The Unsuitablog

Exposing Ethical Hypocrites Everywhere!

Archive for February, 2010

Under All, The Truth (A Poem)

Posted by keith on 24th February 2010

A thick trail of clotted paint,
Eased across the slick
Covers well.
From a distance.

A trowel of baby-smooth plaster
Masking walls of spin.
Where once asunder
Now rent-free.

Smears of light and clever shading;
Filth washed off by jets.
Unwanted expelled:
This way please!

A double coat of shining varnish
Glosses the shit;
Its colonic ripples
Trace elegant contours.

Fitted, made-up and tonsured,
The old guard speaks
Through ad-lib free prompt
And time delay
(Just in case).

Is this a metaphor I see before me?
Steel, words or deeds
I take my blade and cut.
The truth bleeds out.

Keith Farnish, February 23, 2010.

Posted in Exposure | No Comments »

It’s Always Bloody Ozone

Posted by keith on 22nd February 2010

I don’t watch a lot of television – well, that’s probably no surprise – but if I am free on Sunday lunchtimes I do like to watch Countryfile on BBC One. There are all sorts of interesting items about all sorts of different things, and this week was no exception: focusing on Somerset, there were items about the use of willow, tree identification in Cheddar Gorge, and prehistoric tracks in peatlands. There was also a good, balanced item in the “John Craven Investigates” strand about generating your own energy – I particularly liked the woman with the ceramic stove who was just the right side of smug, knowing that at any time the power supply could give out!

This item starts at about 10′ 30″ on BBC iPlayer, by following the link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00r3rzv/Countryfile_21_02_2010/ (Note: This will expire on February 27, 2010)

Early on, and you can see this at 11′ 30″, something I hear time and time again from both children and adults is said by a young girl in response to a question about why we should generate our own electricity:

“Because our ozone layer is slowly going, and we will be polluting it more if we don’t start thinking about it a bit more now.”

In all fairness she sounds pretty bright, so the only explanation for this gobbledigook is that she has been given this information by an ill-informed teacher who hasn’t learnt the subject properly. The school in question seems to have shoehorned the wind turbine into everything (“Today, children, we will be learning about ants by watching them climb up the pole of our lovely new wind turbine”), and it’s likely that every teacher, knowledgeable or not, has been told to talk about a number of environmental issues; in the process completely getting it wrong.

Do I have to say this? The ozone layer has nothing, in any meaningful sense, to do with climate change. Damage to the ozone layer is a related, but physically discrete topic from the effects of greenhouse gases on global temperatures. There are some chemicals that feature in both topics (CFCs and some of their global heating replacements), but I very much doubt the person teaching the poor girl – and thousands of teachers like him or her – is aware of this. They simply don’t know enough about the subject to teach it, so should not be doing so!

We will be moving to Scotland shortly, and one thing going for the school system is that you are not allowed to teach a subject in secondary school if you do not have a related degree-level qualification. This will not help primary children, but just a little knowledge in this case would go a long way. Next time, if you hear anyone talk about the ozone layer in relation to climate change or greenhouse gases, please put them right; then perhaps they will pass the information on themselves, and kill off once and for all that really annoying piece of misinformation.

Posted in Advice, Public Sector Hypocrisy | No Comments »

Crazy Green Claims Make PR Company Look Stupid

Posted by keith on 18th February 2010

It’s painful to watch this, but if you really want to see a giant green marketing Weeble take centre stage at a presentation by a racing team that, by its own admission, will “dabble in just about anything that has wheels”, then feel free. It gets really silly about 5 minutes in.

