Corporate Watch on 10:10 as corporate greenwash

I’ve just read this report on 10:10 from Corporate Watch. They take a look at the usefulness of the project, and whether it is/is being used as corporate greenwash.

The big issue that I have with 10:10 is its focus on the individual. The big changes that we need to make aren’t at an individual level; they’re at a corporate and governmental level, and they’re about making significant changes to the way that the world operates. In particular, to the way that capitalism operates*. 10:10 encourages the idea that climate change is an individual responsibility. And, sure, we do all need to change our habits, and that’s not a bad thing. But it’s not going to be enough; and a campaign like this risks encouraging people to think that they’ve done their bit now.

The Corporate Watch report points out that corporations are being encouraged to sign up as well (good), but that the level for them is 3%. Looking at the 10:10 website, what they’re actually saying is that 10% is the target but 3% is enough (2nd para). Note that this isn’t applied to individuals (although it is to organisations). I find this pretty dodgy; not only that, but that page talks first about “urging your staff, suppliers and customers to sign up to cut their own emissions by 10%” and only then about “doing everything you can to reduce your own operational emissions”. This is a straightforward and massive cop-out, especially since (as above), it’s businesses and corporations that are the ones that really need to make changes. E.On say they’ve signed up to 10:10, for fuck’s sake, and I don’t see on that page anything about them changing their processes. Or, I don’t know, doing something about their coal-fired power stations.

Encouraging individual reductions is great. Letting companies off the hook before they even start is crap. Letting them sign up when all they’re doing is talking to their customers is greenwash. Which is a shame, because 10:10 could be doing something stronger than that. Expecting — and auditing — an actual 10% cut in business emissions would be more like a real achievement.

* It’s possible that what’s needed is changes big enough that it might not really be ‘capitalism’ any more, but let’s leave that aside for now.