I know a journalist moaning about the world of public relations hardly constitutes news, but sometimes you just can't help it.
This morning an envelope appeared on my desk containing a two page press release (two sheets of one-sided printing) telling me that Mercedes-Benz has just installed a wind turbine at its site in Milton Keynes. It was accompanied by a colour photo of said turbine.
Now, I'd like to be the first to congratulate Mercedes-Benz on this excellent green initiative, but am I the only person that finds their means of communicating it a trifle strange?
Have they not heard of email? What is wrong with double sided printing? What exactly am I supposed to do with the photo? Frame it and put it on my desk.
I feel a bit mean pointing this out - after all the company is investing heavily in an indisputably green technology and it is a bit unfair to focus on two sheets of paper when the turbine will generate enough green energy to power a 20 person office.
But it is still hard to imagine what possessed the PR team behind the press release to send out a green announcement using the most carbon intensive and wasteful means they could find.
The world of green business has opened up a whole new line of attack for marketing and PR departments everywhere, but it comes with risks and the need to marry green content with the appropriate communication medium has never been more important. You wouldn't promote a green initiative by hiring a plane to write about it in the sky, so why put it on a paper press release?
The paperless office may still be decades away and I am as guilty as the next man when it comes to occassionally wasteful behaviour, but if you are going to tell people that your company is going green then cutting down on paper use and using electronic documents wherever possible is one of the simplest things you can do to create the impression that you are walking the green walk.
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