Tuesday, October 1, 2013
In recent years the concept of ‘going green’ has become insanely popular. Unfortunately, this has resulted in the concept being insanely overused, and in many cases, abused. Essentially, the common understanding of green is good for the environment. Yet not enough have looked into what that really means regarding the ideology’s application in actual business practices. It is easy to claim that you care; it is far less easy to prove it. People like to feel as though they are making an effort to be socially and environmentally responsible. However, too often such good intentions can become misguided. Even more disturbing is the fact that big business is all too aware of this fact, and is more than willing to use it against you.
A perfect example of this is the corporate campaign against printing. We have all at one time or another received an e-mail which says at the bottom: “Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.” At face value it seems as though this person really cares about his or her impact on the planet. Their real motivation is actually far from social responsibility. Rather, its presence is a testament to personal profitability and the motivator behind most business practices: making more money. This condescending guilt-trip is a marketing strategy which attempts to convince you to save them money. Print is not the environment’s enemy—misinformation is. Sadly, the ‘green initiative’ has become less about ethics or ecological responsibility and more about empty promises intending to part you from your cash. In the end ‘green’ doesn't really mean much anymore.
That does not mean all environmental efforts in recent years have been made in vain. The “true believers” have chosen to distance themselves from the many carpetbaggers who have made the term ‘green’ useless by instead promoting the idea of sustainability. The use of this notion in a business’ literature is a good indicator that it is a genuinely eco-friendly organization. Such groups tend to advocate for credibility and transparency. In other words, their specific practices should be outlined in detail in a way that is readily available to the consumer. If you don’t have a good idea of what exactly a given company is doing to be environmentally conscious, then it’s probably not much!