On Saturday 26 June, the student network for a sustainable future, Morgen, awarded the Groene Zeepbel (Green Soap Bubble) 2010 to Shell. In recent weeks, Morgen called on all students in the Netherlands to vote for the ‘best greenwashing campaign’. The companies where selected on the basis of critical reports of SOMO.
The board of Morgen had nominated five companies, on the basis of critical reports by SOMO and Milieudefensie, which were eligible for the Groene Zeepbel: Shell, Nuon, Aegon, Albert Heijn and BP. Each of these companies is guilty, to a greater or lesser extent, of greenwashing, giving themselves a greener image than they deserve on the basis of their practices. Morgen nominated Shell for its dubious burn-off practices in the Niger Delta, while it presents itself in every media as extremely concerned about air quality.
More than 700 people voted in recent weeks for the 'best greenwashing campaign'. They chose Shell as the company which has been most successful at presenting itself as sustainable, while its business operations show that this is not the case. Shell was ahead of its competitor BP by a minimum difference of three votes. Albert Heijn, Nuon and Aegon were third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Morgen uses this award to draw attention, in a humorous manner, to the unpleasant practice of greenwashing. “The Groene Zeepbel must be seen as an encouragement to companies to improve their practices, or in any event to inform consumers honestly about their business operations,” says Taco Nijssen, chairperson of Morgen. "Because the consumer is entitled to honest information."
On Saturday 26 June, Morgen announced the winner of the Groene Zeepbel 2010 during the Inspiration Days in Eindhoven, which was followed by a stimulating debate about greenwashing. The awarding of the Groene Zeepbel award to Shell can be seen on the Morgen website www.studentenvoormorgen.nl/groenezeepbel . This was the second time that Morgen had awarded the Groene Zeepbel. In 2008, the prize for the best greenwashing campaign was awarded to E.ON for its so-called ‘clean coal power station’.