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‘How to greenwash’: propane industry tries to rebrand fuel as renewable

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

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🗞️ Driving the news: Recordings and reports reveal that the Propane Education & Research Council (Perc), a U.S. lobbying group, has been marketing propane as renewable or "clean energy," despite its fossil fuel origins
Perc's board members have acknowledged the inaccuracy of this characterization in a recorded meeting, as they strategized to align propane with the perception of being environmentally friendly.

🔭 The context: Perc has spent nearly $30m on advertisements over two years, promoting propane as clean and renewable, despite it being primarily a by-product of natural gas and crude oil refining
The group's internal discussions and marketing strategies have been focused on reshaping propane's image, particularly among younger, climate-conscious demographics

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Misrepresenting propane as a renewable or clean energy source contributes to greenwashing, misleading the public and policymakers about its environmental impact
This mischaracterization could hinder efforts to transition to truly renewable and low-emission energy sources necessary for mitigating climate change.

⏭️ What's next: As scrutiny over fossil fuel greenwashing increases, the propane industry’s marketing efforts face challenges in balancing commercial interests with accurate environmental messaging
Perc plans to continue rebranding propane in 2024, but must navigate growing awareness and skepticism about fossil fuel impacts.

💬 One quote: “We’re trying to be part of the solution,” said Erin Hatcher, Perc’s senior vice-president of communications and marketing, despite the scientific consensus that addressing climate change involves reducing fossil fuel reliance

📈 One stat: Perc’s advertising spending increased over 17-fold from 2021 to 2022-23, from $1.7m to nearly $30m, targeting various media outlets and audiences.

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