The Volkswagen diesel scandal is not unknown news to anyone. It was widely publicized how the company was advertising its low emission diesel cars, only to find out that 11 million of its engines had been purposefully tampered with by engineers to trick the emissions tests. The company had spent $77 million in America alone advertising the “clean” engines, all while knowing that they were outright lying to potential customers. I believe that is why this example of greenwashing is so incredible to me. Greenwashing is the practice of making something seem to be more environmentally friendly than it actually is. For most companies that take part in greenwashing, this usually means exaggerating the environmental benefits of a certain product. However, the fact that Volkswagen sat down and hired multiple engineers with the sole goal of creating a piece of software that would trick the emission test, fascinates and disgusts me.
I know greenwashing has been around ever since the green craze has started but I believe that the scandal with VW was the first time people felt deceived to that extreme of a degree, all the way to the point of banding together for a massive class-action law suit. I think that after the VW scandal, people became more aware of greenwashing and how merely a label or a slogan was no guarantee that the product or practices were actually environmentally beneficial. VW is still feeling the sting of being caught. They are dealing with law suits from all angles, because it was not only the consumers that felt lied to, but also the shareholders of the company. Lots are full of VW cars that will not be bought and it poses a real problem for the company. The scandal came as a shock to people also because of the fact that it was VW in particular that got caught with this deceit. Germany has worked hard to establish itself as a very green and responsible country that genuinely cares about the environment. If Volkswagen, a very iconic German company that has usually always been in good standing with consumers, is undertaking these practices, who is to say what other companies are taking part in similar practices all over the world. It creates an environment of suspicion but I believe that suspicion is the only way to ensure that companies work towards making what they advertise true. Once people find out that they were lied to, companies may have to deal with the same problems that VW is still facing to this day, and no company with dreams of being successful in the long run would willingly put themselves through that.