CBS and EcoZone Launch Green Schools Initiative - and the Future of Green Advertising?

Image courtesy of Teacher Magazine

The CBS and Ecozone Green Schools Initiative launched last Wednesday, October 1st in Miami. The initiative features a "Green My School Contest" in which the grand prize is a $250,000 green makeover for the winning school. The money will supply the school with products and services to aid in an environmentally minded overhaul, as conducted by a professional "green schools coach." Teachers, students, administrators can enter the contest by filling out an application to the Green My School website. Among other things, they'll have to consider what being green means, and provide a written answer.

Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, apparently plenty busy with green initiatives lately, was in attendance to call for submissions from Miami schools. And though Miami is the first city to host the initiative, there are plans for the contest to expand to cities across the country. San Francisco's program is now underway, too. And if it seems like there's an awful lot of corporate interest involved in a Green School contest, there is—and that's not a bad thing. Here's why.
Any Green Press is Good Press
The initiative is a result of a partnership between CBS and Eco Media, and the thrust of the campaign is, intriguingly enough (or maybe not surprising at all)—green advertising. Before you write off the whole event as greenwashing, consider how mutually beneficial this model of advertising can be. The companies offering sponsorship get good publicity, the schools reap green benefits (exactly what the 'green makeover' entails is thus far unclear), and the premium of advertising green initiatives is raised.

According to Marketwatch, the CEO and founder of EcoMedia, Paul Polizzotto has this to say on the matter:

"Together with our partner CBS, we've created a new model for advertising. By providing funding for environmental projects and technologies through the sale of advertising, our media can be procured and sourced like any other sustainable product. Now, in addition to energy saving light bulbs and recycled paper, the simple everyday purchase of advertising can be part of a corporation's ongoing sustainability initiatives."

He raises a good point—the companies are promoting an environmentally oriented cause and elevating their brands in tandem. Hopefully the contest will create enough visibility for the model to prove successful. If you live in Miami or San Francisco, help your school and the future of green advertising by entering the Green My School Contest.

More on Green Schools:
Grading Green Schools: The College Sustainability Report Card 2009
Green School Fundraising With Carbon Offsets

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