The media’s mighty big role in greenwashing

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– The media plays a big role in greenwashing. For the most part, the mass media isn’t taking climate change seriously – less than a half of 1% of network news is spent on the topic.
– Retail investors can more easily be greenwashed because they don’t have the resources (nor interest) to conduct diligence.

Here is a piece that explains the details of the “EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation” (SFDR) penned by Sasja Beslik. Here is an excerpt about the media’s role in greenwashing:

We continue down the same road. FT has intensified their coverage of ESG and greenwashing, and this article gives you quite a read. As ESG becomes a part of the investment mainstream, it is reaching a critical juncture: without some way to police the way the concept is used, it runs the risk of being reduced to a marketing exercise with only modest substance.

To a certain extent, greenwashing is primarily a consideration with regards to retail investors because they have no possibility to verify the information they are fed, and have no ability to cross-check what they are told. Here’s a killer example of that. Reading this will certainly make you feel bad that millions of retail investors are taken for an ESG ride. Can you guess who, according to the article, are the five companies with the highest ESG rating in the FTSE 100? I think you are in for a surprise…

What kind of role does media play in all of this? Not a small one, I would say, and as this report makes clear, climate information is still very low priority. Media Matters analysed climate coverage on the morning news programs on ABC, CBS, and NBC in 2020, and climate coverage as a whole made up only 0.4% of overall coverage.

And then there’s all these misperceptions about what you as an individual can do to save the world! If you really want to understand what your actions and inactions mean in relation to hidden social and environmental costs, you should read this meta-study.