British Petroleum or BP is one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world. You may recognize their yellow and green logo from the side of a gas station, or more infamously from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. There had been other major spills under BP’s care before in places like Alaska and Texas as well, but the devastation the 2010 oil spill called for a fundamental change in the company. After this spill, BP claimed they would take initiative to clean up the spill and attempt to restore the ecology in the area. After time passed there was little change, but people did not question BP’s actions, or inaction rather.
BP’s newest wave of rebranding originally began in 2000 when they revamped their logo to appear more eco friendly, along with implementing a new slogan that reads as, “Beyond Petroleum.” A simple idea, two words that revolutionized the idea people had of this company. They also began to put (some) focus and money into renewable energy and bio fuels. This rebranding greenwashed BP as a company, convincing people that the company was eco-friendly, and green, ultimately leading to more consumer support. People bought into this idea that BP fed them. Although they were spending some money on researching and supporting bio fuels and renewable energy, they did not even make a dent in this technology.
People did not begin to truly question or research the validity of BP’s claims until years after the 2010 oil spill when ecosystems and beaches and food supplies were still and continuing to be destroyed. Although I did not include every detail, this is just one of many examples of greenwashing and how extremely effective but also extremely detrimental it can be. Society has convinced us that we need to be “green” because it somehow in turn makes us a better person. We have bought into this idea of helping by supporting “green” products without considering whether they are actually green or not. This is an idea that we need to change, but how?
Halle Van De Hey