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October 18, 2007

Environmental Marketing Gone Crazy

This is a follow up to our LEED posting with an article from Environmental Leader. Apparently Sun Microsystems is of the opinion that "Double Carbon Neutral" companies are on the horizon. Companies so "dedicated" to helping the environment that not only do they completely offset their footprint, but they offset it a second time as well are not adding real value along the way. This just goes to show that many environmental programs are no longer about the environment, they are simply marketing strategies.

I'm a fan of helping the environment. I believe that every company should be working to reduce their carbon footprint and impact on the environment within the framework of their business. Sun is doing it precisely the way I believe is most appropriate: looking at their areas where they are most deficient, putting together a business case and budget for improvement and then putting the improvement into place. Humans will never be carbon neutral creatures, especially with the way technology operates today.

Being carbon neutral is a noble goal if approached for the appropriate reasons. Marketing can be a good reason for it, but we have to be careful that a distinction is made between companies in it for the marketing and companies in it for the environment. Any company that wants to could scrounge up funds to purchase enough carbon offsets to make them carbon neutral as many times over as they care to. Is that company really any better than a Sun Mircosystems that isn't carbon neutral but is working towards it organically?

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