Deutsche Bank and its subsidiary DWS are currently dealing with greenwashing allegations – but what exactly is greenwashing?

Greenwashing is when companies advertise their funds, services or products as “greener” than they are. Journalist Kathrin Hartmann has been researching this topic for years. In the 288th episode of the “Today important” podcast, she reports on one of her favorite examples: “That the largest fish stick manufacturer advertised its fish sticks, which at the time came from overfished Alaska pollock, saying that a few cents from each pack of fish sticks went to a marine conservation project Then, by that logic, I’d have to eat a lot of those fish sticks made from overexploited fish to save the oceans.” Absurd – first nature is destroyed, only to partially rebuild it. However, this setup is not that easy. For example, nine out of ten reforestation projects fail because it is not that easy to rebuild the rainforest.

Palm oil – the cheapest fat in the world

A very important raw material for the industry is palm oil, but unfortunately the rainforest is destroyed for this and children and women often have to do hard work in the fields. The environmental destruction is devastating, as the journalist can report from her own research: “If you stand on a burned-down piece of rainforest, where you really notice how it burns your eyes and when you can see on the ground that there were tropical plants were and you look at the horizon and you only see a black area and maybe a few sticks that are reaching up into the sky, it’s steaming, it’s really horrible, really terrible. You feel the extent of the destruction very quickly.” Unfortunately, industry needs a lot of this raw material: “Palm oil is the cheapest fat in the world and simply has properties that are very practical for industrial food. When it’s very warm and when it’s very cold, it doesn’t change the consistency, what about it means that the chocolate bar doesn’t melt as quickly,” says Kathrin Hartmann at “today important”. And it is precisely this palm oil that large corporations try to market as sustainable.

Consumers see through some greenwashing

On the other hand, there was clumsy greenwashing when a large fast-food company changed the colors in its logo – and wanted to change its image simply through the visual change. This was seen through by many, but it still didn’t do any harm.

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