These days, the world seems to be circling around everything that’s “Green”. Pro-Environmentalism is “cool”, be it with Hollywood actors or world politicians. Just take a look at Germany – the world’s largest political party advocating environmental causes, the Green Party recently scored its most remarkable win in a state election over the democrats who have been holding on to power for almost 60 years.
This it seems is not enough for environmentalists around the world. It seems that environmentalists around the world have tried hard to designate at least a day every month as an “environment day”. Just to name a few: there’s Earth Day (April 22), Earth Hour (last Saturday of March), World Environment Day (June 5), etc. Not that such commemorative days aren’t good, but surely environmentalists understand the meaning of “economies of scale”? By pushing for relatively similar messages through such campaigns seems like a waste of resources that could have been better spent. In fact, I did a search on the difference between Earth Day and World Environment Day (WED), found out that the main difference between both campaigns is simply the initiator. While WED is backed by the United Nations and has been around since 1972, the Earth Day kicked off in 1969 from the United States. Other than that, both campaigns share relatively the same objectives.
As an environmentalist myself, I am totally against replicating similar movements. Not only is it a waste of resources, it dilutes the message as the impact of each message starts to dwindle. However, this isn’t what made me so pissed today. Lately, I developed a habit of collecting environmental related articles from newspapers for my scrap book, and while I was looking through the pages of a certain tabloid, an advertisement caught my eye. The advertisement by French hypermarket chain, Carrefour, was promoting “Go Green with Carrefour” on World Environment Day 2011. The event supported by local environmental big wigs, the National Environment Agency and Singapore Environmental Council promoted the use of reusable bags, rechargeable batteries and LED table lamps.
As perfect as the advertisement tries to be, it was a major disappointment in my opinion. Besides the promotion for the rechargeable batteries and LED table lamps, Carrefour also advertised the sale of 2 other products: Russet Potatoes from the USA, Danone Mineral Water. Ironically for the promotion that aims to bring environmental awareness to our shoppers, Carrefour didn’t seem to realize that promoting bottled drinks ain’t helping the environment at all. Furthermore, I wonder how environmentally conscious one can be if he/she chooses to eat potatoes that traveled half way around the world. Not only does this look bad on Carrefour, it also undermined the support given by the NEA and SEC.
I’m not sure whether I’m the only one who found these inappropriate, but I certainly do hope that Carrefour will review it’s policy on such marketing efforts. As for the organizations which play a supportive role of such events, the time has probably come for more stringent checks on whether partners have tried to unfairly profit from each campaign, and possibly lead them towards the right direction. It is one to lend a good name in support of a good cause, but to allow a good “non-profit” name to be tarnished by profiteering intentions is simply not worth it.