Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Greenglossing, or Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width

For a report to be published in the next few days I have been looking at the environmental credentials of major software and IT services companies and making some comparisons. It's an interesting processes. Most companies have recognised the need to be Green but only six months ago there were a few who were still prepared to stand up and say that global warming was not relevant to them. In fact one major software company still does, or maybe it's just the web site, which reads "As a developer of computer software, XXXX does not produce harmful waste or by-products in the course of doing business".

When you make the comparisons it's clear that there are a few companies that have been environmentally conscious for a number of years and have been taking action over a long period. The gap will close rapidly, but in the short term these are clear Green market leaders.

In the chasing group are those companies that have been less pro-active but have seen the light, are galvanising their organisations and aligning themselves with opportunities.

The third group of companies represents various shades of Green. Generally only reactive to market pressures (often that's the strategy) they nevertheless are keen to point out their own internal Green credentials and are very sensitive to challenges. You sometimes get the impression that the policy is being passed down from on high and there is some scepticism lower down. It's this group that has tended to come up with some of the stranger 'Green' claims that I've encountered, including having large windows to allow use of natural light (now there's an idea!) and using native plants for landscaping (because they need less water and fewer pesticides). The most intriguing one was 'test of waterless urinals in men's toilets' - I'd love to know how that works.

Let me quickly say that I'm sure these are all highly commendable actions and may have particular relevance in local situations, but on a global scale (and these are global companies) they look like a distracting level of Greenglossing.

© The Green IT Review

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