Green Marketing: How Green is It?

A fascinating look into the ever-evolving cosmos of advertising and packaging.



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This video gives a fascinating look at a genuinely disturbing development in 21st century commerce. A newfound commitment has appeared in the ever-evolving cosmos of advertising and packaging.

Some brands employ convenient "green" labeling to boost their perceived credibility and sell more products. But critics assert that the activities of these so-called eco-firendly companies call into question their assurances of environmental stewardship. In other words, simply identifying yourself as green doesn't make it so.



Video Segments

1. Understanding Green Washing Toyota and Mercedes advertisements are used to demonstrate how marketing can make a polluting product appear eco-friendly.|
2. Industrial Green Washing Trend French mineral water company Volvic claims its new bottles are eco-friendly. An environmental organization shows that its molecular structure is still petroleum based and won't biodegrade in the environment.

3. Misleading Consumers 100% biodegradable bottles that degrade within two years are available but expensive to produce. A Volvic representative explains that an ad campaign claiming its plastic bottles are environmentally friendly is referring to recycling rather than biodegradability.
4. Exposing False Advertising An international test shows a Volvic bottle contains 10% vegetable matter rather than the 20% claimed by the company—but a company representative says a French public agency approved the figure.
5. Legal Loopholes for Greening Products French legal and environmental regulatory agencies accept company statements as facts, resulting in false advertising—such as Volvic's claim of 20% vegetable content in its plastic bottles.
6. Challenging Green Washing An independent advertising watchdog warns consumers about environmentally misleading brands. A biscuit company is in trouble with WWF France for an ad claiming their product will reduce CO2 emissions.
7. Socially Responsible Investing Labels such as Novethic, which certifies financial investments according to ecological and social criteria, allow for industrial green washing.
8. False Eco-Finance Advertising French banks selling socially responsible funds secretly include oil and chemical companies in their investment packages—yet are certified under the Novethic label.
9. Exposing Financial Green Washing A consumer watchdog NGO representative confronts Novethic directors about approving oil, auto and arms companies under their socially responsible investment label.
10. Legal Fight against Green Washing A 60 second TV ad by French company Areva portrays nuclear power as a renewable energy source. An environmental lawyer tried to block it on the basis of false advertisement; after Fukushima it was pulled from the air.
11. Areva's Mining Coverup A French nuclear power company green washes its image to hide uranium extraction in developing nations. Residents of Mounana, Gabon suffer health problems from radioactivity yet the corporation refuses to be held accountable.
12. Testing for Radiation in Mounana Residents of a former uranium mining town in Gabon are exposed to radon gas up to eight times the WHO recommended level. Nuclear power producer Areva allowed village construction using polluted materials but refuses to take responsibility for illness.
13. Exposing Areva's Environmental Disaster 7.5 million tons of uranium mining waste dumped in a river alongside a village in Gabon has exposed residents to extreme levels of radioactivity. The company's clean up director is surprised to learn of ongoing pollution issues.
14. Human Price of Green Washing Areva's representative in Mounana claims the company has cleaned up the uranium site—but residents are still being exposed to dangerous levels of radioactivity. Corporate headquarters refuses a second interview but the Gabonese government has ordered an independent investigation.

Grade: 9-12

Green Marketing: How Green is It? (DVD)
© 2013
Time: 47 Minutes

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