Wednesday, September 14, 2022: Lululemon’s reliance on fossil fuels exacerbates the climate crisis. A group of concerned yoga teachers have joined forces to demand change.

Over 500 yoga teachers from 30 countries have signed an open letter to Lululemon, urging the athleisure giant to publicly commit to quit coal and transition to 100 percent renewable wind and solar power across its supply chain.  

Lululemon’s marketing claims its clothes are ‘designed by yogis’ and aims for all products to be designed sustainably.  However, almost half of the energy powering Lululemon factories comes from burning coal, the largest driver of the climate crisis

“Almost half of the energy which powers Lululemon factories comes from coal,” said Action Speaks Louder Head of Campaigns Laura Kelly, “Lululemon will tell you not to worry about any of this, because they have a plan to reduce emissions from fossil fuels. But unfortunately, this is another marketing moment where the gap between appearance and reality bites.”

Within the letter, the yoga leaders state ‘Lululemon’s reliance on coal as a source of energy is extremely harmful to people and the environment, particularly in countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, where its products are made’ and call for the company to ‘ immediately phase out coal and source 100 percent renewable energy such as solar and wind from your factories and across your supply chain.

According to Living Yoga’s Sierra Hollister, herself a former Lululemon ambassador, “Lululemon is uniquely positioned to make good on their core value “taking personal responsibility” and also move industry standards by committing to quit coal and utilize renewable energy in their manufacturing plants. With the climate crisis threatening every aspect of life on earth, it is more important than ever for each of us to do everything in our power to turn the wheel and step away from business as usual – which is literally killing us.” 

Fossil fuels like coal cause dangerous climate change and air pollution that is responsible for the deaths of millions of people around the world each year. Nearly one in five premature deaths globally are attributed to air pollution that’s caused by fossil fuels, according to a 2018 Harvard study. 

Lululemon claims to have an emissions reduction target of 60 per cent, but if you check the details you’ll find a ‘lulu-loophole’. The commitment is an ‘intensity-based target’ and based on Lululemon’s plans to double revenue by 2026, will actually allow the company’s overall emissions to increase.

The fashion industry is one of the largest contributors to the climate crisis, with greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) estimated by Stand.Earth to be between 5-10% of the global total, exceeding both the aviation and shipping sectors, with projections of a further 30% growth in emissions by 2030.

“Lululemon has built one of the world’s fastest growing apparel brands by promoting personal well-being that can be achieved through yoga. Yoga leaders around the world are saying very clearly back to Lululemon: get serious about protecting the well-being of both people and planet by shifting its factories off coal, investing in renewable energy, and advocating for the rapid transition from coal to renewables in countries where its factories are located,” said Gary Cook, Global Climate Campaigns Director at Stand.earth. 

The yoga leaders’ letter is supported by environmental organisation Stand.Earth and corporate campaign group, Action Speaks Louder.

For yoga practitioners and teachers who want to take action ​​

https://speakslouder.org/petition/open-letter-lululemon/

Learn more about Stand.earth’s Fossil Free Fashion Campaign at lulucoal.com.

The Problem with Filthy Fashion   

2021 Filthy Fashion Climate Scorecard

Fossil-Free Fashion Scorecard: lululemon  

Breathe in, breathe out… Lululemon’s coal pollution   

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Media contacts: 

James Lorenz (Australia) +61 (0) 400 376021 | james@speakslouder.org

Emily Pomilio, Erikson Communication Group | emily@eriksongroup.com 

As consumer demand for action on climate change and environmental claims increases, so does the use of greenwashing – but what is greenwashing, exactly? Simply put, it is lying or misdirection about sustainability.

More and more companies are starting to take advantage of the growing interest of environmentally conscious consumers in sustainability, renewable energy and green initiatives. Whether it’s the cosmetic, automotive, packaging, fashion, food, marketing, finance, or energy sector, greenwashing is everywhere.

What is Greenwashing? How to Spot and Avoid it?

What Is the Meaning of Greenwashing?

Greenwashing meaning Source: The Manor

Greenwashing means when an organisation spends its resources and time marketing its brand position as sustainable and environmentally friendly without reducing its environmental impact.

One way to view greenwashing is through the lens of a deceitful green marketing tactic. It intends to gain favour with consumers who value environmentally friendly initiatives without actually doing so.

