Lovely weather we’re having…
It’s November 9th today and I had my lunch sitting on a park bench in gloriously warm sunshine. Global warming, eh? And everyone’s going on about how they want us to stop it; about how we all should be aiming for carbon neutrality to save the planet.
This week’s PRWeek highlights the story…and some of the inherent contradictions. Danny Rogers, in his opinion piece, points out how the PR industry is jumping on the green bandwagon faster than it has jumped on any previously passing one – and it’s never been shy to adopt a fad. Agencies going carbon neutral, others establishing ‘green’ practice groups (I’m sure that forcing employees to wear sandals and grow beards isn’t allowed)…even if some think as an industry that we talk more than we walk.
Before the industry settled on the hype of green, the forerunning fashion was, of course, Corporate Social Responsibility, whereby normally pathological organisations did nice things so that everyone liked them (or at the very least, ignored the nasty stuff they were doing somewhere else). “Yes, I realise that they’re driving indigenous populations from their traditional homelands in the Amazonian basin, but at least they’ve planted some new trees down the rec…”
But, as PRWeek also points out, while in principle we’d like organisations to be doing more CSR-type goody goodiness, we don’t really care one way or the other (only 10% of respondents to a Vodafone survey said they were “very interested” in hearing about a firms CSR efforts).
Think about the last expensive item you bought…iPod, TV, handbag, tube ticket. You saw it, you wanted it, you bought it. At which stage did you check out the producer’s environmental credentials? Were they carbon neutral? What were working conditions in the factory like? Did you check it? Did you bollocks.
I think it was Lord Browne of BP that once said something along the lines of: “I’m more than happy for us to undertake CSR activities, along as it makes people buy more petrol from us.” Well, it looks like it doesn’t, so how long before CSR and related green initiatives are sunk like a disused oil rig?