Thursday, June 26, 2008

‘Going Green’ Corporations: “The Right Thing to Do”…Not

First of all, let me state the position that we should all be good stewards of our environment. For what little time we have on this earth, there is a God-given and innate responsibility to maintain our dominion. The world we leave behind is precious to those we hold most precious, our future generations and legacies.

So catch me recycling and disposing waste most appropriately. When I see someone throwing litter out the car window the first utterance from my lips is, “pig!”

So now that that’s established, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of an issue that’s trite, ridiculous, condecending, hypocritical and border-line blasphemous by CEO’s and corporations in all out media blitzes, praising themselves of the efforts and operational restructuring all in the name of “going green”, and “doing our part to stem global warming”. (Which for the most part, realistically, isn’t man-made.) Outrageous as these self-serving claims are, it’s amazing how far it has gotten out of hand.

Give us a break. ‘Going green’ is not the motivating factor in a board room or with stockholders. Any, and I mean any business is only in and should be for the major reasons of supplying what the market demands and turning profit for investors that expect a lean bottom line in doing so.

Case in point is the unbelievable claim by SC Johnson that converting their Kentucky factory to run on methane is for the good of the environment. You do know what methane is derived from, right? It’s from the claim that SCJ converted over only for the environment. Lookit, you have astromically rising fuel prices and then a chance to run your factory on cow manure when there is a bountiful supply. Look at this from the perspective of your own home or vehicle. $4.00-$5.00 per gallon foreign oil that sucks up 50% of your take home, versus homegrown poop from your own backyard at next to nothing. Put away the scales because logic has already enlightened most of us at this moment.

Not to pick on just one corporation, there’s plenty of PR smoke and mirrors to go around here. I just saw a report this week of the local Coca-Cola distributor in Dallas putting the outrageous claim in a balloon and streamer news conference that the “reason” for converting delivery trucks to hybrid was for the environment, and “the right thing to do”. Again, let’s look at the major function of the product in the market. Is this about ‘going green’ or, Mr. CEO, is about ’saving, or, heaven forbid, ‘making green’.

And the media at-large isn’t a help either. NBC/Universal, FOX, ABC, etc., with their little ‘greened’ logos in the lower right hand corner of our TV screens make awareness to the environment, but dig deeper and certain there’s a little marketing advantage built into it. If was just the opposite, they wouldn’t be there.

Right now, I’m looking at an AT&T banner ad asking all of us to ‘green’ and refurb for free. Again, is this the purpose of climate change or ridding an overstock of outdated inventory?

In a free market society, corporations can do anything legally that they want to do, if that’s what gives a warm fuzzy to their mission statements. Say anything, do anything to move volume. But when in it comes to the environment, don’t insult our intellegence. Do what you must do, quietly…then shut up about it.

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