Before environmentalists of all levels attempt to resist the rush to pound some global warming sense into me, the key word in this sentence is RUSH. As seemingly every company from Johnson & Johnson to Wal Mart wraps themselves in green, one needs to consider not only consumers’ concern for the environment but also their disdain for the fake — The Daily Show and Colbert Report being glaring omissions, of course. Claiming green stature is like painting a bulls-eye on your back — the media and consumers will be waiting to locate the carbon emissions that you’re hiding and that memo that never made it into the recycling bin.
So, is the answer to turn our collective backs on the environmental movement? Certainly not. The key is to make these changes gradually and communicate your firm’s movement in this direction, your commitment to improving — and the acknowledgment that you’ll stumble and learn from it along the way. Place authenticity before perfection as the public and the media have become weary of unsubstantiated green — and other — claims.
For a great read on the growing importance of authenticity and the wink-wink authenticity of fake-real (think Verizon’s hilarious 30 Rock product placement which culminates in Tiny Fey rambling about the virtues of Verizon phones and then looking directly into the camera and asking: “Can we have our money now?”), pick up Authenticity by legendary business consultants James Gilmore and Joseph Pine II.
Happy Earth Day