From Greenwash to Bluewash

The Oxford English Dictionary defines "greenwash" as "disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image." Now a new term has emerged, "bluewash," which the New York Times describes as "allowing some of the largest and richest corporations to wrap themselves in the United Nations' blue flag without requiring them to do anything new." The highest-profile example of this, writes Kenny Bruno, is the "Global Compact," which asks business to adhere to nine principles derived from key UN agreements and is becoming a general framework for UN cooperation with the private sector. "The motivation of the Secretary-General is to bring corporate behavior in line with universal values," Bruno writes. "However, business influence over its design has riddled the Global Compact with weaknesses and contradictions. In the first 18 months of the Global Compact, we have seen a growing but secret membership, heavy influence by the International Chamber of Commerce, and a failure to publish even a single case study of sustainable practices. The Global Compact logo has been used without attribution by DaimlerChrysler, even as Global Compact officials insist that use of the general UN logo is strictly controlled. ... The Global Compact represents a smuggling of a business agenda into the United Nations," Bruno says, warning that this trend is leading to a "partial privatization of the UN," and the "globalization of greenwash."