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EJN Launches Collaborative Reporting Project on the Greenwashing in Asia

illustration of people painting over a factory

There is increasing awareness around the world about the deceptive or entirely false claims about the climate and sustainability made by companies, governments and even NGOs. This includes assertions and policies revolving around climate, biodiversity and pollution. Grouped together, these are often referred to as “greenwashing.” 

Carbonwashing, greenwashing that’s related to climate change, is under scrutiny considering the growth of carbon trading markets and the voluntary credits that bolster them. In an analysis by authors in the peer-reviewed journal Science this year, which is based on rigorous research and modeling, the authors were blunt: “…offsetting through paying projects to reduce emissions by conserving tropical forests is not reducing deforestation as claimed and is worsening climate change.”  

In order to fill the gap in coverage, Internews’ Earth Journalism Network’s Asia-Pacific project,SourceMaterial, Pulitzer Rainforest Investigation Network and six outlets across Asia, is rolling out its latest project, “It’s a Wash.” 

Ten journalists have spent months investigating offset projects, afforestation and reforestation projects in their home countries; their stories, published in series, are each the outcome of shared sources, leads, data and other resources. 

It's a Wash presents participating newsrooms the opportunity to cover a complex issue from different angles and geographies, without concern about competition. EJN fully expects this report, and the collaborative effort that went into its formation, to expand coverage on an often-murky side of climate change mitigation throughout the region and indeed the world. 

“This is an especially timely investigation,” says EJN Special Projects Editor Sam Schramski. “Carbonwashing, particularly surrounding voluntary carbon offsets, is getting lots of international coverage. This is an opportunity to provide in-depth reporting on this subject and its offshoots in Asia.” “We’re very proud of the journalists’ work in breaking new ground,” adds Schramski. 

To learn more about this special project and to check out the first story, reported from Cambodia by partners Southeast Asia Globe and SourceMaterial, click here

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Illustration credit: Oksana Drachkovska.