Cash Investigation: Green Washing

Faced with climate change and pressure from consumers, more and more multinationals are committed to “carbon neutrality”. But can we believe their claims of ‘net zero’ or is this simply greenwashing?

In order to call themselves carbon neutral, many of these large companies essentially rely on “carbon offsetting”, financing “ecological” projects via carbon credits rather than reducing emissions. The most popular projects are tree plantations. Between the buyer of credits and the one who receives the funds, a whole business has developed. Companies connect their customers (Total, Engie, Air France, etc.) with reforestation projects around the world. The intermediary companies then dispatch the funds and take a commission.  

But to ensure the success of its business model, the intermediaries focus on the most profitable projects, those that are inexpensive and not complicated to implement. For example, planting trees, without worrying about what will happen to the populations, replanted trees, agricultural practices on site. Very often these carbon offset projects are not effective or even have a negative impact on the environment and local populations.

One example is Nespresso, offset champion who has pledged that “every cup of coffee will be carbon neutral by 2022”.  We investigate the true viability of their claims.



  • Year: 2022
  • Duration: 52 mins
  • Production: Première Lignes
  • Director: Claire Tesson
  • Available Versions: ENG, FRA
  • Country of production: