Sunday, June 03, 2007

If it's worth saying, say it again

Green is certainly the next big thing... for now, in the world of marketing.

The greening of CSR

I have on occasion tried to reply to the comment section online, but either it doesn't like my Mac/Safari set-up, or my over-40ness has rendered the technology beyond me.

It seems that green is no longer just good, but big. And what you have written here is encouraging and all makes very good sense, though I'd like to offer a few extra thoughts on the environmental side of CSR from a position of some experience as a consumer.

The issue of greenwashing remains significant, and it is, if you'll forgive projecting the metaphor, in danger of staining a lot of good with some that is less so being carried out for reasons that range from the misguided to the downright venal. Trouble is, when they happen they get noticed (usually in the tabloids), and the consumer is not that sympathetic to unsubtle manipulations, especially when the intentions are murky. And mud sticks.

One of the biggest issues 'we' (those trying to navigate green issues ourselves, and also help others along the way by sharing our journey) face is that so little that is green can be viewed simply in black and white. But all too often that is what we are served up, and called upon to do.

Though itself erring on being an absolute, I have tended to apply a measure of my own to any and all that comes my way by way of green claim, from government initiative to eco-advertising: the enviROI. So long as it is clearly explained as such, I have no problem with making a purchase or commitment that actually makes little financial sense... if it still genuinely makes the planet a better place for my kids. And I am finding a lot of stuff that fails in this regard. The latest proposals for food miles labelling being the latest example.

Because I'm also finding a lot of information that is clouding our abilities to make such fair judgements.

I note Andy Bond of ASDA is soon facing the WI. That should be interesting. I saw one of his subordinates face a formidable lady from that estimable organisation a wee while ago, and frankly neither came out of the encounter very well as far as I was concerned:

But at least there is now dialogue, and that can only be a good thing so long as it is not used as a delaying tactic instead of action. And with luck both sides will be better briefed and hence engage in more useful debate.

The odd thing to me is how, despite all the evidence to the contrary, so many in marketing still seem to have a mindset that the environment is a problem to be 'dealt with' rather than an opportunity to be embraced... with genuine intent... with win-wins all round. And there are plenty of ways that brands (and the planet) can benefit from going green.

You just need to look a little bit into the (green) left fields to find them out there. And if you are interested I'd be happy to point some out to you.

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