Lots of green marketing, few actions: so Big Oil slows the transition
The 31-page dossier analyzes internal documents of major oil & gas companies and their greenwashing strategies
(sustainabilityenvironment.com) – The major energy companies “have no intention of taking concrete action for the transition to clean energy“. They publicly promise that gas and oil are just a “bridge” to more sustainable energy sources. But it’s just misleading green marketing. Internally, giants such as BP, Chevron, Exxon and Shell diminish the value and urgency of emission cuts. And they continue to invest in long-term projects. Trying to secure tax benefits from the government through CO2 capture projects.
This is revealed by the Committee on Oversight and Reform of the US Congress, which has just published the analysis of a new tranche of confidential documents obtained by energy companies and pressure groups such as the American Petroleum Institute. It is the second part of an investigation into how Big Oil lied to the public and the government about the real intentions regarding the energy transition, after the first revelations last September.
Green marketing strategies
In the 31 pages of the dossier, the Committee examines all the critical aspects of green marketing in the oil and gas industry. The documents obtained by the companies “show how the fossil fuel industry has “washed” its public image with promises and actions that oil and gas industry executives knew would not significantly reduce emissions“.
Promises and commitments that are mostly greenwashing and have a specific purpose: “providing coverage to Big Oil to continue raking in billions of dollars selling fossil fuels for decades to come”.
Read also Big Oil’s commitment to energy transition? Much in communication, little in investment
Some passages clarify well the direction these companies want to take in the future and their priorities. An internal mail between BP executives, dated 2016, puts on paper the obstructionist strategy adopted systematically: “We wait for the rules to come out, we do not like what we see, and then we try to resist and block them”.
In other documents, companies admit that their plans for transition will not really cut emissions and that, in any case, real greenhouse gas reductions should only be made where it is economically viable. Among the practices that come under the lens, is the liquidation of some assets. That is usually sold to other energy companies. So that we can use divestment to strengthen the company’s green marketing, but without really helping to contain global warming.