The fight against climate change is picking up. Corporate entities that engage in greenwashing and making misleading environmental claims undermine the efforts of sustainable brands that are working on reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint and adopting sustainable business practices.

Why Do Companies Greenwash?

Companies are aware that Gen Z favours sustainable brands that operate ethically and care about the environment. A recent sustainability report highlights that over 85% of environmentally conscious consumers have shifted to purchasing more sustainable products in the last 5 years. Additionally, on average, one-third of consumers will pay a premium on sustainable products, increasing to 42% among millennials. It is clear that there are financial benefits for companies that invest in sustainable initiatives – consumers demand it.

But it goes beyond consumers. Companies competing for investment and talented employees know there is an expectation for them to take serious action to protect the environment, tackle the climate crisis and show environmental responsibility. Moreover, regulators worldwide are focusing on companies’ climate action, given the risks the crisis poses to business.

Unfortunately, rather than undertaking the hard yards of taking real action, many companies continue to try to cut corners and make false claims. An environmental marketing claim should be specific.

Greenwashing Examples – Nestle, Volkswagen, Walmart

Some of the largest global brands have been implicated in high-profile greenwashing scandals. From Nestlé to BP, Volkswagen and Walmart – the list goes on.

One of the most iconic examples of greenwashing is Volkswagen. The German automaker installed software in their cars to cheat carbon dioxide emissions tests, falsifying results to make their cars appear far less polluting. It was only discovered in 2015, yet Volkswagen’s cars had falsified data since 2008. The result was USD35 billion in fines and nearly 1 million tonnes of additional emissions.

Most examples of greenwashing are less blatant, and the devil is usually in the detail. But for all that, the impact is just as important. A fascinating (and in-depth) analysis from the New Climate Institute illustrated that fact. Just 25 companies account for a remarkable 5% of global greenhouse gases emissions. All of them had headline goals and green claims to get to net-zero emissions. However, according to the report, only a mere 20% of the lofty pledges have been turned into cast iron emission reduction commitments to be achieved by the target year.

Source: Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor 2022

Those scoring at the bottom of the integrity scale include major brands such as Nestle, Unilever and BMW. This is the kind of greenwash that can cost us our future.

Source: Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor 2022

Stop Greenwashing – Leveraging On Our Voices to Demand Meaningful Change

The fact is that greenwashing or “green sheen” is a major environmental issue with significant environmental impact. After all, it undermines companies’ efforts that do adopt environmentally friendly practices and creates scepticism among consumers when they purchase products. In the end, greenwashing is bound to break customer trust in sustainable and eco-friendly brands that adopt sustainable practices.

With our busy lives, the sheer scale of information and complexity can be daunting for most of us. And whilst there is no easy solution, getting companies to live up to their promises is one of the most effective routes to tackling the climate change.

Greenwashing is everywhere. And whilst it is frustrating, the fact that companies are on record with their headline pledges is a powerful leverage point for us to demand meaningful change. Their corporate social responsibility is to be environmentally responsible and not mislead consumers. The most important thing to remember is that as people, staff, consumers and investors, time and time again, companies have listened to us when we speak up. So speak up we must.

Monday 28 February, 2022: Climate campaign organization Action Speaks Louder is today launching a new report revealing Canon Inc.’s links to a think-tank promoting dangerous climate delay and denial.

Read the report.

Research Directors at the Canon Institute for Global Studies (CIGS) have labelled the climate crisis ‘liberal propaganda,’ praised far-right US Republicans for their awareness ‘that warming and climate crisis theories are fake,’ attacked environmental campaigns as ‘evil’ and termed climate activist Greta Thunberg a ‘communist.’

Fujio Mitarai is both CEO and Chairman of Canon Inc, and Chairman of the Board of Supervisors at the Canon Institute.

With Mr Mitarai, a former Chairman of Japan’s powerful Keidanren business lobby, at the helm and former Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui as its President, the Canon Institute reaches deep into Japanese Government policy-making, as well as international bodies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

But its ambitions stretch beyond policy-making. In January 2022, one of its Research Directors, Taisha Sugiyama, even launched “Global warming from the age of 15: Factfulness not taught at school,” a book of climate denial aimed at teens.

“Canon Inc. markets itself to customers as a sustainable company. Its corporate philosophy, “kyosei,” means ‘living and working together for the common good.’ Yet its trusted brand is being leveraged as a platform to promote dangerous climate denial to children and conduct high-level policy advocacy in favour of fossil fuels,” said Action Speaks Louder Executive Director James Lorenz.

