Why We Hold Chevron Accountable for Its Greenwashing Campaigns

Earthworks, Greenpeace and Global Witness have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asking them to hold Chevron, the world’s number one second polluterresponsible for making themselves known as ecological. The complaint request the FTC to further investigate the oil major’s false and misleading claims about its business practices. In particular, Chevron claims to be committed to investing in renewable and low carbon energy that distracts consumers from Chevron’s real investment priorities: producing a staggering amount carbon emissions.

This practice, commonly called greenwashingis a tactic used by major oil and gas companies to distract consumers from the climate crisis for which they are largely responsible. Greenwashing is Chevron’s desperation for a social license to operate; Meanwhile, Chevron regularly pollutes methane, a greenhouse gas 86 times more potent in the short term than carbon dioxide, and plans to expand oil and gas drilling in regions like the Permian Basin.

Rather than tackle its methane pollution, Chevron is trying to completely reshape its public presence to keep pace with public perception of the climate crisis. The oil major now uses social networks as Twitter and other channels of communication with average consumers to convince people that they care about the environment and are doing all they can to alleviate the climate crisis – without, of course, doing anything or even recognize that it is their fault in the first place.

Chevron has described itself as a provider of “affordable, reliable and ever cleaner energy to improve people’s lives and enable human progress” while simultaneously investing just 0.2% of its capital expenditures in low-carbon energy sources from 2010 to 2018 and increasing its global carbon emissions of crude oil, methane and oil equivalent production from 2017 to 2019. Like all other oil majors, they profit from the common person’s ignorance of what carbon or methane “intensity” are terms the industry has created to mask their lack of investment or interest in effectively tackling their emissions. This is greenwashing of sorts – common, but devastating for the entire planet, as it allows fossil fuel companies to carry on business as usual, even as the climate crisis worsens wildfires, typhoons, hurricanes and other natural phenomena, killing hundreds of thousands of people. people and displacing millions more.

Additionally, this complaint is about Chevron’s ludicrous attempt to portray itself as an ally of the Black Lives Matter movement. In early June, as the George Floyd uprising swept the United States, Chevron tweeted a graphic saying “racism has no place in America . . . we support the black community and anyone seeking systemic change” with a link to a statement from their corporate leaders. Although, again, it While this is pretty basic corporate expediency, these statements are particularly odious given that Chevron, like all oil and gas companies, has and continues to disproportionately harm black people and other people of color: those marginalized groups face disproportionately higher rates of air pollution, which can lead to increased rates of health impacts including lung disease, asthma, heart disease and premature death, and higher COVID-19 death rates.

Chevron, which calls itself “the human energy society“, has a long history of environmental disasters in the backyards of socially disadvantaged communities, both in the United States and in other countries: the company still has not cleaned up the 16 billion gallons of toxic waste he dumped entireo the Ecuadorian Amazon forest from 1964 to 1990, poison Indigenous lands and waters and rural Ecuadorians, or to clean up the pollution left behind in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. Chevron’s US refineries are responsible for generations of environmental damage; as recently as February 2021 Chevron spilled oil in Richmond, California-where residents have long suffered from the health effects of air and water pollution.

Our complaint, in essence, asks the FTC to investigate and take action to prohibit Chevron from making false and misleading statements about the company’s business practices. For too long, companies like Chevron and other oil majors have profited from loose or vague rules around advertising and other consumer interactions, and our coalition is seeking to hold them to account to ensure that ‘They can no longer lie to the public without consequence.

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