I was thinking today about how green issues have become magic words for marketeers. On the way into work today on the tube I saw adverts for Dorothy Perkins clothes that are linked to some kind of tree-planting scheme. There was an ad for holidays in Devon with the awful tagline ‘The perfect answer to global warming – Devon chillin”. British Gas are offering a ‘green survival kit’, Marks and Spencer have their ‘Plan A, because there is no Plan B’ , there’s a green credit card and a green mobile phone, it’s definitely a huge selling point at the moment.
And, without wanting to be a naysayer, I thought I’d better offer a word of caution. All these things need to be taken with a pinch of salt. Some things just can’t be painted green. Like an oil company, or a car. Shell have a campaign at the moment to say how eco-friendly they are, a campaign labelled “shameful, absurd and misleading” by Friends of the Earth. A Lexus ad was recently pulled for implying that its new 4×4 was actually good for the environment. A lot of people, some of them actively hurting the environment, some of them benign, are playing the green card in order to increase their profits. Although some of these schemes are good (I think M+S’s Plan A is a good example) and are to be commended, some of them are exploiting people’s good intentions, and are motivated more by money than by environmental concern. That’s just the kind of greedy attitude that this site wants to stand against. Let’s not let them get away with it, and it’s easy to do – just don’t buy it!
- DEFRA’s Green claims code – a useful guide to good practice
- Friends of the earth press release on Shell‘s ‘flowery’ claims
- Picture at the top nicked from Rising Tide, angry about Shell sponsoring the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.