But first is the email exchange between myself and Megan Palmer who works for a PR company, promoting a product that – and it gets a bit complicated here – has a part to play in the thing that they actually mention, as opposed to the thing they don’t mention which is the product they are supposed to be promoting! You’ll see what I mean if you keep reading…

From: Megan Palmer
Sent: Friday, February 05, 2010 1:09 AM
To: Megan Palmer
Subject: FW: Rick Ware Racing Video Press Conference Tomorrow at 3pm EST To Announce Green Sponsor

Hi,

I wanted to introduce myself and invite you to participate in Rick Ware Racing’s Video Press Conference where they will announce our green client as their multi-year sponsor for NASCAR, right before Daytona 500 next week tomorrow during a live video press conference. I will be contacting you in the near future regarding this exciting green product.

The press conference is tomorrow at 3pm EST http://www.ustream.tv/channel/rick-ware-racing or follow them on twitter for more @rickwareracing

Hope you can tune in and I look forward to working with you soon!

Megan

Megan Palmer
Executive Account Manager
Public Relations & Events

megan@amgwagency.com

ph: 305.856.8004 x: 304
fax: 305.856.8650
bb pin: 30FDCD98

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/meganpalmeramg

900 SW 8th Street C-2
Miami, Fl 33130

From: “Keith Farnish”
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2010 09:25:10 -0000
To: Megan Palme
Cc: Keith Farnish
Subject: Re: Rick Ware Racing Video Press Conference Tomorrow at 3pm EST To Announce Green Sponsor

WHAT! How can a “green” client be a sponsor of a motor racing team?!

Please respond as this is astonishing.

Keith

From: megan@amgwagency.com
Sent: Friday, February 05, 2010 11:28 AM
To: Keith Farnish
Subject: Re: Rick Ware Racing Video Press Conference Tomorrow at 3pm EST To Announce Green Sponsor

Good morning, maybe its better phrased as ‘eco friendly’. :) hope you can tune in.

Sent on the Now Network� from my Sprint® BlackBerry

On Fri, Feb 5, 2010 at 6:33 AM, Keith Farnish wrote:

That still doesn’t make sense, Megan. What part of motor racing is “eco friendly”?

Keith

From: Megan Palmer
Sent: Friday, February 05, 2010 11:54 AM
To: Keith Farnish
Subject: Re: Rick Ware Racing Video Press Conference Tomorrow at 3pm EST To Announce Green Sponsor

The product is “eco-friendly” but that’s only one component. It’s an automotive product, which is why they’re taking part in the motor racing sport. I can’t say too much more before the video conference. As I look further at your website maybe it’s not a fit for your type of “green” coverage. Sorry for wasting your time. :) Have a good weekend

My type of “green” coverage. As opposed to what? I assume Megan meant really gullible “green” coverage that dumbly reproduces anything that purports to be green in order to pack out its RSS feed.

[On a sidenote, one reason The Unsuitablog doesn't have 10000 subscribers is precisely because it doesn't dumbly reproduce every bit of cack sent to it in order to have 5 or 10 posts per day. I would like to think the people who read this actually care about the subject matter...]

So, much later on I watched a recorded version of the Rick Ware Press Conferenc because, for some strange reason, I didn’t feel like watching it live. It turns out that Megan’s client is (I assume) the makers of Fuel Doctor, the product represented by the Weeble. I popped over to their site and had a read.

Apparently, simply by plugging this little gizmo into the cigarette lighter port of a car, your mileage can improve by 25%. This is mightily impressive considering all it is is an electrical filter, much like the ones you can put between a power supply and an amplifier to (theoretically) improve the sound quality of a hi-fi. Which makes me rather concerned that hundreds of millions of people are driving around at any one time in highly complex pieces of machinery that are so badly made that a simple line filter can fundamentally alter the ability of an engine to process gasoline.

So it’s a good thing that it’s a complete load of bollocks.

The so-called “certified lab tests” show, in shattered English, between 0.055% and 0.5% fewer carbon dioxide emissions. Yes, this incredible “green” technology has the equivalent emissions improvements to cleaning a bit of dirt off the windscreen.

