Jan 16

Our not-so-green world

Green is today’s gold. At least in American marketing circles. Every company touts its carbon-neutralRecycled_desk
goals, its green-friendly products and services and its commitment to protect the environment for future generations.

And, surveys will come along to support such thinking. CNN just released one taken of recent college graduates who overwhelmingly said they’d prefer working for a green-friendly company. Duh. Who’s going to say they’d like to work for some manufacturer purposely poisoning our air, land and water?

Yet, at the same time, one wonders how long the green hype will continue? For example, another survey just released by Nielsen showed that American shoppers couldn’t care less about patronizing grocery stores that provide ‘recyclable bags and packaging. Much more important were ‘good value,’ ‘better selection of high quality brands and products’ and, get this, ‘easy parking.’ Ouch. Talk about priorities.

And, then there’s Africa. Having just visited several countries on the ‘dark continent,’ I can confirm that green/sustainability efforts are non-existent. Cars and factories spew all sorts of toxic gases into the sky, and forests, grasslands and other natural resources continue to be trampled down and abused at will.

Last, but not least, there’s the looming recession. Going green is a ‘smart, socially-conscious’ business move when the economy’s booming. One wonders, though, how many CEOs will stay the course when their boards and shareholders squeeze them even harder for improved quarterly profits.

So, color me ‘yellow’ for cautious when it comes to green’s long-term future. It’s a great idea but one, I’m afraid, that will take a back seat as more pressing realities come to the forefront.

Oct 25

I don’t like Green Meanies

Everywhere I turn, I see, hear and read about ‘going green.’ Whether it’s my neighbors buying hybrid cars,Gogreen
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).

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