Conservation International Greenwashing Scandal Exposed By Undercover Journalists

Wed, 2011-05-11 20:00Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

Conservation International Greenwashing Scandal Exposed By Undercover Journalists

Conservation International is embroiled in a devastating scandal over the greenwashing services it offered to undercover British journalists posing as Lockheed Martin employees looking for help sanitizing the public image of the leading arms dealer’s deadly weapons systems. 

The journalists from London-based outlet Don’t Panic approached Conservation International (CI) with a truly outrageous request for its greenwashing services. In the video below, you’ll learn from their undercover footage of meetings with a senior CI representative that CI was more than ready to help “Lockheed” develop a program to greenwash its image, and the examples of what the CI rep dangled in front of the prospective clients must be seen to be believed.

Watch below:

We’ve written extensively at DeSmogBlog over the years about greenwashing, but rarely has such a blatant greenwash operation been exposed like this one.

Read more about it at The Ecologist. And check out Don’t Panic too.

Previous Comments

You need to understand that ALL organizations have put investment into ‘Green Spinning’ as its generally refered to.

I’m a program manager for a major US healthcare provider and one of my projects is putting in place an Environmental Stewardship initiative into their IT organization.

We have looked at every thing we do and put a ‘Green Spin” on it. It’s easy and fun to make this stuff up. Its all spin and good for employee morale to link what they do to saving the planet.

This is life in the real world. Get out there and be honest……

Since the bible tells you that YOU are the pinnacle of creation and the entire earth is yours for your own use.

If you weren’t so blinkered by your hate and bigotry from that poisonous book, you’d be seeing these “green spinning” issues as issues of waste reduction.

Use less paper? Less paper bought.

Recycle water? Less water used.

Low energy lighting? Less electricity used.

But no, you have your hate sights on the “greens” and it MUST be bad whenever it is considered whether waste can be reduced.

You say: “Use less paper? Less paper bought. Recycle water? Less water used. Low energy lighting? Less electricity used.

Our employees do all of the things you mention and much more. It’s all part of good goverance and fits the natural desire to conserve and make good use of.

The point is we put a “Green Spin” on all of this work that is already in place. It happens anyway it just has to be “framed” if you like into the “Green” speak. In that way we keep the Greeno’s off our backs.

BTW. Most of our employees understand this is why we do it.

BTW. What’s the reference to the bible stuff all about?

That’s why you’re doing it again for the first time.

Why are you complaining about doing work that you’re already doing? You’re making absolutely no sense whatsoever.

In what way is it “framed” except in as much as any cost reduction is “framed”? Is it OK if it’s framed as an ISO9000 compliance but not as “green practices”? Is it OK framed as a cost reduction but not as “green practices”? If so, why?

Because you have a knee-jerk hate-on for anything “Green” because you’ve been red-washed: they MUST be commies out to destroy your factory and take all your money!!!

I was replying in the context of this article that we are discussing ie.

“Conservation International Greenwashing Scandal Exposed By Undercover Journalists”.

ALL organizations are doing it so why pick on this one?

This story is about someone lying.

Not about recycling being called “green waste management”.

But you haters gotta hate.

ALL organizations are doing it so why pick on this one?”

Wow, your ego knows no bounds. “ALL” organizations are doing this? You speak for ALL organizations worldwide & somehow have access to all of their corporate agenda’s?

My business doesn’t greenwash & none of my clients do, so there is a few hundred ruled out already.

If you haven’t started then you had better start soon. It’s becoming a requirement for incentives, tax breaks etc. and your media communications folks will be demanding for marketing your products.

It’s like making all food have an ‘organic’ halo.

Come on guys. Let’s get honest with ourselves……..

And before you start my wife shops local farm produce. Would’nt change for the world. Very good for you and the community spin off’s.

“Our employees do all of the things you mention and much more. It’s all part of good goverance and fits the natural desire to conserve and make good use of.”

Fits the natural desire to conserve? What crap. If it wasn’t for green or environmental campaigns people would still be wasting away paper/water/energy like they always had. It serves two purposes, one is what anonymous mentioned, the other is saving money. You just don’t want to admit that before those green or environmental campaigns , you never even considered using less paper, being conservative with water or power or using that incandescent light bulb . You just saw the 5 star power rating on your latest T.V or fridge & thought it made good economic sense. Without knowing it, you were becoming “green”.