Now, I know the CO2 test is right, because it uses a standard piece of kit, used around the globe to a recognised level of accuracy. But in the test that produced 0.055% less carbon dioxide, the car used 16% less fuel! They have somehow contrived to create something that uses up to 25% less fuel, yet emits virtually the same amount of carbon dioxide. According to a link on their web site:

It should be noted that the majority of the Carbon (99%) coming out of an engine is in the form of CO2. This means that improvements in fuel economy result in reduced CO2 emissions.

How did they measure the fuel use? Well, nowhere does it actually say, except on one of the tests we see some rulers next to some measuring jugs containing alarmingly orange liquid. Anyway, as the man said, emissions should match fuel economy, and they don’t, so nothing on the Fuel Doctor site has any credence whatsoever.

And neither does sending out a press release claiming that something to do with a motor racing team is “green” :-)

Posted in Corporate Hypocrisy, Promotions, Techno Fixes | 2 Comments »

Logo Fun With Ford

Posted by keith on 15th February 2010

There is a story, and it is partly true, that the Ford Motor Company were responsible for the mass incursion of free market capitalism and the associated violent suppression of opposing voices, across South America in the 1960s and 1970s. Certainly the Chicago School of economic thought, led by Milton Friedman, were grateful for the funding provided to a number of their programs by Ford; but as with many of these things, it is not so much the isolated horrors that probing into the history of a great corporation will reveal, as the net effect of thousands of lesser actions, creating a toxic scum around the edge.

Most of these “lesser” actions are in the form of advertising and political funding, and right from the up, Henry Ford was no mug – understanding the importance of having both the public and the political system on his side. Personally I’m not that bothered who killed the electric car – it would have still needed something to run it; what is far more sinister is that such vast corporations can exist at all in a society that, apparently, allows people freedom of choice in how they live their lives.

Any way you like, to paraphrase Mr Ford, “So long as it’s our way.”

A mere trifle, but a perfect example of the corporate mind-meld, comes in the form of an email received a couple of days ago. I reproduce it in full, safe in the knowledge that my readers have the nous to see through the layer of greenwash:

Hello,

Going green is a tagline that everyone wants to be associated with. But Ford Motor Company is walking the walk.

A large part of all auto makers environmental credibility gets placed on how fuel efficient their cars and trucks are. But Ford is taking significant measures this year to spread their sustainability efforts beyond miles per gallon, and into operations and corporate practices.

Today ford announced their Dealer Sustainability Program, in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Institute, aimed at implementing cost-effective ways to improve the energy-efficiency of their facilities, resulting in a long-term reduction in individual dealership’s carbon footprint as well as overall operating costs.

This industry-leading effort kicks off today at the 2010 National Automobile Dealers Association Convention in Orlando.

Please see the full release below let us know if you have any questions or would like any additional information or a follow up briefing from Ford.

Thank you!

FORD ANNOUNCES DEALER SUSTAINABILITY PROGRAM

* Ford Motor Company is launching a voluntary sustainability initiative for Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers to reduce their carbon footprint and improve the energy-efficiency of their dealerships

* Ford has partnered with Rocky Mountain Institute, a leading energy-efficiency organization to pilot new technologies and architectural design principles, at three dealerships in diverse climates

* The ‘Go Green’ dealer sustainability initiative is fully integrated into the company’s existing architecture to provide dealers with the ability to improve energy efficiency and lower operating costs

ORLANDO, Feb. 14, 2010 – Ford Motor Company’s commitment to contributing to a better world further expands today with the announcement of the ‘Go Green’ Dealership Sustainability Program. The program is being shared with the company’s U.S. Ford and Lincoln/Mercury dealers today at the 2010 National Automobile Dealers Association Convention.

The goal of the program is simple: Collaborate with dealers to implement cost-effective ways to improve the energy-efficiency of their facilities, resulting in a long-term reduction in individual dealership’s carbon footprint as well as overall operating costs. Participation in the ‘Go Green’ Dealership Sustainability Program is voluntary for dealers.