Amongst a long list of extreme publications, Canon Institute Research Director Taishi Sugiyama released Decarbonization is full of lies in June 2021. The book includes chapter headings such as ‘decarbonisation destroys the economy’ and ‘the climate crisis is liberal propaganda,’ whilst claiming US President Joe Biden cannot reduce CO2 and that the climate emergency is ‘fake news’ pushed by the liberal elite.

Mr Suguyima and his fellow researchers also sit on influential government bodies, such as those in the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI).

“Canon offers the weak disclaimer that it is not responsible for the views of Research Directors employed by the think-tank which shares its name, was set up to commemorate its own 70th anniversary and is Chaired by its own CEO,” said Lorenz.

“Canon is a powerful company with the capacity to genuinely drive and inspire climate action amongst its millions of customers worldwide. We are calling on it to live up to its values and ensure the Canon Institute puts an end to climate denial and delay.”

Read the report.

For more information, contact James Lorenz on +61 (0)400 376 021 or james@speakslouder.org

Samsung’s poor progress on clean energy was in the spotlight at COP26, the global climate summit held recently in Glasgow, Scotland.

We worked with protesters from Solutions for Our Climate to catch the attention of the world’s media with a parody of the hit show Squid Game and sent a clear message to company executives: give the green light to solar and wind power.

Watch the video from the US news program Inside Edition and share it widely.

You can also sign the petition to Vice Chairman of Samsung Electronics Lee Jae-yong, demanding Samsung to switch to 100% renewable energy.

The protest drew attention from the media in South Korea including Hank Yung, Yonhap, and Hankyoreh. Getting coverage in Samsung’s home country will show how the company’s reputation abroad is at risk. Coverage is also featured on Reuters and the UK’s Independent.

When you think of Samsung, you may think of a choice between an Android or iPhone.

There’s another side to the giant company that involves making bigger life choices.

At COP26, along with South Korean partners, we took part in a Squid Game-themed action on Samsung to draw attention to how the company is being out-competed in the switch towards using clean energy technology to power its operations. As it stands, Samsung is still giving a green light to fossil fuels and a red light to renewables.

In August, Samsung Electronics’ billionaire Vice Chairman, Lee Jae-yong, the de facto leader of Samsung and grandson of its founder, was freed from jail where he had been serving a sentence for bribing the former South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Lee was reportedly released early after pressure by Korean businesses to improve the waning fortunes of Samsung’s technology empire.

While Lee was serving time, along with a wide range of Korean and international partners, we were involved in a campaign to stop the company from making the wrong call on old coal technology with its construction and engineering arm, Samsung C&T. It was building polluting power stations in South Korea and abroad, while Samsung claimed to be an eco-friendly global leader in sustainability and smart tech.

Following this, Samsung was found guilty in the court of public opinion over building and financing coal plants, which are the single biggest source of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions and can run for half a century. Moreover, analysis shows Samsung’s insurance units financed US$14 billion of fossil fuel projects in the last decade.

The court of public opinion and attendant brand damage was admitted by Samsung C&T to South Korea’s Parliament, a driving factor in a change in policy, though this also had loopholes.

This illustrates why we build popular pressure on big brands.

Now Lee Jae-yong is out on parole and looking to reinvigorate his company, his first move should be to ensure that all Samsung’s operations are run on renewable energy.

Samsung Electronics is a major emitter in South Korea. And given its previously funded coal projects also keep polluting, it comes as no surprise that its own shareholders are demanding that its worksites run on solar and wind power.

This undertaking has already been achieved in some regions. The company’s operations already run on renewable energy in China, Europe, and the US. And other global tech giants are already years ahead on this.

Samsung Electronics’ management should take the next logical step and ensure the company replaces fossil fuel-powered electricity with clean energy in South Korea and Vietnam. It will have a wide-ranging positive impact spanning the global tech sector, as well as Korean government energy policies.

South Korea and Vietnam are the two major production and manufacturing bases for Samsung. Having 100% renewables targets that don’t include these two countries undermines claims of sustainability.

Samsung is a symbol of Korea Inc. and if this giant global corporation fails to act, it will undermine progress on clean energy deployment.

Join us in calling on Samsung executives to give a red light to fossil fuels and a green light to renewables.