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Chevron, Greenwashing, and the Myth of 'Green Oil Companies'

Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment, Vol. 3, 2012

22 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2011 Last revised: 15 May 2012

Miriam A. Cherry

Saint Louis University - School of Law

Judd F. Sneirson

Savannah Law School

Date Written: November 2, 2011

Abstract

As green business practices grow in popularity, so does the temptation to “greenwash” one’s business to appear more environmentally and socially responsible than it actually is. We examined this phenomenon in an earlier paper, using BP and the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe as a case study and developing a framework for policing dubious claims of corporate social responsibility. This Article revisits these issues focusing on Chevron, an oil company that claims in its advertisements to care deeply about the environment and the communities in which it operates, even as it faces an $18 billion judgment for polluting the Ecuadorean Amazon and injuring its people. After describing Chevron’s “we agree” advertising campaign, the Article sets out our framework for approaching “faux” corporate social responsibility, gauges whether misled consumers and investors might have a legal remedy as a result of Chevron’s advertising claims, and proposes refinements to better regulate corporate greenwashing.

Keywords: chevron, greenwashing, green business, sustainability, securities fraud, false advertising, dodd-frank, csr, corporate social responsibility

JEL Classification: K22, K32

Suggested Citation

Cherry, Miriam A. and Sneirson, Judd F., Chevron, Greenwashing, and the Myth of 'Green Oil Companies' (November 2, 2011). Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment, Vol. 3, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1953329

Miriam A. Cherry

Saint Louis University - School of Law ( email )

100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States
314-977-04537 (Phone)

Judd F. Sneirson (Contact Author)

Savannah Law School ( email )

516 Drayton Street
Savannah, GA 31401
United States
912 525 3918 (Phone)

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