“In keeping with Ford’s commitment to the environment, this program is a great fit for our dealers because it provides a variety of energy-efficient improvement options regardless of the current age and design of the facility,” says Sue Cischke, group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “This allows all dealers the opportunity to participate in improving the energy efficiency of their facility and gives them flexibility in making choices that are right for them and their dealership.”

Ford has partnered with Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), an organization recognized as a leader in providing energy-efficiency solutions to businesses, communities and organizations around the world.

“We applaud Ford for their ongoing energy-efficiency efforts around the world,” said Amory B. Lovins, Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute. “This initiative will have a positive impact participating dealers decrease their consumption of energy. Implementing these cost-effective solutions will also improve dealer’s bottom line over the long-term.”

Getting Started

Dealers interested in participating in the ‘Go Green’ Dealership Sustainability Program will first receive a comprehensive energy assessment from sustainability experts at Ford. After the thorough assessment is completed, Ford and the dealer will collaborate on energy-saving options available and will tailor a program to meet the needs of the dealer. Solutions are wide-ranging and can be implemented for dealers with existing facilities as well as dealers who are constructing new facilities.

Dealers who participate in the program will be able to take advantage of several benefits, including guidance on available State and Federal tax credits and incentives, as well as access to technical expertise and resources to assist with selection of energy-efficient products and equipment.

Ford is finalizing details to initiate a pilot program with three dealers located in Florida, New York and Nevada.

“Through this initiative we are making available to dealers the same techniques, principles and expertise we use to reduce our energy use and contribute to a better world,” said Cischke.

___________________________________________
Eddie Fernandez I Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
T: 916.231.7733 / F: 916.418.1515
E: eddie.fernandez@ogilvypr.com
A: 1414 K Street, Ste 300, Sacramento, CA 95814

Hello, Eddie, did you forget to mention that Ford exists to sell cars and trucks that burn fossil fuels. Never mind, perhaps you would like to use the logo at the top in your next press release. It would be a lot more honest.

Posted in Campaigns, Corporate Hypocrisy, Subvertising | 1 Comment »

Monthly Undermining Task, February 2010: Time To Break The Ads

Posted by keith on 9th February 2010

“The peasants, living lives which to us seem indolent and shiftless, are invariably carefree and contented; but, if they are to be citizens of an independent self-governing nation, they must acquire…a new set of wants.”

Greenwash inevitably starts with advertising. The image of desire projected into the mind of a seemingly independent human being makes them so much more open to suggestion; the machine has us where it wants us by virtue of just clever words and clever pictures. We are so easily led…or at least we have become so easily led. So, if a corporation wants to appear green it just uses the same tricks it uses all the time, to suggest whatever it wants us to believe. Invariably, it gets what it wants.

Life would be so much more carefree without advertising. The quote at the top of the page was spoken by Arthur Millspaugh, an advisor to the US government in 1929. This was made with reference to the people of Haiti, the country that the USA was occupying then, and now desires to occupy once more. Whether with guns, the promise of aid or those clever words and clever pictures, the people at the top of the chain will do whatever it takes to occupy our minds, our lives and, of course, our wallets.

And who needs guns or aid when you have billboards, ad breaks, in-store advertising, promotions, junk mail, pop-ups…the power of the global marketing machine?

How would you like to help people get their lives back?

No Risk

For someone who wants to move away from a technological existence, it would seem odd for me to promote a particular technology, but this is well answered by Derrick Jensen who defies those who selectively quote Audre Lorde in saying: “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”. There is no reason at all why certain, effective technologies should not be used in defence of humanity and the wider world, so long as the doctrine of technology as a universal force for good is resisted. You are almost using a web browser to read this. If you are using Internet Explorer, then stop using it and install Firefox instead.

Now you have done that – and wasn’t it easy? – watch the following video, which will explain how to install AdBlock Plus:

Working with the AdBlocked browser might not seem different, but we are surprisingly poor at noticing things that are not there – maybe news sites feel a bit cleaner; pages load a little quicker; you aren’t getting all sorts of messages asking for permission to open this and that. The critical difference is that you are being exposed to far fewer advertisements; and if you do see and advert, all you have to do is right-click (or the Mac equivalent) and select “Adblock Image…”. Click “Add Filter” and you will never see it again.

