Movies
Published October 19, 2021

Guardians of the Galaxy do not represent Vanguard greenwashing

Marvel and Walt Disney denounce IP misuse to greenwash fossil-fuel financing

Marvel Studios has been made aware of an unauthorized use of its Guardians of the Galaxy intellectual property by the Vanguard Group, Inc. The financial services firm introduced a so-called “Vanguardians of the Galaxy” program to mislead customers into believing they would make their investment products “real zero” and “Paris-compliant.” This copyright-infringing publicity stunt defies reality, as Vanguard neither shares our environmental stewardship standards nor represents the spirit of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Heroes throughout the MCU stand for truth and righteousness, and fight for a liveable future for all, including here on Earth. The misappropriation of the Guardians for corporate greenwashing is an offensive infringement, an injury to the memory of Marvel’s founders, and a shocking misunderstanding of the characters themselves. Most notable is the use of Groot (who is a tree) to represent financial resources that destroy trees, and Rocket (a raccoon) co-opted into a financial war whose collateral damage includes woodland creatures suffering as their habitats warm. Long-term prosperity should not come from financing global supervillainy.

Marvel employees’ 401K accounts have been under Vanguard management. That fiduciary relationship will forthwith be severed and transferred into the care of a more forward-thinking asset manager who better respects both climate risk and copyright law. Marvel Studios and the Walt Disney Company will pursue all legal and extra-legal techniques to protect its IP from misuse—especially by companies like Vanguard who fail to appreciate that with great power comes great responsibility.

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