A CSR paradox: How do we match “gas-free” certification with car racing?Posted: October 12, 2010
How coherent must corporate practices be to not run danger of greewashing? Recently, I saw two press releases concerning the brand McGregor, which did not seem to fit together. One news posting reported that McGregor becomes the official partner of the automobile club of Monaco. Another agency reported that McGregor – introducing an organic fashion line – was an example that high-class fashion and eco-fashion do not exclude each other. In addition, on its own website McGregor (very poorly) presents its engagement for the environment, and it is also member of the FWF (which is very positive). In their CSR agenda one issue seemed particularly paradoxical to the car business:
When it comes to transport, we require all our shippers to guarantee that gas-free (free of toxic substances) transport is used for our products. At the McGregor distribution centre a container is not unloaded if it does not have a gas-free certificate. We require all shipments that enter Europe by container to comply with the rules. In practice this means that all containers carrying our products must be accompanied by a gas-free certificate.
This might be a good practice. But car racing is the maybe most senseless way of polluting the environment with CO2 and other toxics (surely, others value car racing higher). However, what we have here is that a company argues that it is committed to protecting the environment, while it promotes car racing just to boost its brand. This does not make sense.
Certainly McGregor does not say itself that it is a eco fashion company. My question is: Should we praise McGregor for helping protect the environment, for instance by introducing an organic line and using green energy, or do we have to evaluate the environmental efforts as greenwashing in a more comprehensive way – in light of the explained hypocricy?! Or: How coherent must a company be in their overall policy in order to not run danger of greewashing with their CSR policy?