TOPIC BRIEFS

Addressing the issue of Greenwashing by corporate entities.

 

Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s production is more environmentally sound. It is a marketing strategy that many industries and organizations are adopting in order to deceive consumers into believing that their products are environmentally friendly. The term greenwashing was formed in the early 1990s by NGOs who were eager to expose environmentally harmful practices of big industrial groups.

 

Despite the fact that greenwashing has been around for many years, it has escalated alarmingly during recent years, and this is because the demand for green products has been growing vastly. Consumers are being more environmentally- conscious and therefore have been demanding more environmentally products.

 

The fast fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters on the planet with more than £140 million worth of clothing ending up in UK landfills every year. Fast fashion companies are exploiting the wooliness and vagueness of green terminology to both appear environmentally conscious and sell more clothes.

 

The lack of a clear, quantifiable legal definition of sustainability acts as a loophole that companies exploit. For instance, terms like ‘ethical’ or ‘eco-friendly’ do not have any legal significance. As a result, there is a lack of accountability of industries that greenwash their consumers. Another loophole that also poses a hurdle is the absence of verifiable data and government subsidized studies on the impact of these industries on the environment. At the same time, consumers lack awareness of the reality of production. In this respect, brands are able to take advantage of the lack of regulation and public education and continue misleading their consumers into buying unsustainable goods.

 

Some questions to ask include: What sort of protocols should governments follow to legitimize legal definitions of sustainability? How can governments and international organizations hold corporations accountable? Does greenwashing have a direct, measurable impact on the environment?

The question of managing the waste produced by the military activities in the middle east.

Generally, military activities have significant impacts on the environment, but they are rarely debated. Military lands are believed to cover between 1-6% of the global land surface and in many cases, many of these areas are ecologically important. The production of emissions, disruption to landscapes and terrestrial marine habitats are mainly caused by military training. Moreover, military activities create chemical and noise pollution from the use of weapons,

aircraft and vehicles. Once land is occupied by military bases it encompasses abandoned and polluted islands tremendous amount of waste is generated by military bases and deployed forces in the form of food waste, papers, plastics, metals, tires, batteries, chemicals, e-waste, packaging etc. It was reported that in 2017 only, The United States military emitted 25 thousand kilotons of carbon dioxide by burning fuels.

 

In specific, many countries are setting up military bases in the Middle East and the bombing and shooting causes a lot of catastrophic environmental impacts. This includes the releases of harmful chemicals and materials resulting in arable land and extremely polluted areas. For instance, the military activities in Iraq left it struggling with toxic remnants that ravaged the country. The conflict polluted water sources also left Iraq littered with tons of rubble and debris from destroyed cities and towns.

 

The question is whether or not militaries should be held accountable for their environmental impacts and if governments should create waste management programs to help reduce pollution in regions where military bases are located? Furthermore, are there more environmentally sustainable ways to perform military activities?

Combating the spread and effects of nuclear radiation on the environment in Ukraine.

The operation of creating and using a nuclear power plant to produce electricity is a hefty procedure and needs to be continuously monitored to ensure that no mistakes are made, as if it is not constantly supervised by well trained and knowledgeable personnel, the consequences are major. Ukraine is proof as to why. In 1986, a nuclear powerplant was setup to generate electricity, although, due to the lack of supervision and lack of training provided to the engineer’s developing the nuclear reactor, the incorrect measures were taken which led to a flawed reactor design, the rector, which was not properly tested and was not in a secure location, blew up. The explosion killed 59 people and injured many more. The effects of the radiation blast can still be seen today, the environment and wildlife of Ukraine is still extremely radioactive, safety precautions are still needed 35 years later if you wish to enter the city of Chernobyl, where the power plant was located. The question is how we can counter the effects of the radiation and prevent the issue from recurring in the future. The delegates of the EC will need to find new and improved ways to counter the spread, effects, and repetitive use of nuclear radiation according to their country’s stance and foreign policies on the topic.