Friday, July 17, 2009

Executive Unawareness of Environmental Impacts

Most companies hire consultants to do their environmental programs for them. On the other hand they hire ad agencies or PR companies to promote publicity campaigns, while executives are just willing to pay as long as the proposal looks good on paper and does not affect the traditional bottomline.

In emerging economies, the choices for environmental consultants or PR agencies are still quite limited and more often than not, we rarely encounter agencies who are specialized for green campaigns since the market is very limited. Such contractors work mutually exclusive from each other.

In the west, to ensure truth in green advertising, the use of life-cycle assessment for environmental claims is undertaken ( The use of such environmental impact assessment methodologies have not yet taken off in the developing world since it is too costly and few experts know about the significance of such methodology in the EIA process. People still think that the process is heavily technical but product LCA can easily be done by following the simplified framework of of ISO 14040, however it takes time. A couple of years ago, I did some research on the use of ISO 14040 in application to the specifications and guidelines of ISO14001 with the proper guidelines and safeguards, any layman who is familiar with their jobs and products can do it, but it will take some time and a lot references on data of the actual environmental impacts. I'll try to make a simplified outline and post it next time.

Oftentimes, we work for frustrated executives whose time lines are not in line with achieving sustainable development. They always want the quick fix solution, like the picture I posted above, they see compliance problems as if they are mere cracks on the wall that just needs a little dab of putty and paint and anyway so far no company has totally closed business due to non-compliance with environmental standards. Anyway, national and local regulatory agencies greenwash themselves, right?