The Greenrinsing of BP?

| 4/8/2008 12:43:59 PM

BP stationBP may soon sell the renewable energy portion of its business, according to Sustainable Industries. The company has promoted itself as environmentally friendly for years, but it may now concentrate its resources on petroleum excavation.

“A top-down decision has been made to pull away from touting any ‘green’ initiatives in the media,” an anonymous source claims, “and in fact major ‘green’ advertising buys have been canceled.” But that claim comes just as The New Republic launches an environment and energy blog with BP as its sponsor. Is this sponsorship a dishonest ploy by BP, or does the “anonymous source” have it wrong?

Critics who label BP’s green marketing as dishonest greenwashing might welcome the disappearance of advertising linked to environmentalism. But it’s unclear whether BP would totally overhaul its image along with its investments. If BP deserts its renewable research, will it keep the Helios logo, introduced in 2000, linking it in the public imagination to the sun, sunflowers, and renewable energy sources? It’s disappointing to think BP may ditch renewables, but another, even more critical question remains. How can the public, conditioned to consider certain companies environmentally responsible, stay informed about “greenrinsing” companies that abandon renewable solutions after years of green brand building?

Lisa Gulya

Image by, licensed under Creative Commons.

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