Eco-Self Deception

Massive McMuffinThis is the Massive McMuffin – bacon and sausage, egg, cheese … the works. Start the day off with one of these and you’re better than halfway to your daily fat intake before you even get out of the starting gate in the morning. You have to go to New Zealand to get one. Imagine someone who eats these every day, but brags ad nauseum about their healthy lifestyle because they wash it down with a Diet Coke, rather than the fully sugar-loaded version.

How you would react to those boasts is about the same way we should all react to the ludicrous claims to environmental improvement from the likes of H&M and Walmart.

 

The environmental impact of a company is most accurately measured by the length of its supply chain.

H&M manufacturers in some of the least environmentally regulated places on the planet and Walmart buyers probably have to get within a quarter mile of their supplier factories to even see them through the smoke and pollution in some of the places they buy (and pretend that avoiding the cost of environmental regulations is not part of their reason for being in the sort of places Dante waxed eloquently of). Entire steel mills are apt to be dedicated to cranking out the containers and container ships needed to keep these guys going. Those ships meet up with entire fleets of trucks and trains pulled by locomotives with massive diesel engines in the LA basin where on most mornings one can stand on a neighboring mountain top and see … nothing. It is impossible to calculate the resources and energy it took to build their warehouses, and Walmart’s stores. Fleets of trucks connect those resource wasting distribution centers with resource wasting stores.

But …. H&M has made “Conscious Commitments” to things like using organic cotton and using less water per yard of denim than anyone else. Walmart says that, “Environmental sustainability has become an essential ingredient to doing business responsibly and successfully”. They even have a ‘Green Room’ where you can chat with them about their carbon footprint. Right. And I am qualified to lecture on health because I did even better than Diet Coke – I washed that massive McMuffin in the photo down with orange juice.

Real Eco-friendliness comes from the likes of West Paw Design – an pet products manufacturer that not only manufactures in the USA with recycled material, but sells on line without all of the containers, DC’s and brick and mortar waste.

Environmental commitment means regional sourcing, and selling only needed quantities through channels with the fewest non-value adding steps. If a company opts for long inbound supply chains, resulting in massive consumption of fossil fuels and warehouses full of racks and forklifts, that is their prerogative, of course, but they shouldn’t kid themselves and the rest of the world by patting themselves on the back for their environmental concern because they recycle their pallets.

Put another way - putting solar panels on a distribution center is nothing more than putting perfume on a pig.

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