“The point is we put a “Green Spin” on all of this work that is already in place.”

Not everyone is as disingenuous or dishonest as you. There are people & businesses that doing it legitimately & honestly & then there are others like yourself, that are doing it to be deceptive & dishonest.

BTW. What’s the reference to the bible stuff all about?”

Maybe it was your suggestion a few posts back to Ian to go & read Job from the bible.

You mention man the pinnacle of creation from the bible.

What you entirely miss is this is in the context of “STEWARDSHIP

So we have these two to balance. It’s a great responsibility we have been given.

You speak very dangerously.

So why do you want your stewardship to be “rape the planet, let the kids deal with it”?

Why do you ignore your responsibility to the rest of the planet?

Because you’re venal.

You said:

“If you weren’t so blinkered by your hate and bigotry from that poisonous book”

The book tells us to be GOOD STEWARDS. I guess you choose to ignore this.

As I said you speak VERY dangerously

Which is exactly how you act with it. Your right to pollute overrides the needs of good stewardship.

Either that or despite saying you follow The Bible, you actually defy it.

And what’s dangerous about my words?

Try re-reading your comment:

“hate and bigotry from that poisonous book”

What do you call that now you understand that it talks about stewardship?

And that God will burn you for eternity.

It is written by men for other men and therefore is used to justify out-group hate.

So I still call it a poisonous book: it has poisoned your mind to disregard anything but your own divinity.

Your steriotyping of folks needs serious adjustment. You should broaden your mind and may get on the first rung of understanding and wisdom.

Why do you talk so much hate. I do not refer to your belief in AGW in such terms. You are entitled to your beliefs and I would fight for your rights to have them.

You sound very insecure or imature or both.

‘cos it seems 100% accurate for the denialists.

I talk of your hate, by the way. You’re attempting to project.

I have rarely seen such delusional talk. There is something missing in the connections of you brain.

I’m only finding pity in my heart for you. You are seriously lost……

This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

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Name: burtonleal
 Website:nespresso

I think that your anti-religious comment is divisive and does not contribute to the cooperation needed to solve the problem of global warming.

Denialism is coming from the fossil-fuel industry and also from Russian propaganda, which is historically very hostile to religion.

Your comment is falsely suggesting that religious people do not support the science of climate change. It seems to me that you are asking Christians to choose between the Bible and science.

The Bible says Christians should be good stewards of God’s creation. This passage is the reason that many Churches are trying to educate people about climate change.

On the Internet there are astroturf “religious” organizations, but the Catholic Church accepts the consensus on climate science and even hosts workshops on climate science topics.

The mainstream Protestants also accept the science and have signed joint statements about this with the Catholics.

The astroturf religious organizations such as the Cornwall Alliance are actually attacking real religious organizations that support climate science by suggesting they are some sort of cult. Monckton is associated with that one. The Cornwall Alliance is an anti-religious organization that is targeting religious organizations that support the scientific consensus.

The astroturf “Real Catholic TV” shows a cartoon shadow of a priest instead of a real priest. They even call themselves CIA–“Catholic Information Agency” or something. The purpose of this organization is to fool people about the position of the Catholic Church.

If so many religious people were against climate science, the denialists would not need to create fake “religious” organizations.

It might be better to tell people about religious organizations that agree that there is climate change.
The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy just hosted a workshop about melting glaciers.

I know that the famous Dr. Michael Mann has attended a Vatican workshop in the past. Some of the scientists in the Pontifical Academy are famous climate scientists.

The Pontifical Academy is one of the oldest scientific organizations in the world and has many Nobel prize winners.

“Denialism is coming from the fossil-fuel industry and also from Russian propaganda, which is historically very hostile to religion.”

No, it’s coming straight to you two blocks down from NASAs GISS offices above Tom’s Diner, here by Columbia University where I got my Ph.D. in chemistry. I’m in my “pajamas” with an attention grubbing Bengal cat on the stool next to me.

Whoah, while commenting in reply I can’t scroll up to see the article. I forget what it’s about.

