Earth Day and Corporations

I received an email from an employee the other day asking why MOM’s doesn’t do more promotions on Earth Day. My reply to him boiled down to “at MOM’s, every day is Earth Day.”

Earth Day has served a wonderful purpose over the past few decades. It’s brought significant awareness to the environmental movement. While you’d think a guy like me would love Earth Day, I’ve grown to dislike the day more and more.

My growing distaste for the day started a few years ago when I saw a full page Macy’s ad in the Washington Post touting how “green” they are. It merely listed a handful of items made from renewable materials they had on SALE that week.

And then I discovered back in 2008 that at the MOM’s in Frederick, past management there had agreed to “partner” with a local bank branch on Earth Day. The bankers’ contribution to Mother Earth was to pass out business cards to our customers while bagging their groceries. I still cringe.

I just read in Progressive Grocer an article appropriately titled “Harris Teeter Goes for the Green”. HT is giving away free reusable bags, so long as you go online to sign up for one of their e-VIC (Very Important Customer) cards and come in to shop at the store during a 2 week period shortly thereafter (undoubtedly becoming subject to email advertising and targeted marketing). Then, for every $1000 these e-VIC customers spend on Dannon products during a limited time period, Dannon will plant a tree somewhere.

Priti NYC sent me an email (despite my spam filter) offering this week in celebration of Earth Day an additional 10% off opening orders- for customers who have never ordered from them.

You get the gist- lots of promotions with strings attached. Not much real action.

Corporations seem to find a way of co-opting every issue, every holiday, every major event into a marketing opportunity to increase sales and add to the financial bottom line. I get that every business needs to be fiscally responsible and financially healthy, but this response to Earth Day seems so disingenuous and I wish the primary motivation was to protect and restore the environment.

To CEO’s of corporations: Do the right thing. It’s contagious. You’ll feel good when you look in the mirror.