• On Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, more and more Internet users are engaging in “greentrolling” (“green trolling”), a digital practice which consists in denouncing the “greenwashing” of large companies.

  • Via memes or simply comments, they target the profile of a brand or a company in order to flood it with messages in order to denounce its “greening” marketing strategy.

  • "There are more and more Internet users, and not just activists, who react to the greenwashing campaigns of large companies, who challenge them or who respond directly to them on social networks", notes Diane Scemama, co-founder of the French eco-responsible platform Dream Act.

Everyone hates trolls, but sometimes they can act for a noble cause. On Twitter, Instagram or even Facebook, more and more Internet users are converting to the practice of “greentrolling” (“green trolling”), a new form of online activism which consists in calling on the big social networks. most polluting companies and brands that engage in greenwashing, a marketing method that deceptively uses the ecological argument to improve their image. Via memes or simply comments, these Internet users thus target the profile of an individual or a company in order to flood it with messages in order to enlighten the consumer and teach him not to be seduced by these communication strategies.

According to the 

Washington Post

, the term "greentrolling"

would have been used for the first time in 2019 by the American activist Mary Annaïse Heglar, who became famous after sending a waltz on Twitter to the oil company BP, which invited Internet users to calculate their carbon footprint online. "What about yours?" », She replies to the firm. But one of the best-known examples is certainly that of the elected American Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (“AOC” for her fans). Last November, she reacted to a tweet from Shell which asked its subscribers what levers of action they were prepared to put in place to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. His response had then aroused the reaction of many Internet users, denouncing in turn the greenwashing of the oil company.

I'm willing to hold you accountable for lying about climate change for 30 years when you secretly knew the entire time that fossil fuels emissions would destroy our planet 😇 https://t.co/ekj1Va1Cp0

- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 2, 2020

"A form of activism accessible to all"

The practice has also grown enormously in France, and is now gaining more and more followers. "It is the generalized greenwashing, which we see today almost everywhere, in particular among the most polluting brands which seek to present themselves as" green ", which pushed me to want to troll them in turn"

,

explains Lila, a very committed environmental activist on social networks and within the Extinction Rebellion movement. “It's something very widespread across the Atlantic, and which is really starting to take hold in France. It's a new form of activism, accessible to all, ”adds the student, who devotes a few hours each week to trying to flush out these deceptive communication strategies.

"We see that there are more and more Internet users, and not only activists, who react to the greenwashing campaigns of large companies, who challenge them or who respond to them directly on social networks", also notes Diane Scemama. , co-founder of the French eco-responsible e-shop platform Dream Act, which is preparing to launch a vast campaign on Instagram in the coming weeks to denounce polluting companies that are trying to green their image. “Brands play with the words, the colors and the graphics of their campaigns. Everything has been thought out by neuro-marketing experts in order to play on the illusion to deceive consumers. But Internet users are not fooled, they are now more and more alert, and aware of these practices. "

"Put pressure on the big brands"

Many accounts and blogs have developed in order to counter the communication of these large unscrupulous companies.

“As soon as I spot a greenwashing communication or marketing campaign, I pin it on my Twitter account.

I tag the brand in order to initiate a discussion with it.

And I try to analyze these com strategies, to decipher them as well as possible, ”explains Céline, who manages the Greenwashing Lovers Twitter account.

“It is important to do this since it allows certain brands to question the merits and consistency of their campaign.

And it allows above all to put pressure on them, so that they change the way they communicate ”.

Natural gas or fossil gas, it doesn't matter for @Monoprix as long as it gives an ecological image. # Greenwashing https://t.co/QbZSxhwU7j

- Greenwashing Lovers (@CelineReveillac) July 20, 2021

L'Oréal, Adidas, Total, Amazon, Primark… Whether it is giants seeking to green their image so as not to lose customers or young brands not hesitating to ride the eco-responsible trend, many companies have recently been publicly pinned online. “Crédit Mutuel recently got caught up in the green because of a poster campaign promoting a recycled credit card. But they made cash on the green side, and that quite irritated Internet users, ”notes the administrator of the Greewashing Lovers account. Retail companies or companies specializing in fashion have also suffered the wrath of “greentollers”. "This is the case with the large, low-cost brand Primark, which has not hesitated to highlight the slogans in its windows and on its homepage"green collection "or" conscious collection "," recalls Diane Scemama, co-founder of Dream Act. More recently, the oil company Total was the victim of a fake account created to denounce the environmental policy of the French giant. .

RéHabitat is a TotalEnergies program.

This is the very first conservation program based on habitat equivalence.

Thanks to carbon neutral technologies, we will provide a bright future for neighboring species of the EACOP pipeline.https: //t.co/EWkJz0WAGX

- Not Total (@ReHabitatEU) September 13, 2021

These public arrests, which sometimes go viral, now seem to be bearing fruit.

“It has a very concrete effect.

It is a very bad advertisement for the boxes because none of them want to alienate their consumers.

Some take time to recover, ”recognizes Lila, the young green activist.

“Major brands have even radically changed their method.

This is the case with H&M, very often taken to task in the past.

Today, the company hardly ever does greenwashing, and has even recently invested more than 600,000 euros to test a new textile fiber made from captured carbon, ”explains Diane Scemama.

“There is still a lot of work to be done, but the marketing strategies are finally starting to evolve a bit.

Sign that mentalities are changing.

"

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