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Green Economy: Greenwashing

These days, green is the new black. Corporations are falling all over themselves to demonstrate to current and potential customers that they are not only ecologically conscious, but also environmentally correct.
Some businesses are genuinely committed to making the world a better, greener place. But for far too many others, environmentalism is little more than a convenient slogan. Buy our products, they say, and you will end global warming, improve air quality, and save the oceans. At best, such statements stretch the truth; at worst, they help conceal corporate behaviour that is environmentally harmful by any standard.
The average citizen is finding it more and more difficult to tell the difference between those companies genuinely dedicated to making a difference and those that are using a green curtain to conceal dark motives. Consumers are constantly bombarded by corporate campaigns touting green goals, programs, and accomplishments. Even when corporations voluntarily strengthen their record on the environment, they often use multi-million dollar advertising campaigns to exaggerate these minor improvements as major achievements.
Sometimes, not even the intentions are genuine. Some companies, when forced by legislation or a court decision to improve their environmental track record, promote the resulting changes as if they had taken the step voluntarily. And at the same time that many corporations are touting their new green image (and their CEOs are giving lectures on corporate ecological ethics), they are lobbying night and day in Washington to gut environmental protections.
All this - and more - is what Greenpeace calls greenwashing - the cynical use of environmental themes to whitewash corporate misbehavior. The term was coined around 1990 when some of America's worst polluters (including DuPont, Chevron, Bechtel, the American Nuclear Society, and the Society of Plastics Industry) tried to pass themselves off as eco-friendly at a trade fair taking place in Washington, DC.
But make no mistake: corporations were using greenwashing long before that trade fair took place, and have not hesitated to use it ever since. Since 2000, as the public's (and the media's) environmental awareness has grown, so too has the sophistication of corporate public relations strategies. If companies had spent as much time and money improving their core business practices as they have spent making themselves look green, they might have made a real difference.
Greenpeace wants corporations to talk the talk, but not if they are merely cynically using such rhetoric to conceal their utter failure to walk the walk. We believe that corporations must play a central, essential role in helping to solve the world's environmental challenges. We believe they can do so by ending their destructive policies and by waking up to the economic benefits of environmentally sustainable practices and products.
In that spirit, we call on companies to stop portraying baby steps on the environment as giant strides. When an oil company invests in wind or solar power, every little bit helps. But we need more than "little bits" to solve global warming, halt deforestation, prevent the destruction of the oceans, and end the proliferation of toxic chemicals. As long as half-measures are sold as full solutions, corporate actions, no matter how sincere, will be nothing more than a more sophisticated form of greenwashing.

What do you think is meant by the phrase "green is the new black"?
A: eco-products are often of a poor quality
B: eco-products are fashionable
C: eco-products are profitable for the companies that produce them
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The term greenwashing came into use
A: around 1990
B: since 1990
C: since 2000
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According to the article, consumers find it difficult to identify true eco-products because
A: they have no "eco-friendly" label on them
B: the producers illegally substitute ordinary products for green ones
C: producers exaggerate how green their products are
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What does lobbying mean?
A: preparing new legislation
B: seeking to influence others
C: waiting for the announcement of new policy initiatives
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Globalisation: Global Brands

Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Starbucks, Red Bull, Heinz: giants of the food and drink industry.
But what is the secret of these food superbrands? How does a food product become a global phenomenon?
"I buy food for the taste!" I thought. "I'm not some fool who is manipulated by ________." Yet my kitchen cupboards are stacked with big name brands. And it seems I am not alone. Looking at the baked beans market, for instance, Heinz sells 10 times as many beans as their nearest rival.

Family members
Neuroscientist Professor Gemma Calvert spends much of her working life examining the inside of consumers' heads.  The results confirmed Prof Calvert's research. We use the same part of our brain to recognise well-known brands as we use to ________ friends and family.
The brands even provoke a similar feeling of warmth and well-being to the one we get when a loved one walks into the room. This is the part of the brain ________ dream of reaching. Once your brand is embedded this deeply in someone's mind they will keep buying your ________ (unless you do something really stupid).

Brand recognition
But achieving "family member" status has not been an accidental process. Mega-brands are powered by huge marketing machines, who work tirelessly to attain this brand awareness.I was amazed to discover that Coca-Cola had understood this way back in the 1880s. Within the first 10 years of its existence, the company had given away free ________ to 10% of the US population. It had also printed its ________ on anything it could get hold of: trays, mirrors, key-rings, shops, billboards, neon signs.

Marketing spend
When Red Bull co-founder Deitrich Mateschitz was told there was no market for energy drinks, he coolly replied: "We're going to ________ one."  And he did. Red Bull now sells three ________ cans a year.
Like Coca-Cola, Red Bull ________ a lot of money on marketing.  In fact, it is the 25% of revenue which Red Bull spends on marketing that makes it different to every other drink. That money goes to buying, creating and getting their name all over high-adrenalin sports. Owning two Formula 1 teams, four football teams, two ice hockey teams and a jet fighter display team gives your drink a personality.
So are we all fools who are manipulated by global brands? We are certainly ________ by all the marketing hype but ultimately it is us who make the buying decision, and we will buy what we want.
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