The Guardian reports Last week, in a bid to get a big green tick, Coca-Cola unveiled an advert campaign urging recycling. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/sep/21/green-marketing-lucy-barrett
Call me cynical, but:
* Are these corporations merely jumping on the ‘environmental/sustainability’ bandwagon, so customers will continue to buy/buy more of their goods and services?
* Reports suggest that we cannot cope with the waste we produce
* With others saying it is working ‘Waste not: recession leads to big drop in amount of rubbish we are throwing away’ http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/waste-not-recession-leads-to-big-drop-in-amount-of-rubbish-we-are-throwing-away-1682289.html
* Putting things into recycling is one thing, but unless these recycled items can then actually be ‘re-used’ , recycling would become a process without an end – or purpose.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for recycling and education thereof. But why not take a leaf out of the African book and follow countries like Kenya have goods – including Coke if you must buy it – in re-sellable ‘glass bottles’!
These giant corporations might respond by saying that they acknowledge waste is a huge problem and ”at least they are trying’.
But is it all lip service?
Some links (see also Resources):
http://www.wasteconnect.co.uk/ recyclin database
The Story: Coca-Cola’s green marketing falls flat
The soft drink giant’s move shows that sustainability is back on the marketing and advertising agenda, and there are two key events coming up that will propel the issue to the fore – the UN climate change conference in December, where a new worldwide treaty on global warming will be set out; and the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), the British government’s mandatory CO2 emissions trading scheme, which comes into force next April.
Many brands will be forced to take significant steps to reducing carbon emissions; and to do so, companies will have to remove some choices from their customers such as plastic bags, packaging, posted statements etc. So they will have to find ways to explain why. Brands that get their messages right, using language that keeps customers on board, stand to win.
But it’s not easy to sound sincere when you haven’t bothered in the past. Take car companies: they will now have to tell us not just to use their product less, but also to drive slower. The same applies to many utility companies, which love telling us they are greener than their competitors but have yet to prove their sincerity. But while there are quite a few cases of advertising as green washing, some brands are doing meaningful things. The best example is Marks & Spencer’s Plan A. It has been supported robustly throughout the recession, making it more credible to the public. It is an initiative driven from the top – by M&S’s chairman Stuart Rose.
This brings us back to Coke’s Keep It Going – Recycle, which I think belongs in the insincere category. The company has clearly not thrown money at this campaign and it shows. The ad resembles something my local council could have knocked up. Coke should be leading the way, finding a creative way to encourage consumers to cut their carbon footprints, not just paying lip service.