Monday, 8 September 2008

Green moral fig leaves

Whilst I was off on holiday the Post Office left one of those little red cards to say that they were holding a parcel for me to collect. Not remembering that I had ordered anything recently I felt a rush of excitement . Knowing that it was too big to deliver I thought I'd better take the car rather than my bike. With the one-way system and the perpetual roadworks it's a twenty minute drive to the Post Office.

When I signed for the (rather small) parcel it certainly was a surprise: A FUCKING PACK OF FOUR ENERGY SAVING LIGHT BULBS FROM THE GAS BOARD !

I don't know what the environmental impact of taking out my old bulbs and replacing them is - but I am pretty sure that driving to collect them negates any gain. Now multiply that by all the British Gas customers up and down the country.

Such is big business' approach to these issues. It's not even proper philanthropy. There's a piece of management speak for it - 'ethical capital'. Token bullshit that makes zero impact. Ill-conceived and sometimes even contradictory, the objective is nothing more than a PR win. Take Carbon Offsetting - continue to fuck up the environment but pay into a scheme (which is also a commercial business) to make good the damage, and everybody feels better.

At least hard-nosed Victorian factory owners built elegant public buildings to salve their consciences. I suspect that in relative terms, such gestures represented a bigger sacrifice than a packet of light bulbs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well how's this for incongruous - we have a company-wide Green Day coming up, then on another day one of the out-of-London offices is having a treasure hunt - `bring your car' . . . joined-up thinking . . .