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Tuesday, February 28,2012

How EPA helps big corporations greenwash

While I generally have nothing but praise for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), its Green Power Partnership program falls short of the agency’s usual standard. In particular, the program, by providing media recognition for participating companies who procure renewable energy, inflates the activities of large companies at the expense of businesses whose clean energy transformation is much more meaningful.

Take Walmart, who appears at No. 3 in the EPA’s Green Power Partner rankings with an annual procurement of 872 million kilowatt-hours (enough to power approximately 87,000 homes per year). The EPA inaccurately credits the super-retailer with getting 28 percent of its electricity from green power, because the partnership program allows Walmart to cherry-pick its only two regional divisions that have made any strides on green energy (California and Texas).

Nationwide, Walmart gets less than 2 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources.

But it’s not just that Walmart can green its appearance by narrowing the focus to one or two company divisions. The truth is that many small businesses and towns (and even individuals) can lay claim to much more significant strides on renewable energy.


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