With the much needed increase in media exposure and discussion of green issues, a new problem has come to light. That of “green fatigue”. By that I mean are people getting tired of hearing the green message? Whilst it’s easy and quick to make small changes to your lifestyle and help the environment, is the constant stream of green messages reducing their effect?
Which environmental issues are the important ones? Who is telling the truth? What do their claims actually mean? What is “green”?
Green encompasses everything from turning lights off to recycling and reducing your carbon footprint. What is a high level of being green and what a low? Which companies are independent and which are not? How do you know that planting a tree in Africa is actually a good thing? How do you know what a business claims are its green credentials are actually true and/or worthwhile?
It’s a very difficult balance to get right and there is currently no easy answer to any of these questions. Retailers are spending millions promoting their green credentials (Marks & Spencer in the UK are reportedly investing £200m to become a “greener business”), but is it a genuine effort to become green, or a marketing ploy to attract savvy consumers such as yourself? Can profit and shareholder driven companies actually be beneficial to the planet? Or at the least, less harmful?
With all the talk about green energy, carbon footprint labels, even green stocks and shares and green washing powder it’s easy to be confused or miss the point. For example, due to strict EU laws, most washing detergents in the EU aren’t (too) bad for the environment and much better than they used to be. Turning your machine down to 30 degrees celcius will have a much bigger impact than changing your washing powder. It’s all about direction and magnitude. Not all of our 100 ways to save the planet have equal effort or equal reward, but small efforts moving in the right direction will lead to bigger rewards.
The almost constant promotion of a company’s green credentials are not equal. Carbon offsetting (I have my own issues with that – to be discussed later!) is not the same as reducing energy consumption. Just because a company laudes the fact it now has 100 electric or hybrid vehicles doesn’t mean it has sound environmental policies in other areas. What is its position on recycling? What steps is it taking to not use energy at all (reduce) and reuse?
“Green fatigue” may affect some of us, but I actually view this as a good thing. I look forward to the day when you can’t move for green messages, where every company is doing all it can to reduce its impact on the environment, and who cares how much they shout about it? If people like YOU keep supporting companies that do respect and support the place in which they live, then maybe one day we will get there.
Do you agree or disagree? Please let us know by leaving a comment below. If you’d prefer you can contact us privately.