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Audi, BP, easyJet and Microsoft slammed for greenwashing by global consumer body

· Global brands exposed for playing up low-carbon credentials
· Dubious corporate green claims highlighted as climate talks get underway in Copenhagen

The consumer right to true and trusted information about the environmental impact of products and services has dominated the Bad Company Awards 2009.

Organised by the global consumer watchdog Consumers International (CI), this year’s awards have looked exclusively at the practice of corporate greenwashing to highlight the tendency of companies to play up the green credentials of their products.

The Awards’ focus on greenwashing is important as the global community gathers in Copenhagen to discuss preventing runaway climate change. Greenwashing erodes consumer trust in businesses and undermines genuine moves towards greener lifestyles. This creates a situation in which we all lose.

This year’s Bad Company Award ‘winners’ are:

Audi - For suggesting, with a glossy advertising campaign, that its new diesel A3 is clean and does not harm the environment. And inferring that driving the car is as green as riding a bicycle.

BP - For claiming to be concerned about emissions and speaking frequently about its ‘alternative energy’ division while dropping its investment in renewable energy, and pulling out of numerous renewable projects.

easyJet - For continuing to claim that travelling on an easyJet plane is better for the environment than driving a hybrid car.

Microsoft - For claiming its new software Windows 7 is green because it has some energy saving additions, whilst encouraging consumers to purchase a new computer to run the software.

And a special award also goes to the oil industry-backed Co2 is Green for its attempts to rebrand carbon emissions as good for the environment.

Luke Upchurch, of Consumers International, said:

“The impact of consumer behaviour on the environment is a crucial issue. With global climate negotiations underway in Copenhagen we want these awards to bring attention to the need for straight up facts about the green credentials of the products and services we buy.

“This year’s Bad Company Awards show that even some of the world’s biggest brands indulge in greenwashing. We’re calling for an end to dubious green claims and overplayed environmental credentials so that consumers can make informed, rational purchasing choices. ”

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