In the past week we have discussed the issues with companies “greenwashing” their products to come off as environmentally friendly. As Corbett said in Communicating Nature “the only Green product is the one that is not produced”. While is can certainly be true, but some product are better for the environment than others. Where greenwashing is really dangerous is when the “green” product is worse for the environment than the original product.
Volkswagen has been trying to make their products appear “greener” than other companies’ products for years and almost successfully did. Until the Volkswagen emission scandal came to light. In 2015, Volkswagen said that 11 million of their cars were appearing more environmentally friendly then they actually were. The millions of diesel cars had a “defeat device” which would register when testing was taking place and portray the cars as having less emissions then when they weren’t running a test.
Volkswagen cheated on the tests in order to pass US emissions standards and to sell what appear to be a “greener” car. This “greenwashing” was worse for the environment than a regular diesel engine because people felt they were emitting less than they would have in another car. Public health researchers at Harvard and MIT have found that 59 Americans will die prematurely from the excess emissions that the cars have caused.