Unless you are using someone else’s machine, in which case, ask them to install Firefox and AdBlock Plus, and get them to ask all their friends to do the same, and so on. Very quickly, with virtually no risk at all, you have a lot of people who are being brainwashed that bit less. What’s not to like?

Low and Medium Risk

I am genuinely unsure of whether defacing or damaging an advertisement in a public place is a crime or not. Speaking for English Law, which is the jurisdiction under which I am forced to live, if a billboard is operated by a private company then any “negative” action taken against the advertisement is taken against the private company alone. Any prosecution would have to be taken out by that company (ClearChannel, JCDecaux or whatever) upon the individual, and as far as I know, it never has been. That’s why I consider any non-destructive (speaking from a structural point of view) actions that do not directly harm another person to be Low Risk.

However, the comfort factor is important, so there are a number of variables that determine your personal risk, whether real or perceived. First, where and when the action is taking place: in broad daylight in a busy shopping street is bound to get you at least some attention, although this can be mitigated (perversely) by the wearing of a fluorescent yellow tabard, making methodical actions at least seem official. Under cover of dark, next to a place usually only busy during the rush-hour is perfect for avoiding any trouble.

Second, how much you do: rip off a small part of a poster, which is quick and less obvious than a complete removal, and you probably won’t be noticed; as will just a subtle change to a word or image (which can often be more effective) compared to a complete spray-job. I have found, to my delight, that removing a corner of even the largest billboard is often followed up by local teenagers finishing the job for you; similarly, scribble a bit of hair beneath an Immac-ed armpit, and you are inviting even more creative additions.

Thirdly, the nature of the change, if you are not simply removing the advert. There is one thing I personally would avoid, just because I have children, and that’s swearing as part of the defacement, as well as the use of sexual or overtly violent images. The addition below is great fun, but you can see (where I have smudged, just in case kids see this) the problem if it’s near to a school, for instance. Just keep it appropriate – by all means draw in a person crushed by the car on the advert, but avoid drawing a massive penis on a Coke bottle, as much as you would probably like to, if you want to keep it low risk.

The key to these low and medium risk actions, is the physical removal of the message intended by the advertiser. If you can reverse the message, as often portrayed by groups like Adbusters, then that’s great too; but the main thing is the release of people’s minds from the grasp of the corporate system. Just one advert removed from the eyes of a thousand people is a very good thing indeed. And don’t forget, this includes televisions, as featured last month.

High Risk

I’m putting these things under High Risk because whilst being incredibly important, they are almost certainly illegal, and may even pose some kind of direct risk to yourself in executing them. Because of that, I have to issue the following disclaimer:

The author, nor the host of this web site does not condone any actions which break the law under the jurisdiction where the described activity is taking place.

Which, of course, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do them at your own risk.

An Unsuitablog staffer had a chat with David Lambert of JCDecaux, the largest seller of high-tech billboards in the UK, to discuss their Première range of backlit behemoths, and he was relatively forthcoming on the subject of power sources to their units (listen towards the end):

RECORDING: JCDecaux Premiere Billboard Range (opens in new window)

Obviously if the power were to be removed from these units then the advert would be pretty useless; all those drivers no longer being urged to spend, spend, spend!

For billboards that are rather more inert, particularly the suburban and rural variety, I hand over to the peerless “Ecodefense: A Field Guide To Monkeywrenching” (a mirror of which you will find on the A Matter Of Scale website). In particular, Chapter 8, which deals with the removal of Propaganda:

Propaganda-psychological warfare-has been around ever since the early agricultural cities of the Fertile Crescent began quarreling and pushing each other around. Half of your battle is won when your enemy is afraid of you.

