Sunday, May 27, 2007

More Cats. More bags. But is anyone listening to the chorus?


It's very short, and very tabloid. But worth reading.

Thing is, will anyone pay any attention, much less do anything about it all?

ADDENDUM - A tad more:


I rather fear that this will be dropped and disposed of like yesterday's news. But considering the amounts involved, the public does deserve accountability.

Without wanting to get party political, as Shadow Environment Minister Greg Barker says: “We are entitled to ask what we are getting in return. WRAP has done some valuable work but it is not enough. We need an organisation that is more accountable and has more teeth, rather than just having more consultants, more bureaucracy and more short-term initiatives.”

I'm afraid that if this is the best that can be offered in justification, it is simply not good enough: 'WRAP spokesman Gareth Lloyd last night claimed the quango produced value for money and had met its targets to increase recycling and cut waste going to landfill. He said the salary bill had soared to pay for extra staff to cope with the increase in WRAP’s remit since it was set up seven years ago. '

This time I simply want to know what has been the ROI as a taxpayer, and enviROI as a co-dweller on this planet. I know what they have had to spend, and getting vast sums to create empires doesn't do diddly for either, and when it comes to the comms budget they have had to drive up the rates they get bonusses for improving, I'm sorry, but as an ad man the numbers simply are pathetic.

This offers an interesting complement: Recycling's green contribution questioned
Environment Agency (EA) chief executive Barbara Young has said: “recycling does not really contribute much to tackling climate change.” The comments contradict findings of a 2006 Waste & Resources Action Programme report.

I was moved to reply:

I’m sorry, but as a very confused, and hence hard to engage member of the public (what you don’t understand, or believe, makes persuasion a lot harder. And two funded quangos knocking spots off each other is unlikely to unmuddy these waters) all I need is some simple guidance on what represents good enviROI (benefit to my kids’ future) with, preferably at the same time, a decent financial ROI as a taxpayer.

I’d have to say that, as an alternative to doing nothing, recycling seems a no-brainer. What it’s costing is a much bigger issue. So it may be legitimately asked whether a slavish devotion to meeting targets is the best way other than, as this weekend’s Sunday Express seems to have raised, generating massive financial rewards for those who benefit by spending public money to boost their bonuses. Considering the PR climate and sums committed on advertising, one would blooming well expect rates to go up, so using my money to make me work for free to drive up fat cat incentive schemes seems... quaint, at best.

It’s not a matter of the EA claim saying recycling does not help mitigate climate change – as it patently can do - but simply how much of a positive it represents as a total of our consumer behaviours. And what its relative value therefore is. Especially when it comes to huge public comms budgets. It therefore seems possible that these vast sums may not have been best directed to achieve a worthwhile envROI.

And I, for one, find questioning THAT more than helpful.

Silence is Golden... balls

We seem to be drifting into some kind of a phony war across every aspect of our lives. And I mean it is being 'fought' by phonys from left and right, politically

As I catch up on the past week's emails I have had the TV on and find myself shaking my head.

From civil liberties to the environment, a succession of folk have paraded across the screen and said... absolutely nothing, either through ignorance or choice, about some vastly important issues. Gordon Brown, our next leader, is a truly dire practitioner of this technique, to his immense discredit.

Peter Hain, the aspiring DPM, and member of the Cabinet, seems to have not been in the loop of plans for some swingeing proposals to 'help' counter terrorism. Yet he infers we should give the thumbs up as an electorate.

Ditto the chroming Gallic boss of EDF energy. While I credit Andrew Marr for asking him, I can't help but not the critique levelled recently against the BBC and its celeb interviewers that they give big business leaders an easy ride. As to what we do with all the glowing gunk his proposed nukes will leave behind long after he has retired to his sunny villa, his allowed reply was that 'we should instead focus on the big picture'. Er, no. What are these actual proposals, monsieur? A promised talking shop won't do at this stage.

All these replies are based on trust. But there simply is none, with very good reason.

If the media are incapable of marshaling and reflecting our feelings on this, I can only hope the democratic process may yet to be roused to do so. Soon.

Philips washes greener?

Philips launches green tick logo

I may be missing something by not being privy to more than is outlined in this piece, but I’m afraid it really only raises more questions in my mind.

While any commitment to the environment - by anyone - is better than nothing, I am looking at the enviROI (return on investment to the environment) of this initiative and having trouble tracing it through.

To kick off, this consumer at least has plenty of logos enough already to wade through already, most of which I already have little clue what they mean. And I am presuming this is unique to this brand, which is quaint, but essentially meaningless. I’m sure it will be accompanied by a huge campaign to tout it around, but it’s a wonder how much that will serve to influence my purchase behaviour in a competitive market (especially when other manufacturers will doubtless be designing a leaf out of their own book), versus simply ticking a box on the CSR list at AGM time.

Whilst refreshingly honest, it also seems to make the point that they have a lot that is not that eco, and one has to wonder why? So for me the claim at the end, and the effort behind it, has about as much value as the marketing speak waffle used to explain it. I’m afraid the only green I’m sensing won’t wash.