Yesterday I discovered a repository of all the world’s tide gauges. Not one in a hundred showed ANY SIGN of sea level surge instead of a boringly straight line:

http://oi56.tinypic.com/11jsp5i.jpg

I had found the same issue when I discovered that there were very old thermometer records:

http://oi51.tinypic.com/357pvme.jpg

This looks like a site that censors skeptical views so I wont both adding more.

Oh, God, now it says I’m already a registered user but there’s no log in box! I’ll try a different user name.

Nik, publish your findings in a peer reviewed paper like Nature or Science & share with the world what you have uncovered!!!

Michael Mann or James Hansen might return the favour & publish something on chemistry!

I’m just pointing out already peer-reviewed official data plots that exist on professional government sponsored web sites. Bury your head in the sand if you will but don’t tell me to publish what is already official data as if I am doing original groundbreaking research!

I’m just impressed that this site doesn’t moderate harshly. Cool! I’ll take it more seriously then.

Do you have an opinion on the fact that no long running tide gauge shows a trend change in the last decade or two?

You can view the official plots here:

http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/

But I’m learning that few people can think for themselves. It’s actually quite understandable though. Most scientific organization still actively support AGW theory. But as a scientist by training I realize that those organizations are highly political and are run by busy body types that rub me the wrong way as a classic nerd.

I’ll add the Climate Cover-Up book to my Wish List to see if it has good points or is just a smear job.

The point though is, I’ve already pared my arguments down to avoid spewing utterly speculative garbage. Oh, did it ever piss me off when I realized that it was up to me alone to figure out the hard way which skeptical “talking points” was actually just bull. That was about three years ago.

In all honesty, I didn’t at first know if your quickie statement was sarcastic or not. But it is in fact highly cynical. You fail to realize how collaborative science has become. Collaborating with those from other fields is now the norm. Oh, except for climate science. They don’t even bring in statisticians. They just grab statistics software and tweak it until it spits out hockey sticks.

“I’m just pointing out already peer-reviewed official data plots that exist on professional government sponsored web sites.”

No, what you are doing is using confirmation bias to filter for denialist memes that suite your purpose, regardless of it’s context.

“Do you have an opinion on the fact that no long running tide gauge shows a trend change in the last decade or two? You can view the official plots here:http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/”

Maybe you can write to them & tell them your expertise is more valuable than theirs & that they need to change this statement:

http://www.psmsl.org/train_and_info/faqs/#5
Excerpt: “5. If global warming is taking place, then how much higher is the sea level now than 100 years ago, and how much higher will it be in the next 100 years?

Global-average sea level is believed to have risen by between 10-20 cm during the past century and best estimates are that it will rise by approximately 50 cm in the next 100 years (i.e. an acceleration of a factor of 3 in the rate). Rising sea levels are largely a consequence of the thermal expansion of the ocean”

Let us know when you get them to change their statement to suite your confirmation bias. Why not check other sources as well?

http://climate.nasa.gov/keyIndicators/#seaLevel
http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/index.html
http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends.shtml

If you are taking the position that there is NO sea level rise, then you are taking the position that there is NO global warming whether it’s natural or man made. Even hardened right wing WUWT accept the globe is warming but say it’s natural. You however appear to be saying that there is no warming of the oceans & therefore no effect of thermal expansion.

Also take into account the amount of dams/reservoirs that have been built over the last few decades which artificially keep sea levels lower than they would normally be.

“In all honesty, I didn’t at first know if your quickie statement was sarcastic or not.”

It was. Apologies, I’m a bit over google armchair experts that don’t even work in the field ,discovering what the worlds scientists never thought of.

“Oh, except for climate science. They don’t even bring in statisticians. They just grab statistics software and tweak it until it spits out hockey sticks.”

Again with your confirmation bias.

“denialist memes”?

They are not memes, given that I’m the only one I know who is promoting them. I made them myself not based on anything I found on skeptical blogs, but from delving into official data archives. I’m making a very strong claim: no long running tide gauge record shows a recent upturn from a linear trend. Oh, I might have seen one or two out of a hundred. What you are not willing to do is look with your own eyes at the records plotted here: http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/

Confirmation bias I am very aware of and do a self-check on myself continually.

So sea level will rise by 50 cm? The claims that are commonly made is that of several *meters* based on exponential increases in rate of rise! You know, NYC under water?

