Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Allow me to go off topic for a while.
I'm all for the Green movement, particularly when it comes to things such as reducing dependency on oil (moreso because I hate that we, as Americans, basically hand money to enemy nations by buying oil). However, I have realized over time that much of what passes for "Green," is really just a wolf in sheeps clothing.
Peruse these three real world examples of Green activities by corporations. All are good for the environment, if we are to believe everything put forth by the individual companies/industries. However, there is something else at work that is probably the real reason why these entities would go Green:
Example #1 - Been in a hotel lately? If so, you may notice a sign in the bathroom about linens. Many hotels have decided to Go Green by only washing linens every other day, unless the customer wishes otherwise. This saves the environment by reducing the harmful chemicals used during the cleaning process and reducing water waste and electricity use. All of these things are probably good for the environment, if not so good for your stinky sheets.
Example #2- Ever drink Poland Spring water? If so, you may have noticed the new contoured bottle designed to hold the same liquid using 30% less plastic. I have no idea how this modern marvel came to exist, and I'm sure it bends the laws of physics in some uncomprehendable way. Regardless, the effect is very Green, reducing the amount of natural resources used to make a bottle and in turn reducing the amount of waste/garbage when the drink is drunk.
Example #3- Ever order dinner from SeamlessWeb, a website that amalgamates restaurants to allow you to order delivery from a variety of restaurants in your area, all on one site? If so, you may have seen that some restaurants offer an eco-friendly option where the restuarant does not provide any forks, spoons, knives, napkins, etc. After all, you are getting food delivered to your home, so you are probably going to use your home silverware and discard the store-provided utensils. By allowing you to waive the utensils, the restaurants are decreasing the amount of waste/garbage, while also decreasing the production of plastic utensils, which in turn reduces the use of natural resources and electricity.
Great! What wonderful companies! They obviously love the environment. After all, what company does not love the environment over profits...
The answer is MOST. Most companies do not love the environment more than they love profits. The reality of the situation is that these Green initiatives are really just cost-cutting maneuvers designed to appear like a Green campaign by an altruistic company. Make no mistake, I am sure the altruistic nature of these changes are a big bonus to the companies and are considered when the decisions are made. However, these companies are actually saving money hand-over-fist, all by Going Green. How?
Example #1- The hotels pay for electricity, detergent, water, and labor hours every time they do laundry. By doing laundry every other day, those costs are cut in half! HALF! That may have some benefits to the environment, but it has an even more immediate benefit to the bottom line.
Example #2- By using 30% less plastic in its bottles, Poland Spring is spending 30% less on plastic. Since plastic is recyclable, I querry if this has any significant effect on the environment. One thing I am sure of, though, is that someone got a nice juicy bonus when he/she discovered that Poland Spring could bottle their tap water using 30% less product and get bonus points for calling it Green. In the past, a design change like this would be just that, a design change made to save money and possibly make the bottle distinct for product-recognition purposes. Now, it is Green (money green, no doubt).
Example #3- Restaurants don't have to supply napkins and forks? Great! Clearly, that means less waste...but it also means less resupplying for the company. It's another direct cost-cutting maneuver. And frankly, I querry if the wasted water and detergent contaminant from having customers use their own utensils undoes any of the Green aspect of reducing waste. I don't know either way, but I do know that a company that doesn't have to supply napkins also doesn't have to buy as many napkins.
Does anyone else have any other examples?
Let me add, to cut off the snarky posts, that I don't think these companies or industries are all evil. I just noticed that the term Green is thrown around a lot, and from what I can see, many Green initiatives borne out of the corporate world are really cost-cutting initiatives that can double as "Green."
Until next time, HighOnPoker will only be available on the Internet. It saves Trees!
posted by Jordan @ 4:31 PM,
- At 6:21 PM, said...
At my company they distributed water bottles to everyone to use instead of using disposable cups at the water cooler...they said it was a green effort but what someone from facilities said was that they were floored when they saw how many thousands of dollars they had been spending on disposable cups...now it's just inconvenient for everyone because you have to remember your water bottle and make sure you bring it home occasionally for a good dish washing otherwise they get stinky.
- At 10:56 PM, SirFWALGMan said...
I hate green forks. They break.
- At 11:01 AM, StB said...
Sweet! More plastic forks, knives and bottles for me to use!
The whole "green" thing is a crock. Just another industry set up to take your money.
- At 11:32 AM, Instant Tragedy said...
It's all about cutting costs, making more money. Forget the concept of "Being Green". Green is the new ad ploy. Concentrated products were one, giving a percentage of profits to a charity is another ploy.
Whatever test marketing will show that consumers will buy the product more. Not selling enough of the product, change the formula... and then after enough outrage, bring the original back to increased sales (hello Coke).
This comment is electronic to save the environment. Please donate today to the HighonPoker Enviornmental defense fund. Go all in but 1 dollar and fold.
- At 3:15 PM, GrayCalx said...
My favorite was when CBS or whatever went "green" for a week and all their channels had green logos. A&E, Bravo, whatever... maybe this was NBC? Anyways I'm seeing that on the bottom of the screen, meanwhile they're showing halftime of some football game and the entire set behind the anchors is made of flashing lights.
- At 1:47 PM, said...
Its great that the new water bottles use less plastic, but what about the machines that make the bottles? Are the old ones just good for scrap metal? Were the new ones made with a minimum of pollution?