October 9th, 2009

All readers can probably figure out the title of this post for themselves. Picture three trash cans each with one of the above labels.

I was reading the NEW YORKER magazine recently and came across this cartoon with three trash cans standing side by side each containing one of the titles from above. This cartoon spoke volumes to me about both individual and or company commitment to a subject or process. From an environmental perspective the term Greenwash has evolved to describe a variety deceptive practices.

According to Wikipedia Greenwash is a term used to describe the practice of companies disingenuously spinning their products and policies as environmentally friendly, such as by presenting cost cuts as reductions in use of resources. It is a deceptive use of green PR or green marketing. The term green sheen has similarly been used to describe organizations that attempt to show that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment.

As I continued to reflect on this, the cartoon raised questions that all companies should ask themselves in support of their Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives or CSR. Relative to procurement, what are procurement professionals really doing to support product safety and environmental protection within their sourcing practices? And, are those practices tied to the companies overall CSR strategies. In a lot of cases when you ask this question the answers you get may be very vague such as; we follow some trade organizations initiatives or we’re SQF compliant. However when asked to discuss or demonstrate how they are adhering to these practices there is indeed very little content to support the words.

As such, I thought this simple cartoon could serve as a great reminder as we enter the weekend to look at your marketing collateral and your media campaigns relative to your CSR plan and then think about how all of your corporate sub culture would answer the same questions. This may help to answer the question; are we real or make believe? With this information you can now you can put a plan in pace to either reinforce or reeducate to support your overall CSR goals.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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