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Sustainability Blues

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Sustainability is the most fashionable word today in corporate world, from car manufacturers to FMCG’s corporates are trying to include an element of sustainability in their products. Is this a new trend in marketing or corporates are really concerned about sustainability issues?

Recently a prominent NY environmentalist Jay Westerveld coined a term “GreenWash,” which is used to describe the practice of companies disingenuously spinning their products and policies as environmentally friendly, such as by presenting cost cuts as reductions in use of resources. This is a deceptive use of green PR or green marketing. The term has been popularly used to describe organizations that attempt to show that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment. Advertisements and media campaigns are flooded with products and practices that are environment friendly but the main question which is relevant here is that who is verifying the claims of these products.Most of the companies are spending more money on PR and advertising on being green, rather than spending resources on environmentally sound practices. This is often portrayed by changing the name or label of a product, to give the feeling of nature, for example putting an image of a forest on a bottle containing harmful chemicals. Environmentalists often use greenwashing to describe the actions of energy companies, which are traditionally the largest polluters. For Example, a petrochemical firm uses the waste from one polluting process as raw material for another hazardous process, and boasts of an important recycling initiative. Another giant multinational cuts timber from virgin rainforest, replaces it with monoculture plantations and calls the project “sustainable forest development.”

Organizations such as Terrachoice and Greenpeace are working towards exposing companies who falsely claim that their products are sustainable. I hope people should raise their moral standard and begin to think wisely. The “sustainability” is not a thing to be marketed but this is an approach which should be adopted in everyday practices. In any case, if we are environment friendly in our approaches, we will provide better future to our children.

…Neha Verma

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