Greenwashing Wall of Shame

The term ‘greenwashing’ was coined in the 1980s to describe outrageous corporate environmental claims. Three decades later, the practice has grown vastly more sophisticated.
In preparation to our upcoming IMPAKT Festival 2020 Zero Footprint we are collecting the most outrageous, murky and shameless examples.

Win a book by one the speakers and artists of the festival:

– Sonia Shah, The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move   (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020)

– Julia Watson, The Power of Lo—TEK:A global exploration of nature-based technology   (Taschen, 2019)

– Douglas Rushkoff, Team Human  (W. W. Norton & Company, 2019)

– Himali Singh Soin, we are opposite like that  (Subcontinentment books, 2020)

Each week we will select one submission and invite him/her to further questions the paradigms of sustainablility with us during the festival.

How to win:

Send us your Shameful Greenwashing example at: Please do not forget to send us your name and social media handles.

– Find the most sinful example of Greenwashing and send it to us, or simply post the picture and tag us @impaktfestival
– Follow our page & like our greenwashing post
– For extra brownie points, share our post in your Stories or on your own feed (Don’t forget to tag us!)
– Make sure your messages are open so we can get in touch with you.
– We will pick 1 winner each week


  • The Starbucks strawless lids. In 2018, Starbucks introduced strawless lids that were supposed to cost less plastic. However, these lids actually contained more weight in plastic than the conventional straw-lid combination.
  • The H&M Conscious Collection. In 2019, H&M was accused of greenwashing because they launched a ‘Conscious Collection’ (the first collection was launched in 2010), which is supposed to be more sustainable. Nonetheless, it didn’t provide a lot of information regarding the sustainability of the collection.  Moreover, H&M burned $4,3 billion worth of never-worn-clothing, their clothing is still not designed to be durable, and their labourers are underpaid. Fast fashion can never really be sustainable!
  • The colours of the McDonald’s logo turned yellow and green instead of yellow and red in 2009, while not actually taking steps towards becoming a more sustainable company.
  • By 2021, FrieslandCampina will introduce paper straws on their Chocomel packaging. However, the straws are still wrapped in plastic.
  • Bo-Rent Rent A Car uses an image on their cars that says ‘renting a car is good for the environment’. But how good for the environment is renting a car anyway?
  • KLM claimed that they mixed biofuels with traditional fossil-fuel-based kerosene up to a maximum of 50% and that the airline was “the first to fly biofuel on a daily basis”. However, biofuel only accounted for 0.18% of its total fuel consumption in 2019.
  • Shell has been trying to improve their image by pretending to become more sustainable over the past few years. In 2019, they released the YouTube series The Great Non Travel Hack, where famous people have to travel with electric cars as much as possible. But in the end, Shell remains one of the most polluting companies on the planet. Therefore, any kind of campaign of Shell to ‘go green’ is questionable.
  • In 2020, Burger King announced in a campaign that they are going to put their cows on a lemongrass diet, to make their cows emit less greenhouse gasses. However, the meat industry remains responsible for a large part of the greenhouse gas emissions and water shortage. Also, the greenhouse gas emissions are only reduced by one third, and the ‘green’ burger is only a temporary option on the menu.
  • Another attempt by Shell to obtain a ‘greener’ image: they claimed to be more sustainable by planting 5 million trees. But given the fact that Ethiopa planted 350 million trees in one day last year, Shell’s action is not so sustainable at all in comparison.
  • In 2020, Lime released electric scooters to be freely used by people in the city. They rwite on their website: “Through the equitable distribution of shared scooters, bikes and transit vehicles, we aim to reduce dependence on personal automobiles for short distance transportation and leave future generations with a cleaner, healthier planet.” Sure taking an electric scooter to travel in a city is better than doing it by car. But what if it is only used by people that would otherwise just walk, take a bicycle or use public transport?

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