How To Make Your Business Seem Green (Without Really Trying)

So guys, listen. It turns out that a lot of people are really worried about this whole “environment” thing. Turns out there are all sorts of animals and plants and people who live there, and you guys have been doing an awful lot of stuff that sort of… kills it.

Yes, yes, I know! From a P.R. standpoint this is pretty disastrous.  Now the way I see it, we in the business community have two options.

The first involves a major overhaul of the entire way we work. This means making a dramatic shift over to renewable energy sources and sustainable practices, drastically reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and seriously analysing the impact our work has on the world around is. It will be extremely costly and a lot of hard work, but the pay off would be we might actually save the planet, which again, from P.R. standpoint would be huge.

On the other hand, we could half-arse it. What do you think?

Yeah, I thought you’d pick the second option too.

Colour Things In Green

Olof S, on Flickr”>Landscape - Green  View, Halla

Okay, so I’ve done some reading, and apparently things are good for the environment are known as “Green”. Therefore, if we colour in our logos, publicity material and packaging green that will tell people we’re good for the environment, right?

Back in 2009 General Motors tried this and got a whole bunch of articles published about how environmentally friendly they were going to be. They described it as “an effort to show consumers that [GM] is leaner, greener, more focused on fuel efficiency and better able to make quick decisions.”

To be honest, when our marketing guys thought of this, they pretty much all high-fived and chest bumped each other, then quit for lunch where they had all of the cocaine.

Use The Right Pictures And Words

After they got back from lunch, however, they figured it might take more than simply colouring in all our stuff a different colour to make us look good. For instance, the Incredible Hulk is green, but our sources tell us that he’s actually really bad for the environment, or at least the part of it he happens to be standing in. Godzilla, we hear, is also green, and likewise that isn’t really something we want associated with our brand.

So to guide our customers’ opinions a little more precisely we’re going to be using carefully selected images and words to make sure they get the right idea about us. Our research showed that people find pictures of leaves, pandas, birds, sea life, clear blue skies and babies who are strange unperturbed about being abandoned in the wilderness are all images they associate with environmentally friendly things. Likewise, we use words “natural” which don’t actually mean anything, but sound good, while by putting say, 20% recycled material into our packaging, we can get that little triangle symbol that says we’re good to the planet.

Theme Weeks

Remember how every Friday with give all the employees a free sandwich to drawer attention away from their quite frankly appalling salaries and working conditions? Turns out your can do the same thing with Planet Earth!

We’ll get the marketing boys to come up with a name for it like Globe Week or Eco Day or something.  Then, during that pre-agreed time period we’ll stick up loads of green coloured stuff and pictures of the Earth from space and so on. Maybe we could scatter some more recycle bins around the offices and stick up signs telling people to turn the lights off when they leave a room. This bit is particularly clever, because we’re basically telling everyone else to be more environmentally responsible, while simultaneously taking credit for it

NBC pulled this trick once a year with their annual “Green Week”. “Green Week” is basically a week once a year when they tell all their TV shows to do an episode with a “green” emphasis. This is good because it “raises awareness”. Again, by “raising awareness” we get to take a tonne of credit without actually, y’know, doing anything. The best part? Their sponsor was General Motors. Seriously, we’ve a lot to learn from those guys.

Chris Farnell is a freelance writer who covers renewable energy jobs, environmental and business issues. He’s 100% natural and organic.

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