While there's a new wave of greenwashing in the media these days, it is by no means a new phenomenon. Many corporations have a long track record of riding green consumer interest and staving off criticism with advertising campaigns and front groups, distracting attention with green PR, denying the impacts of their activities or products and working behind the scenes against environmental regulations.

Greenwashing took root in the 1970s when the growth of the environmental movement brought awareness of ecological damage to the general public. The practice was honed and perfected by professional public relations companies. Since then, the intensity and frequency of greenwashing waxes and wanes with the public and political mood of the times. This latest phase is no different then earlier cycles except that the stakes are higher as global warming looms.

Greenpeace has been working to bring attention to the problem since the early 1990s. In 1992, we published the Greenpeace Book of Greenwash, highlighting the most egregious examples of corporate greenwash at the time. Many of the same companies are still up to their old tricks.

More History and examples of Greenwash:

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