for new oil and gas projects.
According to the report of Oxfam France Banques et Climat, in 2020, BNP Paribas induced the release of 749 million tons of CO2 equivalent, meaning a carbon footprint greater than the national territory of France.
N°2: TotalEnergies, the main player in the energy transition?
TotalEnergies now focuses its communication on renewable energies and carbon offsetting. In an advertising campaign, the company claims that a ” key player in the energy transition”. A status rejected by environmentalists. Greenpeace ensures that the fossil fuel giant remains “one of the world’s biggest polluters”.
In October 2020, the associations Wild Legal, Sea Shepherd France and Darwin Climax Coalitions filed a complaint against Total, specifically accusing it of air degradation. Since December 2021, the company has been the subject of an investigation opened by the Nanterre public prosecutor’s office for “deceptive marketing practices” in the field of environment. In March 2022, Greenpeace France, Friends of the Earth France and Notre Affaire à Tous also took the company to court for “ greenwashing » and of” deceptive business practices”. Still under investigation, this complaint has not, at this stage, led to the opening of an investigation or been included in ongoing investigations.
Also read: Justice: what do NGOs accuse of TotalEnergies’ EACOP project?
The company still organizes and funds ecocide projects today, such as Eacop. This heated pipeline project alone will release 34 million tons of CO2 emissions each year according to the NGO Afiego, IDI and the company BankTrack. TotalEnergies will release worldwide 488 million tons of CO2 equivalentaccording to Oxfam.
N°3 – Coca-Cola, towards carbon neutrality?
Thanks to the promotion of recycling, the beverage giant presents itself as an environmentally friendly company and a player in the circular economy. But the Break Free From Plastic alliance recognizes Coca-Cola as the number one plastic polluter in the world. This alliance mobilizes volunteers from around the world to collect plastic waste in streets, parks, cities and on beaches. The waste will be identified and classified by brand, to identify the most polluting companies in the world. Coca-Cola leads the way, ahead of PepsiCo and Unilever.
Also read: Greenwashing: spot the tricks of deceptive advertisements
In 2020, the company produced nearly 3 million tons of plastic for its packaging. At the same time, Coca-Cola is putting a strategy ” Net Zero Carbon in 2040. The multinational indicates that it wants to reduce its emissions in Europe by 30% by 2030, meaning 2.5 million tons of CO2 over this horizon. Problem: the very notion of carbon neutrality makes no sense for a company, asserts the Agency for Ecological Transition (Ademe).
N°4 – Adidas, the ally against plastic pollution?
Two complaints for false advertising were filed in 2021 and 2022 against the brand: one by the NGO Zero Waste France, another by an individual. In their view: commercials featuring sneakers using the words ” End plastic waste » (“Let’s end plastic waste”) and “ 50% recycled materials ». The small lines indicate that in reality, only the upper part of the shoe is made up of half of the recycled material. According to Adidas, the company emits 6 million tons of CO2 per year.
N°5 – Nespresso, a recyclable but not recycled capsule
In 2022, the associations CLCV (Consumption, housing and living environment) and CCFD-Terre solidaire launched legal action against the Nespresso brand, accused of deceptive commercial practices. According to François Carlier, president of CLCV, the company uses ” excessive charge” by showing its carbon neutrality or by highlighting the aluminum capsules ” 100% recyclable ».
According to the Infos waste site, Nespresso ensures that ” 60% » of the 10 billion aluminum coffee capsules per year is “ recycled or recovered” after using. In fact, 81% of the aluminum that makes them up and 60% of the coffee that contains them will be lost.