Greenwashing, or "Positioning Environmentalism"

FactoryIn public relations, "the most striking single thing is the rapid growth in which companies are positioning or repositioning their environmentalism," said Burson-Marsteller's managing director of corporate responsibility. Manning Selvage & Lee's managing director said that helping "establish a company's credibility" on environmental issues is "a pretty powerful message." That's why Waste Management has its "Think Green" campaign, General Electric has "Ecomagination," Wal-Mart and Home Depot are installing efficient light bulbs in stores, and Delta Air Lines "pledges to soon plant trees on behalf of any passenger willing to pay extra."'s founder called Delta's campaign "greenwashing," adding, "Conservation is a lot more than replanting trees." Environmentalists criticize Georgia Power's campaign to allow customers "to pay a premium ... to purchase energy made from renewable sources." The director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy pointed out that Georgia Power and its parent company, Southern Co., "are extremely aggressive in opposing any sort of regulatory action in protecting the environment."