Washington & Lee Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment
As green business practices grow in popularity, so does the temptation to “greenwash” one’s business to appear more environmentally and socially responsible than it actually is. We examined this phenomenon in an earlier paper, using BP and the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe as a case study and developing a framework for policing dubious claims of corporate social responsibility. This Article revisits these issues focusing on Chevron, an oil company that claims in its advertisements to care deeply about the environment and the communities in which it operates, even as it faces an $18 billion judgment for polluting the Ecuadorean Amazon and injuring its people. After describing Chevron’s “we agree” advertising campaign, the Article sets out our framework for approaching “faux” corporate social responsibility, gauges whether misled consumers and investors might have a legal remedy as a result of Chevron’s advertising claims, and proposes refinements to better regulate corporate greenwashing.