The Menlo Roundtable

Should Chevron Be Held Accountable For Greenwashing? Chevron Should

The 1980s was a time of incredible feats in the fight against environmental degradation. With the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and Earth Day in the early 70s, environmentalists’ voices started to be heard by the American public.

However, the 80s also came with many environmental setbacks: holes were found in the ozone layer like never before, the Exxon Valdez oil spill lined the coast of Alaska, and “greenwashing,” or using environmentalism for their benefit, became the norm for Big Oil. Like the rest of the oil companies, Chevron released a greenwashing campaign titled “People Do,” sharing their environmental feats without acknowledging their own carbon footprint. Following the campaign, Chevron found success in sales and company trust: their marketing ploy had worked. Chevron’s “People Do” ad campaign spearheaded the greenwashing of the oil industry, and in doing so, negatively impacted the trajectory of the environmentalist movement; not only were they two-faced in their advertising in classic greenwashing fashion, but they encouraged other companies to use environmentalism for financial benefit and exacerbated political division within the movement. 

Photo: Courtesy of Adobe Stock file #468774870