No doubt, you understand that the food you choose for lunch (or any meal) has an environmental impact… the folks at the PB&J Campaign (which we featured several years ago) documented the effect of shifting to a plant-based lunch back when they got started. And there’s plenty of other credible information out there on the environmental costs associated with our food choices.
Tomorrow, another player is going to help spread the word on eco-friendly lunch choices: Panasonic.
Yes, that’s Panasonic the electronics and consumer products manufacturer. Their Earth Lunch Hour is a social media-a-thon dedicated to using lunch hour as a time to consider our environmental impact… in terms of what we eat, and the associated resources used, during our daily meal break. That’s right… this major multinational electronics company will spend twenty-four hours focused on…. food.
It’s enough to make a green business advocate exclaim “WTF!” very, very loudly…
Is Earth Lunch Hour Just Greenwash?
It’s tempting to take that path, and proclaim that Panasonic’s focusing on food rather than the impact of its own business operations… the old bait and switch (or, a sort of odd version of the hidden trade-off). But, interestingly enough, they really don’t have much to hide in terms of their own efforts: Greenpeace moved them up from #10 to #6 in the latest edition of the Guide to Greener Electronics. While this movement was “due to the drop in scores of other companies, rather than in improvements in its own performance,” they still got high marks in energy efficiency and chemicals management, and decent scores for its offerings of PVC and BFR-free models of products. Yes, they’ve still got improvements to make… but they also have some cred in the realm of green electronics.
But they’re focusing on lunch hour behaviors…? That’s almost like asking for greenwashing accusations.
I’ve certainly got no problem whatsoever with anyone focusing on healthier and more sustainable food choices… and for greener practices surrounding our mealtime. I’ve got no problem with Earth Lunch Hour itself… more power to it… I’ll probably check in several times during the day. I’m just wondering why a company that could make much more authoritative claims in terms of issues like home energy use, e-waste, and recycling — all important issues that need more input — would devote a day to recipe choices, food ecology, and greener meal clean-up. I really don’t think this is greenwashing… but it’s got me scratching my head nonetheless.
With that said the company is launching a ad campaign next week to tout the ec0-friendliness of its product line (for which I’ll be watching). Perhaps the overall marketing strategy here is just way over my head… but, if that’s the case, I’d love for someone to explain…