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Green/Sustainability

Harley Davidson: When Eco PR Just Doesn’t Fit

Electric Harley

Wouldn’t a plug-in version of this be considered a kids’ toy?

It is no secret that the world needs protection from its inhabitants. What with all the alerts about our ozone being ravaged by coal, smog, pollution, and all that hair spray they put in the Kardashians’ wigs, it’s a miracle we can even breathe.

That’s why “Green” or “Eco” (for ecology, just in case) PR is a big thing now. Appliances use less electricity; even light bulbs have gone the way of the HDTV. And yet, impressive as Tesla’s electric cars may sometimes be, they’re still up against oil lobbyists and those Koch guys.

And now, entering into the fray: Harley-Davidson!

Wait, what?!

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EPA Head Hits Reddit to Promote New Climate Initiative

reddit_logo_banner

It appears to be official: when you have a campaign to promote and would like to do a little bit of that old-fashioned engagement with the public, Reddit is the place to be. It’s not just for reputation management.

Yesterday EPA administrator Gina McCarthy hit the AMA section to answer questions about President Obama‘s new regulations on C02 emissions.

How did she do?

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Levi’s CEO’s Message About Not Washing Your Jeans Comes at a Good Time

levi'sSpeaking at Fortune‘s Brainstorm Green conference yesterday, Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh, wearing a pair of jeans (naturally) admitted that they hadn’t been washed in a year of wears.

“We are the ultimate in sustainable apparel,” he said. He also talked up a new line of Levi’s , Wellthread, that can easily be recycled and uses less energy and water to create. (They’re available in Europe and online in the US.) And there’s a line of jeans called Waterless that use less water to get a “wash” when they’re produced.

These comments come at a good time. Climate change is in the news daily. Despite the number of people out there still denying the very clear science that says, yes, this is a fact and it’s happening, addressing the issue in some way is smart. People ready to act on the global warming crisis will be happy for the opportunity to purchase products that do something to help. A sustainable message right now is a very relevant one; it’s good for business, good for the brand, and, hopefully, good for the Earth.

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Not Sure What to Do in the Dark During Earth Hour? Durex has a Suggestion

Durex #TurnOffToTurnOn - OFFICIAL - YouTube-2The lights and TV are off, the router is unplugged, and you’re stuck in the darkened house with your significant other for a whole hour…what, oh what could you possibly do to pass the time? Pick up your cell phones to check Instagram?

Think again.

Condom brand Durex, which recently announced its partnership with the green initiative Earth Hour, has a better suggestion: Use this time to “reconnect with each other whilst the lights are out.” *Wink, Wink*

That means not only unplugging your electric devices, but powering down your mobile ones — the brand’s Turn Off to Turn On campaign maintains that we should take that extra step on March 29, because it’s hard to connect to each other when you’re busy connecting to five different social networks, your text history, and your email (shocker).

In a release, the company muses, “By not only turning off all lights on March 29, 2014, but also switching off all gadgets and gizmos, people can use this opportunity as an excuse to swap their laptops for some loving and ditch their phones to enjoy some foreplay….The wonders of technology help to bring people together, but is it also a key factor in keeping them apart? With today’s couples interacting with their devices more than each other, could gadgets and gizmos be the main reason behind the fact that people are having 20% less sex than in 2000*?”

Very possibly, yes. Read more

San Francisco Thinks Bottled Water Should Tap Out

water bottles

We feel you, bro.

Whoever came up with an idea to sell water, bottle it and charge as much as $5 for it is nothing short of an evil genius, like Wile E. Coyote, only this cat dines on roadrunner stew nightly. The bottled water industry is now a $60 billion industry — annually.

While it’s nice and all healthy-like that all this water is being guzzled, the plastic bottles are causing quite the ecological kerfuffle. To wit, San Francisco has decided it is mad as hell and it’s not going to take it anymore as it prepares to become the first city in U.S. history to ban the sale of any plastic bottles. Anywhere.

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Exxon Mobil CEO Is All for Fracking, But Not in His Backyard

rex-tillersonExxon Mobil‘s website assures the public that when hydraulic fracturing (fracking) takes place, “Throughout the entire unconventional gas life cycle – from exploration to decommissioning – care is taken to minimize the disruption to the community and protect the environment.”

So, there should be no reason for anyone to fear or protest against fracking taking place near their homes, right? Right! Unless, of course, you’re Exxon Mobil’s Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson.

Tillerson has joined a lawsuit to halt the construction of a water tower that could be used in the fracking process near his 18-acre Texas homestead. The lawsuit argues that the project would create “a noise nuisance and traffic hazards.”

But according to the Exxon Mobil site, such noise and traffic concerns are tantamount to non-issues:

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Chipotle Goes All In on ‘Factory Farming’ Message with Hulu Mini-Series

Chipotle appears to have taken content marketing to its logical conclusion by producing an online mini-series that never once mentions its own product.

From what we can tell, Farmed and Dangerous—created with NY “branded entertainment” firm Piro—stars Laura Palmer’s dad as a guy who does damage control for the kind of unethical corporate farming interest that earns the strong disapproval of the Chipotle organization. The plot, as seen in the trailer above, revolves around said industrial giant creating a petroleum-based feed for cattle, and it includes at least four half-hour episodes that could be extended into a second “season” if the experiment works.

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Disney Withdraws from Pro-Fracking Elementary School Tour

n-ROCKING-IN-OHIO-large570Upon hearing that Disney was bringing an educational program to Ohio elementary schools, a few possibilities of what the program might look like came to mind: Princesses preaching the power of love? Talking animals touting the importance of friendship? Nope; this was three representatives from Radio Disney explaining the importance and benefits of the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

Last month, a program called Rocking in Ohio, which was led by three Radio Disney staffers and entirely funded by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (a lobbying group paid for by oil and gas companies), performed a series of events at 26 elementary schools across the state, educating students about the process and benefits of fracking.

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Another Day, Another Monsanto GMO Protest

OK, OK...We don’t envy Monsanto right now. Sure, it’s a super-wealthy international “biotech corporation” that touts its seeds, pesticides and other products as part of the “sustainable agriculture” movement, but a fairly big slice of the public came out over the weekend in several cities around the world to show much it really hates the company for using GMOs (that’s genetically modified organisms to you, sir) in its products.

This is the second global protest against Monsanto; the first, in May, included endorsements from such celebrity luminaries as Bill Maher, Dave Matthews and Danny DeVito, who we will continue to call “Frank”. At the end of the day, it’s a messaging war: are GMOs a solution to global hunger or a way to poison the public in the name of profits?

The “March Against Monsanto” organization posted a press release explaining its complaints: “GMOs are not adequately monitored to ensure public safety” and Monsanato acts to “suppress any research containing results not in their favor” and avoid complying with any labeling requirements.

Now for the PR: how can Monsanto counter its current status as everyone’s least favorite evil corporation?

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Coal Rep’s Climate Change Spin Sparks PR Ethics Debate

How does a PR rep handle the conflict inherent in representing The Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports, an organization created to increase coal exportation in the northwest US, with a history working for the EPA? The two organizations could not be more ideologically opposed to one another.

In this extremely off-the-record clip, Edelman VP Lauri Hennessey tells coal industry marketers how she navigates around the issue by using her EPA past to convince environmentally concerned audiences that more coal exports would not contribute to climate change. A couple of things are clear:


The clip may be a hit piece, but it’s also a revealing look into the way spin works in one particular case.

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