This week’s Greenwash comes from my friend Keith over at The Unsuitablog, where the tagline is “Exposing Ethical Hypocrites Everywhere!”. Keith and I have a similar viewpoint on greenwashing, and have taken it upon ourselves to spread awareness of it. Last week he dissected a press release from Avon, the cosmetics giant, to expose their greenwashing attempt.
Here’s an excerpt of the initial press release from Avon:
Avon Products, Inc. has launched Hello Green Tomorrow, a unique global grassroots mobilization in over 65 countries worldwide. The first goal of this environmental movement is to restore trees in the Atlantic Rainforest, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.
– With just $1 per tree, you can join this unique global mobilization and help save the Atlantic Rainforest for today and for the next generation.
– Imagine breathing with only seven percent of your lungs. The Atlantic Rainforest in South America helps serve as the lungs of the earth,but only seven percent remains, making it one of the world’s most critically endangered ecosystems. This is important to all of us, wherever we live.
– As the lungs of the earth, tropical forests such as the Atlantic Rainforest are vital to our survival. Rainforests help reduce pollution, mitigate climate change, and support a vast array of wildlife, including many species found nowhere else. Already 93% of the Atlantic Rainforest has been destroyed, but with just one dollar, you can help us restore it.
Sounds good, right? I mean, who doesn’t want to help out the rainforest by donating $1! However, Keith wrote them back and asked a pretty simple question:
Could you please tell me if Avon use palm oil in any of their products?
Jennifer then replied:
I hope this finds you well. Hello Green Tomorrow is a cause initiative to help rebuild the Atlantic Rainforest -there is no product tie-in.
Well, that certainly is strange… no product tie-in even though the Avon brand is all over the press release. Hmm. Could that be because Avon still uses palm oil in their products, the very ingredient that the harvesting of is a leading cause of the destruction of the rainforest? And here they are asking for a donation to help save it, while with their other hand they are contributing to it’s demise? So, Keith writes them back:
You cannot separate the initiative from the sponsor – not only are Avon involved in this, they founded Hello Green Tomorrow, so any hypocrisy lies squarely on their doorstep.
Yes, it appears Avon do use palm oil: http://www.avon.com/1/1/512-mark-dew-drenched-moisturlicious-lip-color.html
“contains shea butter and palm oil to help moisturize and protect”
Gosh, rainforest destruction so lips can be kept nice and moist!
Head on over to The Unsuitablog to read all the emails back and forth and more of Keith’s dissection – you won’t be sorry.