“If you are taking the position that there is NO sea level rise, then you are taking the position that there is NO global warming whether it’s natural or man made.”

I surely never said or implied that! Huh? I’m taking the position that the media, egged on by climate scientists, are harping on and on about surging sea levels (the Maldives being their poster child even though no tide gauges nearby don’t show any change in rate of rise, like the Maldives do: http://oi56.tinypic.com/rc6n34.jpg) in a way that is not in any way supported by any individual tide gauge. If it’s a global surge then it damned well show up in single site records and IT DOES NOT. This would not be a big deal were tide gauge records highly noisy, but they are *not* noisy except on yearly time scales. There is little decadal noise. Just straight lines. What that means is that any layperson can see for themselves that they are being lied to about surging sea level.

Because your side of the debate demonizes people like me, I intend to help defeat you in the court of public opinion instead of reason with you. I will do that by offering the public cute seductive graphic single-glance online posters that show that real data do not show surges in either temperature nor sea level, and other simple information.

“They are not memes, given that I’m the only one I know who is promoting them.”

You think you are the first person to question climate science stats & assume you have discovered something that no one else has considered? I mean, your question has got to have been mentioned literally thousands of times.

“What you are not willing to do is look with your own eyes at the records plotted here: http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/”

I did, I gave you the benefit of the doubt & looked. Then found the statement on the same site that you used, to show you they don’t agree with you. What you are not willing to do is :
1) Write to psmsl & ask them that question? Why didn’t you go to a science blog or heck, even ask the source? Why come to a commentary blog & allude to something you probably are not qualified to do so on? This is how denialism spreads. It starts with assumptions & opinions, then without even the slightest testing or questioning of the authors or other scientists, it’s somehow adopted as the new denialist fact.
2) You failed to look at 3 other sources.
3) You failed to do anything to prove you are a skeptic & are in fact a denialist. You refuse to check out your assertions despite multiple resources to do so & proceed straight to judgment of the matter. Classic denialsm.

“Because your side of the debate demonizes people like me”

Let me give you an analogy Nik. Bob the biologist has an opinion on chemistry work you & hundreds or your peers are researching. He goes to some commentary blog. Not one where chemistry scientists hang out, but just average punters. Then Bob announces some chemistry scientists have it wrong with some of their research. Someone asks Bob to go to the chemists or an independent service with his findings & Bob says no, he is being demonized for asking a question.

Now because I know that your lazy Nik & you are a denialist who would refuse to actually write to psmsl because of your political leanings, I will write to them myself…..asking your question. Please stay tuned Nik, don’t run away now.

Or is the danger that I might not make it through the Rapture 21st May?

Though, since that is restricted to 12,000 males who have never had sex from each of the 12 tribes of Israel (I suspect they won’t be able to manage to find 30,000…), the loss is not so great.

And you haven’t Nik. You’ve picked up a denialist talking point.

“Do you have an opinion on the fact that no long running tide gauge shows a trend change in the last decade or two?”

So the trend which has been up is still up, is what you’re saying.

PS: take a stats course. One a scientist will have done (putting the lie to your assertion you are a scientist by training). You’ll find a decade or two cannot rule out the trend expected.

You people are *so* strange! I make my own graphic posters that point out basic data and you call it a “denialist talking point”. WTF is a “denialist” anyway? You are labeling me, name-calling, instead of doing anything at all to confront that content of my argument. It’s very simple too! No statistics involved.

How can my original gathering of the oldest tide gauge and thermometer records be a “talking point”?

Skeptical “talking points” I understand the nature of, and I fell for many of them myself in the past. That’s why I cleaned up my act and pared my argument down to basic facts.

It’s laughable. You people are *so* one-dimensional. It has my curiosity how real human beings can be so bought and sold by a couple of echo chamber blogs that create a bogeyman out of skeptics based on oil money conspiracy theories.

“putting the lie to your assertion you are a scientist by training”

There you go again. What does it matter anyway what my background is given that I’m only offering simple arguments? I graduated as the top Ph.D. student in chemistry from Columbia, back in the late 90s, by receiving their Hammett Award. I received an American Chemical Society fellowship there which is given to only a dozen students a year in the entire USA. I then went to Harvard for three years as a postdoc, doing benchtop nanotech stuff with George Whitesides. Now I run a small company so I, unlike most professors, can afford to speak my mind without repercussion during this era of Climate Inquisition.

