Seeing Green

American Public Media’s Marketplace (a program heard on NPR stations nationwide) has formed a ‘Greenwash Brigade’ and a list of the most notable environmental distortions of the year just ended.  Nothing terribly shocking on the list: Fiji water claims that ‘every drop is green‘ but uses bottles that don’t recycle well and ships them thousands of miles in freighters.  Etc.

I have to wonder…  how many hardcore Fiji loyalists are aware of their bottled water brand’s sins?  And how many care?  (Hint: I’m expecting something akin to the response to Seattle’s mandate that chain restaurants disclose calorie counts on menus…  a shrug at best).

Meta-brand green faces an endlessly uphill battle in the ownership market for values of clean, fresh, healthy, and hip.  The sad truth: as long as a genuinely green option can’t or won’t emerge to legitmately compete with a greenwashed imposter, the latter’s loyalists will remain happily content with what they want to believe.  That, after all, is what brands are all about.

1 Response to “Seeing Green”

  1. 1 Eric Roth January 16, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Perhaps. The Greenwashing series actually addresses, as I understand it, two different problems. The first is the deliberate “greenwashing” of a product by exaggerating its environmental virtues or deliberate deception.

    The second, and far more common, category includes misguided attempts to create better, cleaner products. Idealists and environmentalists have often overlooked the obvious requirements for products while pursuing a greener, better version. And sometimes their efforts improve one part of the product lifecycle and cause unintended consequences.

    Sometimes the effort to recreate products to be more environmentally conscious fails, but it often succeeds. Sometimes consumers flock to the brand, and sometimes few customers even notice the hidden efforts to engineers to redesign a product.

    The Marketplace series, however, will both reflect and create greater interest in making sure that green products are really green. It shames companies and products in the first category and helps prevent new “good mistakes” in the second category.

    Or so it seems to me.

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thoughts at the collision of business, brand and creativity

I'm Ryan Cunningham. I help companies and culture play nice with each other. At CREATURE we call this Brand Strategy, a term that carries a nice halo of reliability and structure. Here, I'm just another guy who thinks about the world and writes it down from time to time.

The result is a pile of knowledge to be used in, and for, the future. Feel free to sift through the heap for useful connections.

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