Chevron’s “Will You Join Us” Greenwash Campaign

by Claudette

September 26, 2008

On its website and advertisements, Chevron uses its slogan, “Human Energy,” to tout its use of innovation and efficiency for its altruistic goal to “power human progress.” With its newest greenwashing campaign, “Will You Join Us?,” Chevron encourages consumers to “carpool more” and “use less energy,” while showcasing all the steps it takes to become more energy efficient. But how much is Chevron investing in alternative clean energy and efficiency? How does this compare to how much it is spending on selling its “Human Energy” image and lobbying for market advantages among Congress members and presidential candidates?


Image vs. Substance


chevron car adThe U.S.’s second-largest oil company, Chevron made over $39.5 billion dollars in profit in light of rising gas prices this past year. With these tremendous profits, the oil giant invested $562 million in emerging energy technologies like biofuels and hydrogen, a meager 3% of the $15.5 billion it spent on explorative drilling and production [1]. Chevron also sold off interest in wind and solar projects last year, like the Texaco Nederland B.V. wind farm, in order to increase shareholder returns and focus “its resources and capital investments on maintaining leading positions” in the market it knows bestoil [2].

With the $15 million re-launch of the “Will You Join Us?” PR campaign, Chevron hopes that consumers will believe that they are at the forefront of a cleaner energy future, and not in the business of drilling and selling one of the biggest global contributors to global-warming emissions. After increasing its ad spending this past year, Chevron joins other energy giants like Shell, who have already spent well over $55 million this year on ads.

chevron thermostat adSomething Chevron doesn’t bother to mention in any of its marketing is its use of human exploitation, particularly the native peoples of Nigeria and Ecuador, as well as the environment. It fails to mention a pending law suit in which the company is being tried for gross human rights violations against villagers who peacefully protested Chevrons environmental abuses.


Oil Race in 2008


Oil and gas companies are placing their bets on John McCain for 2008, who has received over $1.6 million dollars from the industry, compared to Barack Obama’s $457,895 in PAC contributions and individual donations. Chevron alone has contributed $679,000 to the 2008 presidential and congressional candidates thus far, with nearly three-quarters of that going to republican candidates. Chevron is also reaching out to voters during the upcoming presidential debates, as it is one of the lead sponsors of the first debate to be aired on September 26.

Along with trying to buy allies and put them in office, Chevron spent over $4 million in the first half of 2008 lobbying for non-green causes that it does not brag about on its website, like deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and weakening the impact of America’s Climate Security Act of 2007. While Chevron may be trying hard to talk like a green corporation, it is doing little with its actions, making it another oil-drenched greenwashed poseur worthy of consumer skepticism.

[1] U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

[2] Chevron website

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