Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘greenwashing

What You Say Is True Only in the Very Narrow Sense That There’s No Such Thing as a Truffula Tree

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Written by gerrycanavan

February 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm

What Is Jared Diamond Smoking?

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As part of my board work, I have been asked to assess the environments in oil fields, and have had frank discussions with oil company employees at all levels. I’ve also worked with executives of mining, retail, logging and financial services companies. I’ve discovered that while some businesses are indeed as destructive as many suspect, others are among the world’s strongest positive forces for environmental sustainability. His key examples—no joke—are Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, and Chevron.

Truly, only the super-rich can save us now.

Greenwashing and the Market

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Upon seeing the top 15 “green brands”, my first response was “There’s no such thing as a green brand.” But that’s not true—there really are companies with superior products and decent practices, it’s just that consumers have no ready access to reliable information about them. And the high social importance of ecology in recent years has actually made matters worse, not better, with the greenwashing that is increasingly common across all industries only further muddying the waters.

Apple, for instance, and despite its many other virtues, may be greener than it used to be but it’s still not especially green. But it feels green, so it makes the list.

This is a failure of the culture, and really a failure of our government—in both cases by design. Simple labels work; they worked in Britain for nutrition, and they could work here, not only with regard to health but along any number of ecological and social-justice vectors as well.

It may be that consumers would still make bad choices even if they were well-informed, but the evidence from Britain suggests otherwise. I think you’d see a significant shift in consumption practices almost immediately.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 6, 2008 at 12:07 am