PSFK Conference – Eco-shift or Greenwash

Eco-Shift or Greenwash? – Tamara Giltsoff (OZO Car)
Brands and organizations seem to be taking up the call to ‘get green’ – but how much of this is misleading posturing?
Panelists: Marc Alt (MAP), Jill Fehrenbacher (Inhabitat),

This wa a general panel on sustainability and green credentials; there were a lot of examples given in the chat.

  • Walmart is one of the leaders in transforming their business through sustainability, but do not promote it in their advertising. They are doing an incredible amount of work, but it gets hidden. But there will be a change in their positioning soon. Walmart are one of the largest buyers of organic cotton in the world.
  • Diesel clothing – have put out a statement about global warming. But are they going to follow up on the message?
  • HSBC are at the forefront of green messaging in Europe, but how relevant is it to customers? They are carbon neutral, but is this an understood position by their customers?
  • are green consumers a specific group, or is it relevant for all consumers. Just exactly is green?
  • H&M have been trying to do stuff with materials, organic cotton. But the company has a bad rep. people love to hate, so not necessarily getting recognition.
  • A company may have good intentions, but the greenness needs to be part of the whole culture; gestures are nothing but gestures, they need to commit at a deeper level.
  • Green marketing is a liability; it is too easy to bash. Marketers need to work across the organisation to make sure the message and commitment is consistent. Corporations should engage in both internal and external transparency when it comes to being green. It’s very easy to see through greewashing. You have to be sincere and commit, can;t pay lipservice.
  • BSkyB in the UK have sent out energy efficient light bulbs with every set top box, which is supposed to offset the emissions.
  • if making a commitment to sustainability, have to address the environmental, social and economical areas. do all 3 otherwise it will come back and hurt you.
  • Some businesses, such as Body Shop, are becoming like mini-NGOs, tackling multiple issues. Challenging you to do something about it.

Some good ideas and thoughts in here, but at times, i thought they needed to take a step back and explain some of the terms. Key issues – commit, be honest and transparent. Make a real difference by addressing it as a company and don’t make token gestures. However, you can say this about any ‘issue’ a compnay may wish to address, not just the green ones.

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