Greenwash Watch: Carbon-Neutral Olympic Torch


Apparently, the 2012 Olympic flame is going to carbon neutral. Does that strike anyone else as bonkers? The 2012 Olympics is going to be a huge, polluting event, with thousands of people flying all over the world to attend and compete. Making a carbon neutral flame seems, to me, like a drop in the ocean.
I think that what it shows is how important public perception is, and how it's vital that any event now is seen to be doing the right thing for the environment.

Now, that's not a bad thing. What is a bad thing, though, is that a huge polluting event can be given the image of environmental awareness, and generic 'green' status, simply by making such a small gesture.

Of course, choosing the flame is perfect; it’s an iconic image, guaranteed to grab headlines.

Now, at this point many of you are probably thinking back to previous posts where we have mentioned what else the Olympic committee are doing to clean up the event. A large effort has been made, I’m sure, but my point is that all that is needed to appear green is clever PR.

An oil company can change it’s logo to green, and that works. A huge factory can install a few solar panels, and that works, too. People will write articles about it, and many more people will read them. We at TH are as guilty of this as anyone, but I like to think that we can offer a bit more insight into what is actually going on. Not cynicism, but a little realism.

I don't mean to be down on the Olympics - I don't mean to imply that the event is in any way negative, because I am truly looking forward to it. I also don't mean to imply that it's any more or less polluting than any other event; indeed, I think that the committee are making a good effort on that front. This story simply struck me as a clever marketing technique, and a good way to illustrate how 'green washing' can colour our opinion. ::The Telegraph ::Picture Source

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