Everywhere I turn, I see, hear and read about ‘going green.’ Whether it’s my neighbors buying hybrid cars,
major Fortune 500 companies announcing huge sustainability efforts or big PR firms declaring their workplaces will be carbon neutral by 2009, it seems like everyone’s jumping on the environmental sensitivity bandwagon.
And, that’s cool. It’s a noble effort to be sure. But, is it a futile one as well? Auden Schendler, who Time Magazine anointed just last year as a ‘climate crusader’ thinks so. He laments in a current BusinessWeek profile, "How do you really green your company? It’s almost f***ing impossible."
It seems that no matter what any of us do, it will have very little, if any, meaningful impact on reducing global carbon emissions. Does that mean we shouldn’t try? Or course not. But, the ‘doing well by doing right’ corporate mantra du jour, is apparently just that in many cases: a mantra du jour.
According to BusinessWeek, some companies are already abandoning their green efforts because they don’t provide an immediate return. CEOs, pressured by Wall Street to produce quarter-to-quarter results, simply can’t wait seven years to show an ROI (which is understandable).
What really bugs me about the whole green movement,
though, isn’t the corporate double-speak. That happens all the time.
What gets to me is the holier-than-thou attitude some greenies take. In
many ways, they’re just as strident in their proselytizing as the most
vociferous vegan or Christian Fundamentalist. We, for example, had a
guy who insisted on turning off the men’s room lights in an effort to
‘contribute.’ While I appreciated his intentions, I didn’t enjoy
fumbling around for the nearest urinal. And, I’m still in the dark as
to how my playing ‘guess’ at a urinal slows global warming.
It remains to be seen whether the green movement will take root or end
up as the latest, greatest corporate fad du jour. It’s great that 300
million Americans are trying their best. But, will that ever offset
2.75 billion Chinese who could care less?