Six of the Best: The Battles for Earth edition ~ Brand Mix

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Six of the Best: The Battles for Earth edition

Photo: Earth by Satoru Kikuchi on Flickr

It was Earth Day on Thursday. Let's celebrate:

1) Top Green Brands Shine On Earth Day: Branding Strategy Insider
It's the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and, year by year, environmental issues have seeped into our consciousness. Brands have responded adding "fuel-efficient," "organic,""energy-efficient," "natural," "green," and "sustainable" to their marketing lexicons but, as Robert Passikoff points out in this post: "Consumers are on to all that. They want brands to walk-the-talk, and "green" has become the cost-of-entry in many categories, making larger and larger contributions to brand engagement and loyalty." Which brands are doing the best? The top-25 Green Brands from this year's Brand Keys Loyalty Engagement Index includes: AMEX, BP, HP and, Microsoft.

2) What does Business Owe the World? HBR
HBR has launched a new debate about the extent to which companies should be held accountable for the "externalities," an economics concept referring to the fact that business activity can lead to negative effects on others. (Pollution is the classic example of an externality.) Chris Meyer & Julia Kirby kicked off the debate by making the case that companies should be held responsible for their externalities. They want companies to take ownership of the impact that they have on the environment and behave more responsibly.

3) Embracing Externalities Is the Road to Hell: Michael Schrage
Next up in the HBR debate was Michael Schrage who jumped in with a fiery critique of the idea of applying the concept of externalities to business. He points out that, once you start going down this externality path, it's difficult to know where to stop. Should successful entrepreneurs be compensating those they put out of business, for example? Schrage thinks that the world would be a poorer, less innovative and more litigious place if we embrace this type of thinking.

You can track the ongoing debate (which already includes a rebuttal to Michael Schrage's post) here.

4) Carbon Footprint Calculator: What's My Carbon Footprint? The Nature Conservancy
So, how much damage are you doing to the earth yourself? The Nature Conservancy can tell you with its carbon footprint calculator. I took the test and found out that I'm doing about half the damage of the average American but twice as much as the average citizen of the world. Hey, that's not fair. Some of those people don't even own cars.

5) Danish eco-hotel offers pedalpower free meal: BBC

The BBC reports that The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Copenhagen is offering free meals to guests who produce electricity as they pedal on an exercise bike attached to a generator. You don't get the meal until you've generated 10 watt hours of electricity (about 15 minutes of cycling). The idea is to get people fit and reduce their carbon footprint. (And to get green-credential-building press, I'm sure.) I wonder what 10 watt hours of electricity is actually worth? If I'm reading this post correctly, it's about 0.015 cents. That's not even worth the head of one of those horrid pickled herrings they eat in Denmark.

6) Organic Batter Blaster

Greatest breakfast invention ever or sign of the imminent downfall of our nation? I found this photograph on Twitter from @ianfitzpatrick. His opinion: "Organic aerosol pancake batter spray. Really? Are we this cognitively bankrupt?" On the other hand, the can is recyclable, its new packaging is BPA-free, there's no mess and, apparently, the pancakes don't taste that bad. It's on sale at Whole Foods so it has given its seal of endorsement. Organic and convenient vs. nasty pancake emissions? A new battle starts as the war continues.

That's it! Back soon with more stories from the world of brand strategy. More thoughts and comments also available on Twitter (@martinjbishop).

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