Monday, March 7, 2011

Genuine or Greenwashing: Fortune's Green Stars

My friend Every Day Father asked for my quick take on Fortune magazine's 8 green stars at Most Admired companies.

My problem with articles like this is that there's no yardstick for measuring results. Is it nice that McDonald's has turned three of its locations into LEED-certified green buildings? Sure, but what about the other 13,000 U.S. locations? Is Coke switching its bottles from a petroleum base towards a sugar base a net positive? Probably, but sugar has its own problems and the article makes no effort to quantify the difference. (To be clear, I'm questioning the quality of the reporting, not the quality of Coke's efforts.)

I'm more impressed with Fortune's write-up of the efforts at FedEx and Amazon, using new technology to do the same work using fewer resources and at lower costs - an obvious win-win. In Amazon's case, smaller packaging might actually improve their customer service ratings - the article mentions that The Green Miles isn't alone in his concern about Amazon's excessive packages.

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