When companies like Exxon-Mobil and McDonalds think "green," they’re thinking of cash, not the earth. And after all, what matters to unscrupulous marketers isn’t so much the reality of their brand or product, but how the public perceives it – which often results in greenwashing so absurd, it’s almost funny. These 15 examples of extreme greenwashing range from woefully ignorant to downright malicious.
1. McDonalds Literally Greenwashes its Logo
McDonalds wants everyone to know they’re going green…ish. The fast food monster is swapping the red in their logo for green in an effort to convince Europeans that they care about the environment. To be fair, the company has made some important strides -- like using environmentally-friendly refrigeration and converting used oil to biodiesel -- but this is still fast food relying on distinctly un-green factory farms for their supplies, to say the least.
As GreenBiz.com put it, "This strategy is essentially the textbook definition of greenwashing: Promoting green in the abstract, literally re-painting your signage with the color green, while simultaneously making sparse, vague claims about environmental action."
Recipe for a whale of a fail: Take one Hummer, the most environmentally unfriendly personal vehicle known to man. Plaster it with images of glistening green leaves and phrases like ‘EcoSmart’, which just happens to be the name of your company. Watch your company lose credibility instantaneously, and become an internet laughingstock among the very people you were hoping would become your customers.
Even if this particular behemoth were somehow greener than your typical Hummer, that wouldn’t mean much – but would still be more forgivable than using one of these vehicles to advertise an "eco-smart" company.