Investing

Greenwashing 2.0, a new way to earn green stripes

(Mark Hulbert, an author and longtime investment columnist, is the founder of the Hulbert Financial Digest; his Hulbert Ratings audits investment newsletter returns.)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (Callaway Climate Insights) — Michelin, the world’s largest tire manufacturer, appears to have taken greenwashing with carbon offsets to a whole new level.

The normal greenwashing pattern, of course, is for a company to purchase carbon offsets, claim they’re making progress towards carbon neutrality, and then ignore what may happen to those offsets in subsequent years.

Since greenhouse gasses can remain in the atmosphere for 100 years or more, genuine offsets must sequester an equal amount of carbon for at least that long. If that offset reflects a new forest that in 10 years goes up in smoke, as has happened all too often in California and Oregon in recent years, then the offsets shouldn’t count.

In Michelin’s case, according to an investigative report from the climate campaign group Mighty Earth, the company reversed the order of these two events…

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