The evolution of 'greenwashing'

Climate Week NYC Leaders Reception
Jeff Bezos (right) and U.S. Special Climate Envoy, John Kerry attend the Climate Week NYC Leaders' Reception on Sept. 20, 2021 in New York City. It's a week where dozens of companies are announcing new climate goals. But do their good intentions actually translate into lower carbon emissions?
Dimitrios Kambouris | Getty Images for Bezos Earth Fun

It’s Climate Week in New York City, an annual event that’s often met with big corporate climate pledges. For example, dozens of companies committed to Amazon’s Climate Pledge this week. It’s an effort to get businesses to voluntarily reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

But do these good intentions actually translate into lower carbon emissions? And how can we tell which climate pledges are real, and which are “greenwashing?”

We turned to Jim Nicolow. He tracked greenwashing in the late 2000s as a member of Marketplace’s Greenwash Brigade. Now he’s sustainability director for the architectural firm Lord Aeck Sargent.

Hear the conversation using the audio player above, or subscribe to the Climate Cast podcast.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.