Propaganda is a good way for the monkeywrencher to not only present her message to the public, but also to cause sleepless nights for the black-hearted Freddies, developers, subdividers, gutless politicians, sleazy advertisers, and others. Besides the well-known act of cutting down billboards, other entertain­ing ideas in this chapter can leave the evil ones sweating and sleepless in their beds.

The relevant section includes details on tools, tactics for avoiding detection, and safety (for yourself and others) – you really don’t want one of these things falling on you!

As well as felling, Ecodefense goes into a great amount of detail about the various types of defacement and revision I have only touched on here. All of this is pretty high risk stuff, but certainly not beyond the ability of smart and careful people.

Whether you just install AdBlock Plus on your computer, remove a sheet of advert from a billboard or do something more permanent, you are giving both yourself and many others back their liberty; indeed, their basic right not to have their thoughts polluted by the desires of other, more nefarious, parties. Advertising is not freedom of speech or expression – it curtails this in favour of a corporate-driven message that defines how we should life our lives.

Now go and break those ads!

Posted in Advice, Monthly Undermining Tasks, Sabotage, Subvertising | 4 Comments »

Tesco Goes “Green” – Continues To Sell Crap To The Masses

Posted by keith on 3rd February 2010

This is classic greenwash. Vintage greenwash, in fact.

Tesco, the British supermarket giant headed by Sir Terry Leahy (knighted for services to corporate power), has announced that one of their 2,360 stores is to become carbon neutral. I assume, obviously, that this carbon neutrality includes the things they sell in the store, rather than just the operational carbon, otherwise you could be excused for thinking that – heaven forbid – this is a PR stunt.

The story is taken up by Julia Finch in The Guardian, who opens with a cracking statistic…

Supermarket group Tesco, which pumps out some four million tonnes of carbon a year, today opened its first zero carbon store as part of its bid to be a carbon ­neutral company by 2050.

The shop, in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, is timber-framed rather than steel, and uses skylights and sun pipes to cut lighting costs. It also has a combined heat and power plant powered by renewable bio-fuels, exporting extra electricity back to the national grid. In addition the refrigerators – one of the biggest blackspots for food retailers trumpeting their green credentials – have doors to save energy and harmful HFC refrigerant gases have been replaced.

Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy said: “It shows that you can dramatically alter how much carbon you use and life can go on”.

The new store, he said, “cost 30% more to build, but it uses 50% less energy, and with oil at $70 a barrel it is a business case in itself”.

To coincide with the Ramsey opening, the supermarket chain said it intended to spend more than £100m with green technology companies, although Leahy was unsure of the level of supermarket’s current spend on this.

Tesco has been at the forefront of the grocers’ race to be green. The UK’s biggest supermarket has provided £25m of funding for the University of Manchester to set up a sustainable consumption institute, and has a 10-point community plan, with pledges to increase local sourcing and to consult local communities in an attempt to be viewed as a good neighbour.

Apart from the obvious dissonance between Tesco’s 2,360 stores that rip the heart out of communities wherever they are located – and, believe me, they are not located in order to develop a harmonic relationship with any community – there is the small matter of what Tesco sells.

In 2009, Tesco had a turnover – essentially a measure of how much stuff they sell – of £59.4 billion, an increase of 15.1% on the previous year. Of that vast amount, £41.5 billion is from UK sales, with the remaining £18 billion accounted for by supermarkets in Thailand (614 stores), China (50 “hypermarkets”), Ireland (117), South Korea (280), Japan (137), Turkey (100), Poland (313) and the USA (113).

As the “green” store is in the UK, we should focus on Tesco’s activities there: so we see £28.5 billion coming from food retailing – what is considered the Core Business – and the bulk of the remainder from non-food retail (clothes, electrical goods, homeware etc).

