As the United Nations gathered in Madrid for climate talks, a debate emerged over how to distinguish companies truly committed to eco-friendly policies from companies looking to cash in on social sentiment. On the first day of the UN climate talks, the Madrid-based utility Endesa took out full-page ads in some of Spain's top newspapers, pledging to shut down its power plants and boost renewable energy. While some applauded the move, others pointed out that Endesa is Spain's biggest polluter, prompting a debate over Endesa's intentions, reports Bloomberg
(12 December, Millan Lombrana, Hodges). Consumers are increasingly socially conscious and committed to environmentally-friendly policies, forcing corporations to step into line. But some companies are perceived as only greenwashing, or convincing consumers they are working to protect the environment, for the sake of their own business. Jennifer Morgan, executive director of the environmental group Greenpeace International, said that greenwashing companies do more damage than good. "Some of these companies try and claim they’re compliant with the Paris Agreement, and they are at the same time keeping governments back from being more ambitious," Morgan said. Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg echoed these remarks, arguing that "[t]he real danger is when politicians and CEOs are making it look like real action is happening, when in fact almost nothing is being done apart from clever accounting and creative PR."
From "Greenwashing Concerns Soar as Companies Vow to Clean Emissions"
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