Mar. 23, 2023

Greenwash Ranking 2010

Source: Southern Weekend;

Date: January 6, 2011

Reporters: He Haining, Meng Dengke, Lv Zongshu, Feng Jie, Yuan Ying, Peng Liguo
Greenwashingthe corporate strategy of promoting an environmentally friendly image without enacting environmentally responsible practicesis false advertising.
In 2010, greenwashing was in abundance, and we took the liberty of choosing the year's top greenwashers in these 10 categories: domestic company, multinational company, industry, invention, product, project, action, news, country and food.
Domestic Company
Winner: Zijin Mining Group
Key to success: Pollution of the Ting RiverZijin, China's largest gold producer, says it stands for “not just gold and silver mountains, but, more importantly, green mountains and clear water.” Despite its claims, in July 2010, Zijin leaked acidic wastewater into the Ting River, polluting waters across both Fujian and Guangdong provinces.
Zhejiang Chaowei Power Co., Ltd.
As a “key” national high-tech enterprise, Chaowei touts its batteries as low-carbon and eco-friendly. However Chaowei has also been the cause of numerous cases of large-scale lead pollution in provinces including Shandong, Anhui and Jiangsu.
Multinational Company
Winner: BPKey to success: Fortune 500 company that polluted the Gulf of Mexico
Once called “the most responsible company in the world,” BP ruined its reputation with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. For years, BP has used the slogan “Beyond Petroleum,” and the company was thought to be a “green energy company.” Former BP CEO John Browne [the man in charge during the spill] even won the title the “green oilman.”
Runner-up: Apple
This multinational announced plans to be “a greener Apple” [in 2007], but failed to respond to a heavy-metals questionnaire sent by 34 Chinese environmental organizations in 2010. The lack of response cast doubt on the environmental management of Apple's supply chain.
Runner-up: APP China
Claiming to be the world's second-largest pulp and paper producer and maker of eco-friendly paper, APP China won two accolades in 2010: a government “friend of the environment” award and Greenpeace's “Golden Chainsaw Award.” This left some environmental organizations calling the company camouflage green.
Winner: Tobacco
Key to success: Heavy metals, concealed information
What's in a cigarette? As far as the tobacco industry is concerned, that's top secret. But a Canadian scholar told us that 13 Chinese cigarette brands were found to contain excessive amounts of carcinogenic heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and cadmium. Some brands had heavy-metal content three times of that found in their Canadian counterparts.
Runner-up: Miracle Health
It is impossible to cheat the public with loaches and eggplants; true gold can endure the burning of fire, and paper tigers can be pierced. “Miracle healer” Zhang Wuben without true way to cure,  he had no way but breaking the myth..
Winner: Stone Paper
Key to success: Just as polluting as the original and with projects starting across the country

During the “lianghui” [the annual meetings of the National People's Congress (NPC) and Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress (CPPCC)] in 2010, 5,222 NPC representatives and CPPCC members were introduced to so-called biodegradable, non-polluting “stone paper.” Stone paper factories claim not to use plant fiber or cut down trees in the paper-making process, and say that their product is naturally biodegradable, but stone paper is nothing more than bloated plastic film.




Winner: Single-use Plastic-foam Take-out Boxes Key to success: White pollution, lifting a ban
Plastic-foam take-out boxes accounted for two thirds of the Chinese single-use food-container market before being banned for a decade. However, in 2010, relevant agencies declared the boxes green and harmless, going so far as to seek to remove them from the list of industries to have fallen into disuse.
Functional Water
Alkaline water, small-molecule water, nuclear-magnetic-resonance water, space water, oxygen-rich water...We lack complete laboratory data about these so-called “miracle waters,” but it would be difficult to produce them without any additives.
Runner-up: Ozonizers
They claim to remove pesticide residue from fruit and vegetables, but what ozonizer producers won't tell consumers is that deep pesticide contamination cannot be removed, and, under certain conditions, ozone can cause degradation that raises toxicity.
Winner: Zero-carbon City
Key to success: Significant spending, dubious motives and the impossibility of "zero carbon"
The zero-carbon city is a rather imaginative product of the low-carbon age that originated with the futuristic city of "Masdar"in the United Arab Emirates. Underway since 2006, the project has swallowed $22 billion, and remains under construction. In China, a zero-carbon city was slated to take root near Beijing, in Hebei province's Huailai County. The county, which has an annual GDP of less than RMB 10 million, never saw the project develop.
Runner-up: Ecological City
At the moment, the construction of most eco-cities is at a standstill, with difficulty achieving initial low-carbon targets.
Runner-up: Sun City
During the low-carbon craze, more than 10 Chinese cities gave themselves the “Sun City” label, but the names proved to be little more than hype.
Winner: Power Cuts
Key to success: Crude and simple methods, disrupting people's lives and industry losses
Initially, lower energy and emissions targets were meant to protect the environment, but simple power cuts across the country cast a shadow on the benefits for the nation.
Runner-up: Bohai-Xinjiang Water Diversion
Bringing water from the Bohai Sea to Inner Mongolia and Tibet was a fantastical solution for some scholars hoping to alleviate the ecological problems of northwestern China. Without conducting environmental impact assessments, the idea started to develop in local areas, spurred by commercial interest. As project development reached the point of no return, the scale of environmental damage that could be done by moving forward remains unknown.
Winner: PetroChina PR
Key to success: Monopolistic arrogance, making the best of a bad situation
After a pipeline explosion poured oil into the Yellow Sea off the coast of Dalian, PetroChina repeatedly avoided press conferences, and instead addressed the public with the temporary online message: “working together to clean up as soon as possible.” These tactics were called “silent, crisis public relations,” and were only made worse by a rescue-effort awards ceremony held for nine units and 197 people before the cause of the accident had even been uncovered.
Runner-up: Sinopec’s Environmental Evaluation 
At the end of 2010, Sinopec planned to raise funds, and the Ministry of Environmental Protection verified the environmental situation of the company's listed business. However, an environmental NGO found that 11 companies under the Sinopec umbrella were in violation of environmental regulations. Although the environment ministry admitted that there were problems with Sinopec data, it was hard to cover up the regulatory system's failings. 
Winner: The United States
Key to success: Major carbon emitter, little effort
At last year's international climate talks, the whole world was deceived by the sweet-talking U.S delegation. To date, the country has done little to fight climate change.
Runner-up: Japan
Swayed by domestic demand for emission cuts and industrial lobbies, Japan plotted to kill the Kyoto Protocol.
Winner: Jinhao Camellia Oil
Key to success: Greenwashing cover-up
Known as "the premier brand of Chinese tea oil," Jinhao admitted making nine shipments of products containing excessive carcinogenic substances. Hunan regulators discovered these dangerous ingredients, but failed to announce them in order to “maintain social stability.” Jinhao Tea Oil Corporation responded to the news by saying that its products are “safe and reliable.”
Toxic Beans
In early 2010, excessive amounts of pesticides were found in cowpeas in Hainan province, leading to an emergency investigation in every cowpea-producing region.
Runner-up: Polished Rice

The phenomenon of unscrupulous businessmen polishing and adding color tolow-quality andold rice in order to sell it at a higher price.

Translator: Luo Jia;Liang Tingting

Proofreader: Audrey Le Belenger/Megan Ko


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