Greenwashing without shame

Their chilling corporate tagline reads:

Change YOUR image to change THEIR minds

Yes, the headers on the Website “Greenwashers Consulting” have a green tinge.

And why not; this is what they’re selling: a green smiley face for polluters to fool the gullible public.

They’re brazen about their duplicity:

Rather than changing infrastructure, we are able to streamline a lasting eco-friendly appearance while simultaneously reducing costs to your business. We are proud to be the leading cosmetic surgeons of the green image. Call us for a consultation today.

I called their toll free line for more information and got a recorded message telling me to leave my contact info.

So, I surfed through their Website more, a virtual chamber of horrors of PR obfuscation and trickery. And with slick graphics, too.

Trained in the art of investigative journalism, I decided to take on and expose Greenwashers Consulting. And if, down the road, the Pulitzer folks want to recognize my work, I will humbly accept their award.

Posing as a polluter in need of their services, using my regular email account as a double reverse to throw them off, I emailed them the following:

Dear Greenwashers,

I may or may not be Head of Media Relations for a large multinational corporation (the name must remain confidential for now) which may or may not be based in the United States. It is safe to say that were I to tell you our name, you WOULD recognize it (to the extent, if any, that it does, in fact, exist).

One of our projects (hereafter referred to as “the Project”) may or may not need your services in the near future.

Our air conditioning unit may or may not have a division (run under sec. 17c of the US Code with a corporate shell and different name) that annually may or may not release several million tons of GHG forcing agents into the atmosphere. These compounds may or may not be up to 23 times more potent than CO2. (The Project’s unofficial slogan may or may not be: “CO2 is for wimps.” I still may or may not get a chuckle out of that.)

I do not believe it is necessary to spell out our mission (if, in fact, we have one) or the corporate vision that may or may not guide The Project.

We may or may not operate in the neighborhood of two dozen twelve-ton emitters primarily in semi-dormant volcanoes in the third world. Siting may or may not have been my decision, one, I have to say, I may or may not be quite proud of!

A team of volcanologists at a major university may or may not have recently stumbled upon one operation that may or may not be located in Latin America and may or may not have threatened to go public with the discovery. They may or may not be currently weighing our offer (if one were made) to become a major donor to their alleged department. The dean may or may not be interested, but some of the graduate students may or may not have “ethical” problems with her potential decision. We may or may not believe it is prudent to have a Plan B in place, in the event that the department may or may not choose foolishly.

What kinds of suggestions do you have for the theoretical circumstances I may or may not have outlined above?

I may or may not look forward to hearing from you,

With potentially possible sincerity,
John Smith
VP, Media Relations
The Project

PS You may reply using the from-line address. It may or may not have been hijacked from a lower-tier so-called “environmental journalist.” The irony may or may not be a source of immense gratification to our division, if it exists.

My ruse works!

Within minutes I received a reply by email.

We are processing your information. Thank you for your interest in Greenwashers Consulting! We are looking foreword to working with you and your business-

-Arthur Denton,
Greenwashers Consulting

The name sounded familiar. At first I thought it was shared by the hapless protagonist of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the first in Douglas Adams’ brilliant trilogy in four parts. (Or was it five?)

But, no, I recalled, that was “Arthur Dent.”

Using tradecraft reserved for tough situations, I turned to every experienced journalists’ ultimate source. I’m referring, of course, to Wikipedia (aka: Shallow Throat).

I had heard that name before. Arthur Denton was the sadomasochist played by Bill Murray in the movie version of the musical Little Shop of Horrors.

I believe I have uncovered satire. It’s brilliantly executed and definitely worth a visit.

Like all the best satire, Greenwashers Consulting will make you laugh and cry. Greenwashers is a serious joke. As satisfied customer Edward F.J. writes in a testimonial:

G.C. deserves more recognition than is strictly allowed to give. You undoubtedly have seen their work on television and perhaps even in your local community and print advertising.

Undoubtedly. Unfortunately.

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