“Greenwashing has made it possible to create a diversion by being satisfied with half measures or false solutions”

HASGiven the upheavals and ecological threats, certain questions keep coming up: “Why are we still here? » and ” What to do ? ». To answer it requires to thwart the ” greenwashing »that is to say the effects of communication or marketing operating a greening of the facade and more broadly the processes giving a misleading image of greening.

These processes have had a certain role both in our socio-environmental trajectory since the end of the 20th century, and in the current inertia and impasses. The term appeared at the end of the 1980s when “sustainable development” was essential to take charge of environmental problems (Earth Summit in Rio, 1992) and when large companies began to appear in this direction.

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After the strong mobilizations of the 1970s, when ecological concerns were articulated with socio-economic aspects and the questioning of relations of domination, it was also, de facto, a way to evacuate this critical dimension. A managerial environmentalism is therefore asserted through the promotion of incentives and objectives, eco-gestures and eco-responsible charters, biodiversity diagnostics or ecosystem services, public policies… until now largely ineffective or biased in practice. .

Not taking into account the orientations commensurate with the challenge

At the same time, the last decades have seen the situation deteriorate alarmingly. There has been no inflection in the global greenhouse gas emission curve (half of CO2 issued over the last thirty years), or a more general reduction in the footprint of our activities, including in areas of strictly national action – as illustrated in France by the fiasco of decisions aimed at curbing the increase in the use of pesticides or the artificialization of land.

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Over the years, the greenwashing has thus established itself as a much larger and more structural fact in our recent history: the proliferation of discourses and devices that create illusions, for lack of taking directions commensurate with the challenge. Admittedly, lobbies have weighed in to fiercely defend their interests by disguising the deleterious impact of industrial or agro-industrial activities, or above-ground consumption patterns.

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Governments cynically played with announcements in favor of the environment, before forgetting them or adopting antagonistic measures. But this failure is above all the result of a social world where ecological claims are subordinated to other predominant logics.

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