Home » ‘Greenwashing campaign’: NYC targets Exxon, BP and Shell in false advertising lawsuit

‘Greenwashing campaign’: NYC targets Exxon, BP and Shell in false advertising lawsuit

Mayor de Blasio celebrated Earth Day on Thursday with an announcement that the city is suing three of the world’s biggest oil companies for trying to trick consumers into thinking their products are good for the environment.

The lawsuit — filed in Manhattan Supreme Court — accuses Exxon, BP, Shell and the American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade group, of breaking city consumer protection laws through false advertising and deception.

“We’ve all seen it with our own eyes,” de Blasio said at a morning press briefing. “It’s time to be clear about it and to fight back.”

The city’s lawsuit alleges that the companies have mounted what the mayor described as a “greenwashing campaign” to give consumers the impression their products are not harmful to the environment, while they have simultaneously deepened the world’s climate crisis.

The lawsuit cites dozens of examples of what the city’s Law Department called “deceptive conduct,” including ads for ExxonMobil’s Synergy product, which “misleadingly” suggest that purchasing the fuel is good for the climate.

“ExxonMobil advertises its Synergy™ Diesel Efficient fuel as the ‘latest breakthrough technology’ and the ‘first diesel fuel widely available in the US’ that helps ‘increase fuel economy’ and ‘reduce emissions and burn cleaner,’” the lawsuit states.

“Such statements create a misleading impression of the fuel’s environmental impacts because they fail to disclose the material fact that diesel fuels, including this one, emit substantial quantities of greenhouse gases that contribute significantly to climate change.”

The lawsuit takes aim at Shell and BP ad campaigns as well. According to the suit, one Shell social media campaign depicting the company as using “more and cleaner energy solutions” is deceptive because it neglects to mention the company’s “primary business” of “fossil fuel extraction, development, and production.”

The city’s lawsuit alleges that the companies have mounted what the mayor described as a “greenwashing campaign” to give consumers the impression their products are not harmful to the environment, while they have simultaneously deepened the world’s climate crisis.

In one BP ad campaign cited in the suit, the company touts its “Invigorate” fuel line, which is sold in gas stations throughout the city and which, according to BP, is part of a selection of fuels that includes “a growing number of lower-carbon and carbon-neutral products.

“These advertisements are misleading because they fail to disclose that these fossil fuel products emit significant quantities of greenhouse gas emissions and, therefore, contribute substantially to climate change,” the suit claims.

“We are disappointed to see the City of New York file yet another climate change lawsuit,” said Shell spokeswoman Anna Arata. “Tackling climate change is a significant challenge the world faces today; it requires smart policy from government supported by inclusive action from all business sectors, including ours, and from society as a whole. We intend to play a leading, transparent and collaborative role in helping society face this challenge.”

BP declined to comment on the pending litigation. Exxon did not immediately respond to messages.

The city’s lawsuit alleges that the companies have mounted what the mayor described as a “greenwashing campaign” to give consumers the impression their products are not harmful to the environment, while they have simultaneously deepened the world’s climate crisis.

On Earth Day — when many politicians try to burnish their record on environmental issues — de Blasio also announced that the city would resume its composting program after suspending it due to the pandemic.

He also noted that the city’s fleet of school buses would be converted to “100% electric” by 2035 — 14 years after de Blasio will have left City Hall.

Hizzoner did not discuss how he intends to accomplish the latter goal, given the fact that he won’t be in office to see it through. But he said the city would “immediately” begin phasing in 75 electric school buses over the next two years.

De Blasio will step down as mayor at the end of this year due to term limits.

The city’s lawsuit alleges that the companies have mounted what the mayor described as a “greenwashing campaign” to give consumers the impression their products are not harmful to the environment, while they have simultaneously deepened the world’s climate crisis.

His news conference took a surreal turn when he shared the news that the city would resume its curbside composting program, which had enrolled more than 3 million New Yorkers prior to the COVID crisis.

While sitting in City Hall, the mayor introduced a brown composting bin, perched on a chair just a few feet away, to make some remarks.

“We have another special guest speaker who wanted to say something about the organics effort being restarted and composting being restarted. Really, really happy to have this special guest with us. We’ll turn here to my left, and go ahead. The bin is here,” he said.

“You know, I’m confused. I was told the bin had remarks, and clearly, it’s a bin. It’s a very good-looking, sleek bin, but with nothing to say.”

Source (Ny Daily news)

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