A rap over the knuckles from Aftenposten, Nationen, and FrP.
The debate about environmental laundering – so-called “greenwashing” – and credibility continued this weekend.
Both Bellona’s leader Frederic Hauge, and Rasmus Hansson of the WWF claim the issue of receiving sponsorship money from businesses with a poor environmental track-record versus credibility is unproblematic. Aftenposten disagrees.
“We don’t doubt they believe that they operate completely independently of their sponsors...But they should have realised that questions could be raised as to their credibility, when foundations with a pronounced environmental profile receive a large part of their funds from companies which (Thorbjørn) Berntsen calls ‘environmental villains’”.
And whilst both organisations have made good money on selling their consultancy services, with Aftenposten saying they should be praised for what they have achieved, the paper thinks that a little more self-criticism wouldn’t have gone amiss.
So who foots the bill?
Harry Wad/Wikimedia CommonsAs well as covering the issue of credibility, Nationen thought that the environmentalists could be playing a dangerous game of baiting the bear.
“The environmental organisations’ argument is that trade and industry must be pulled in a more ecosystem-friendly direction. There is a great risk that influence cuts both ways, though...As you know, you don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”
The paper is also concerned that dependence on funding will lead to the environmental organisations both losing their identity, and becoming removed from reality.
“To channel commitment from below isn’t as lucrative and prestigious as nurturing the oil industry. But there are many who are without arenas where they can exchange ideas and change their lifestyle. Therefore, it’s important to maintain an environmental movement that isn’t devoid of a connection to the people.”
Buying their silence
Ketil Solvik-Olsen, the Progress Party’s (FrP) energy and environment spokesman, believes the whole issue of sponsorship and greenwashing sends the wrong signals.
“We cannot trust that the environmental movement are actually doing their job when they are paid by some players, and not others. We hear people in trade and industry saying that they sponsor these organisations to avoid them standing on the barricades and demonstrating. A logo from the environmental movement in their advert, immediately makes the actual business look much more environmentally-friendly,” he told NRK.
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