If you live in the UK, I want you to go into a Tesco store and pick ten items at random, both food and non-food, then try and find out where the items were manufactured, grown or otherwise produced. You’re going to have an interesting time with food because, like most food in supermarkets, the items contain a huge variety of different ingredients emanating from all across the globe: simplicity is not in the nature of mass food retailing. Fruit, vegetables and other single-source items will invariable be a mix of local (ish) and from much further away; but you can be assured that even “local” items will have been moved from one end of the country to the other a couple of times for warehousing and distribution before reaching the store.

Non-food items are made, basically, in China.

Tesco’s Carbon Disclosure (via http://www.cdproject.net) is interesting, to say the least, and it’s well worth repeating here:

8.1. Please indicate the category that describes the company, entities, or group for which Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions are reported.

Companies over which operational control is exercised.

8.2. Please state whether any parts of your business or sources of GHG emissions are excluded from your reporting boundary.

Production of goods, supplier transport, international freight, asset sites, waste recycling and disposal, employee commuting, customer transport, consumption and disposal of goods.

So while they are honest about their “direct” emissions, they completely ignore the thing that accounts for the bulk of Tesco’s emissions: the production and transportation of the things they sell.

The aforementioned four million tonnes of carbon dioxide is, large as it seems, only the tip of Terry’s toxic iceberg.

Why should this be a problem, given that the companies that make and transport the stuff should be disclosing and accounting for their emissions? Because Tesco is a huge company, and for the most part, if they did not exist to sell people overprocessed, long-haul, extraneous and unnecessary things that people would not buy were they not marketed by Tesco’s gigantic marketing machine, the emissions simply would not be produced. But, hey! They have a carbon neutral store, so that’s ok, isn’t it?

Tesco: every lie helps.

Posted in Company Policies, Corporate Hypocrisy, Offsetting, Promotions | No Comments »

The 6 Most Half Assed Attempts at Corporate Green Washing

Posted by keith on 1st February 2010

Just been sent a link to this cracking semi-serious article on Cracked.com by David at The Good Human. While I would probably balk at being called an insufferable prick (but I suppose it’s better than being called a Terrorist – see all these links) I go along with everything else here. Pity they don’t bother filtering out their comments…

For a person, “going green” is as simple as recycling more, wasting less and always, always, always behaving like an insufferable prick in social situations. But for a corporation, “going green” can be a much harder task that costs million of dollars, thousands of hours of manpower and often painful company-wide cutbacks.

Or, they can opt to do jack shit and just spend all of their money and effort convincing the public otherwise. This is what is referred to as “greenwashing,” and it works like this:

#6. Who Needs Water When You Have Coca-Cola?

Listen: India is a beautiful, ancient place with a rich and storied culture and we don’t mean to knock it, but it’s pretty damned overcrowded. They’re practically breathing other people right now, and as a result their resources are stretched taut. Water actually still means life over there–as opposed to the Western world where it’s just something that needs to be enhanced with electrolytes or thrown on the t-shirts of girls who hate their fathers.

So when Coca-Cola came to India and started sucking up thousands of gallons of the nation’s precious life-sustaining water each day to make their bottled acid-baths, it kind of rubbed a few (billion) people the wrong way. So to balance out this horrible misappropriation of resources, Coke tried to prove they were environmentally conscious by setting up a donation scheme to help save polar bears… which, of course, aren’t native to India.

Then at a San Francisco business conference, Coke also pledged to go water neutral. Well, actually they said they “aspire to put back” what they “take out.” Aspire. You can aspire to anything; take a poll of a first grade classroom and you’ll get 18 kids aspiring to be astronauts, four aspiring to be policemen, two aspiring to be president and one special child aspiring to be a motorcycle.

Wait, it gets better! Part of the their plan is that if they take all of the water out of one village’s wells, they can become “neutral” by putting the water back… into a different village. You know, like how instead of paying back your loan to your bank, they’ll allow you to just give the money to some random person instead. As long as you’re paying somebody, right?

[Five more of these hideous greenwashes here]

Posted in Corporate Hypocrisy, Exposure, Subvertising | 2 Comments »