Is Green Business Suffering from Death By Powerpoint?

Microsoft Powerpoint/Screen capture

Whether arguing that green fatigue should be an opportunity to move forward, or suggesting the one thing that every brand should do to build a better world, one of my themes for the year has been that the environmental movement, is general, could do a whole lot better at communication.

So I was amused to see that Trewin Restorick, CEO of Global Action Plan, has created his own "heroes" and "villains" list for 2011, having sat through one too many sustainable business conference. High on his list of pet peeves, it seems, is a phenomenon he refers to as Death by PowerPoint:

Runner up for this award is the perennial favourite PowerPoint. Death by PowerPoint comes in many forms, but the worst is when companies can't stop telling you how brilliant they are. Listening along, you would think that either the sustainability challenge has been entirely resolved, or they are endorsing of Vic Reeves' assertion that 78.85 per cent of statistics are made up.

To be fair, Restorick is not exactly ragging on PowerPoint itself, but rather the fact that many people mistake fancy software and spinning slide graphics as somehow providing a replacement for forethought and a genuine effort to communicate well. To paraphrase the gun lobby, PowerPoint doesn't bore people - people bore people.

As someone who hopes to never sit through another presentation on "The Business Case for Sustainability" again, I am profoundly grateful to Restorick for calling bullshit when he sees it. As my friend and colleague Jerry Stifelman argued a few years back, originality matters in the fight for sustainability.

So if you're going to be giving a talk in 2012, be sure to actually make the effort to say something. Whatever software you use to say it.

Tags: Activism | Corporate Responsibility | United Kingdom