Thursday, February 19, 2009


Yesterday I wrote about the A.T. Kearney report that discussed their findings that the market rewarded “companies who show a ‘true’ commitment to sustainability.”  What is a ‘true’ commitment to sustainability and what does that look like?

Let me start with a true story about a ‘fake’ commitment. 

I was recently introduced to an executive for a ‘green’ online website.   I was excited to meet her based on her business card and initial ‘image’.  I visited their website before our meeting and could immediately smell a fake.

Visiting their website I could instantly tell they didn’t get it.  While it was an aesthetically pleasing site with the appearance of some good branding, it was clear they didn’t get sustainability and I predicted failure.

  •  They were promoting consumerism
  •  Their online articles were fluff
  •  There was no information about who they were, where they were located or an easy way to contact them
  •  There was nothing about their story
  • Nothing about their commitments or goals to social justice or sustainability
  •  There was nothing there to make me care

I met with the executive and shared my thoughts in a polite manner.  I sent her a mini report after our meeting and here is part of her email response:   

“I Know, I know, we aren't transparent and all the other stuff you mentioned...but in this economy it is all about making money.”
I stand by my prediction.

While a company like this may temporarily grow, it won't be sustained as savvy consumers really figure out the motivations, and how sustainable is that?  A failing company takes lots of people down with it including vendors, employees and investors.

More to come tomorrow.

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