The Race to Faux Sustainability
In the past couple of years, companies have notably gone out of their way to reframe themselves as being more environmentally conscious as consumers are beginning to focus on more sustainable options. While some companies like Buffy, a bedding company that has set themselves apart with their plant-based fibers and trendy marketing, began with sustainability in mind, others on the other side of the spectrum are trying (unsuccessfully) to turn over a new leaf. And as a result, are beginning to face backlash from those that they hope to convince the most.
As stated by many industry professionals, advertising is only as good as the product or service that it’s promoting. And in Chevron’s case, their advertising is only as good as the truth behind their virtue signaling. According to an article posted by the New York Times on March 25, 2021, A recent Chevron advertisement faced backlash from Greenspace USA and other environmental groups due to its hypocritical messaging.
In an effort to bring “ affordable, reliable, ever-cleaner energy to America” the company released a spot telling viewers that “ It’s only human to care for those we love and help light their way.”
Unfortunately, just weeks after its release, about 600 gallons of a petroleum water mixture leaked from one of the company’s refineries in California and into the San Francisco Bay. In response, environmental groups reported Chevron to the Federal Trade Commission stating that the company has repeatedly gone out of its way to appear more environmentally friendly while relying heavily on “climate polluting fossil fuels”.
While companies shouldn’t be barred from rebranding, it is crucial that they are honest and upfront about their transition to a new morally adept way of doing business. This is especially true when new mission statements claim to put human life first while company actions prove the opposite.