Back in November, I posted on carbon offsetting as corporate confession and this is a topic that I’ve written about quite a lot. In fact, following the PR Week article that stimulated my original post, I emailed the publication with my views.
So I was pleasantly surprised last week to get a call from journalist Alex Black who was working on a piece “Is CO2 offsetting a smokescreen?” (subscription required).
The published article presents a range of views, but highlights importantly the dangers of “greenwashing” and a pay-but-carry-on-polluting attitude amongst businessess and the public. Great to see a considered viewpoint communicated to public relations practitioners.
The piece also cautions that green strategies must be integral to an organisation’s operations not just something “led by the PR department”. My view is that environmentalism should be championed by the PR department as a core value, but quite rightly the belief and behaviour needs to be part of the fabric of any organisation if it is serious about being seen to be green.
As the article concludes, at present no companies have been viewed by the public as misleading over green credentials (although Wikipedia has a list of greenwashers). But surely, ecopornography is an issue for public relations to manage now, rather than as a crisis when the mud could stick to anyone who has communicated a green message.