Monday, June 04, 2007

Faux "Corporate Responsibility": Managing the Message

From the annals of one of the universe's most obvious and obnoxious oxymorons: Corporate Responsibility (Website: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Georgia), May 13, 2007)

In public relations, "the most striking single thing is the rapid growth in which companies are positioning or repositioning their environmentalism," said Burson-Marsteller's managing director of corporate responsibility. (Ed. Note: B-M's CEO, Mark Penn, is HRC's chief campaign strategist. One must wonder if that's indicative of her 'credibility' on climate-change issues?)

Manning Selvage & Lee's managing director said that helping "establish a company's credibility" on environmental issues is "a pretty powerful message." (Particularly, one suspects, if one can do it without actually changing any of one's bidness practices and, not incidentally, without costing oneself any real money.)

That's why Waste Management has its "Think Green" campaign, General Electric has "Ecomagination," Wal-Mart and Home Depot are installing efficient light bulbs in stores, and Delta Air Lines "pledges to soon plant trees on behalf of any passenger willing to pay extra."'s founder called Delta's campaign "greenwashing," adding, "Conservation is a lot more than replanting trees."

Environmentalists criticize Georgia Power's campaign to allow customers "to pay a premium ... to purchase energy made from renewable sources." The director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy pointed out that Georgia Power and its parent company, Southern Co., "are extremely aggressive in opposing any sort of regulatory action in protecting the environment."
Speaking of "greenwashing": San Francisco Bay Guardian, May 29, 2007

Professional Greenpeace turncoat Patrick Moore is going around with a slide show that "isn't as slick as Al Gore's," writes Amanda Witherell, promoting nuclear power as a safe, clean, reliable and emissions-free solution to global warming. Witherell discusses the role that the Nuclear Energy Institute and PR firm Hill and Knowlton have played in creating Moore's "Clean and Safe Energy Coalition" and takes a critical look at some of the factoids in his presentation, such as his claim that nuclear power plants could withstand a direct hit from a jetliner without breaching radioactive contamination.

Please consider putting /the Center for Media and Democracy in your list of frequently consulted resources.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While I'm glad to see an uptick in businesses that offer to offset our existences by planting trees, it's just too much to expect that there won't be immense fraud involved. It was great good fortune that I happened on a house built before air conditioning, overhung by huge shade trees and situated at a breezy sheltered place. Next on agenda; solar panels. We all need to take personal responsibility.

(And like Woody, at this time of year I do my cooking outside on the barbecue. )

from Ruth