I’m really only responding since I’m morbidly curious about what other sort of bile you might spew. I am studying you and those like you. It has become an obsession, I must admit.

“You people are *so* strange! I make my own graphic posters that point out basic data and you call it a “denialist talking point”.

I get it now Nik. You see yourself as a bit of an entrepreneur that can attach like a remora to the denialist fan club & make some quick cash. Like all the muppets that wrote climategate books, so all the suckers on WUWT could be fleeced of their money.

“That’s why I cleaned up my act and pared my argument down to basic facts.”

Yet you bothered to check none of them to verify what you are saying IS actually “fact”.

“It has my curiosity how real human beings can be so bought and sold by a couple of echo chamber blogs that create a bogeyman out of skeptics based on oil money conspiracy theories.”

You honestly think that the largest companies in the world & some of the richest individuals would sit idly by while the prospect of a tax is bantered about which will affect mainly their industry & spend no time or money lobbying politicians or the public to gather support? If you do think it’s feasible, how would they achieve it? Phillip Morris alone held up legislation for decades & you think hundreds of companies with 100 times the budget aren’t capable or trying the same thing?

Dude, don’t fight *me*, fight astronauts!

http://oi52.tinypic.com/2vinhpt.jpg

Thanks for inspiring me to make that today. I got two six packs of bottled beer and cranked that out in Photoshop, just now finished, on beer seven. I like astronauts. They go zoom zoom up into the sky.

I make no money off of what I am doing here. The opportunity cost is atrocious in fact! My passion is just to save science since my self-image is so wrapped up in it, and also I’m curious as to why so many people are so unhappy about the potential good news that we have more time than we though before the sky falls.

You speak of Phillip Morris?

Oh, that’s what…a TOBACCO company, right?!

“Throughout most of my life, I’ve raised tobacco…I want you to know that with my own hands, all of my life, I put it in the plant beds and transferred it. I’ve hoed it. I’ve chopped it. I’ve shredded it, spiked it, put it in the barn and stripped it and sold it.” - Al Gore, 1988

You haven’t figured me out at all. I have great compassion though for you for trying. If you want to really understand me you only need to know that despite various chaotic forces in my psyche, biases included, the underlying theme of my life is to merely UNDERSTAND the world. That’s about it. I try to get by, try to design a life of inquiry, but I’m god awful at business paperwork and the like.

It does confuse me indeed, why energy companies do not seem to have made a huge effort to defeat AGW (have they?). Maybe congressional efforts to suck them dry is just a cabaret show? Or perhaps they are in some Enron like fashion trying to cash in, with “crony capitalism” being the definition of this latest administration. I honestly don’t know. James Hansen (2010) seems to know more than I do on this matter:

“Cap‐and‐trade‐with‐offsets would benefit a handful of wealthy people, while consigning our children to a downhill slide toward a lower standard of living – on a planet whose wondrous life forms are being decimated. Cap‐and‐trade was designed in part by Wall Street, which is eager to exploit a trading market expected to grow to two trillion dollars. The revolving door between Washington and Wall Street helped bring the scheme about.”

How do I make “quick cash” for sitting at my keyboard making posters of astronauts? Sign me up!

“You speak of Phillip Morris?
Oh, that’s what…a TOBACCO company, right?! “Throughout most of my life, I’ve raised tobacco.”

So what! I disagree with him if he believes it’s good for you. I imagine he is reminiscing about a time when he was young & worked on tobacco farms. But I imagine he has learned & evolved. Do you think he speaks for them now? What matters is his actions NOW.

“It does confuse me indeed, why energy companies do not seem to have made a huge effort to defeat AGW (have they?). ”

Now you are just being a troll. It’s sad if you actually believe that.

It’s almost monday in the U.K Nik. I’m looking forward to psmsl’s response to my email with your questions I sent are you?

Because they lost the case against the connection of smoking and cancer because science showed the strength of the connection.

So if science can be found “false” on climate science, they can try again with “They were wrong on climate. They were wrong too on tobacco. Smoke up!”.

what happened to this issue now? any updates? this story didnt seem to progress

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