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The Big Green Paint Job
By Naseem Javed, President, ABC Namebank

The question is, should corporations and producers of hardcore toxins simply hide behind sing-song, spinning green logos, or should they firmly stand up to the challenge and embrace the tough environmental questions?

Suddenly, away from the hundreds of available colors, there is a rush all over the world to paint almost everything green; green paint, green ribbons, green wrappings and green fabrics becoming the top choice, causing shortages of the material, while green logos, green billboards and almost politically-correct green ties and attires are becoming the most fashionable and trendy statements. Just like a year-round St. Patrick's Day; the big green dress party has started. As if this process will provide that green-mask, creating the appearance of a fighter, presence of a leader, out fixing the global environment. Oh Really?

The marketing and communication machines of the big businesses all across the world are being armed with the method of projecting ecology and greenery, the color, that is, as they are becoming more wrapped up in devising color schemes than in carbon saving and real ecology matters.

One would only be amazed to see how all over the world, garbage bins from offices are so regularly collected, emptied, sorted and arranged in little heaps, by dynamic, green-uniformed personnel as if they are performing some acrobatic tasks, while the same companies on the other side of the not so green escarpments are spewing purple, red and black liquids; flowing down rivers and streams, resulting in colorful patches that are easily visible from any daytime flight. There is something wrong with this scene; though carefree waste production is still considered to be the backbone of the industrial revolution and its related superiority.

Is this entire ecology-sensitive greenery facade just a hoopla offering lip-service to the green movement, or does the real message still need some serious distillation?

Now, this of course calls to order the super-green-men form the new-branding-circus. As the green signal zips across the globe and somewhere over the horizon, the army of re-packaging experts awaits in their shiny green suits, carrying green flags while humming the song of the unicorn; much like the hysteria seen during the heydays of e-commerce, where the same armies came up with the idea of inserting the letter "e" into any corporate identity to project the software-savvy side of e-commerce and digital superiority over their old, struggling industrial dinosaurs like sawmills and beaten up metal factories. The need to re-brand and re-label was required to catch the attention of the IPO boom and stock markets of the world, resulting in the creating of e-Lumber, e-Steel and e-Cement. During the dizzying period of 'irrational exuberance', companies often falsely pretended that their stacking chimneys were really cyber-towers of artificial intelligence, and projected e-commerce hype during the uncontrollable stock market boom, creating instant millionaires. Of course, a little while later, there was silence, as the bust created a new chapter in corporate history.

The idea to use recycled paper for the annual reports for shareholders of Exxon Valdez is not new, the art of camouflaging the real issues while projecting honesty and integrity is the goal of every corporation around the globe. There is also a lot of honest work being done on all fronts too, no doubt.

The question is, should corporations and producers of hardcore toxins simply hide behind sing-song, spinning green logos, or should they firmly stand up to the challenge and embrace the tough environmental questions? The current branding industry is already ever so confused with a logo dependant approach that they are forced to re-invent themselves as highly competent image makers hiding behind green masks, to cope with this issue. Is there anything wrong with this? Not really, but the fact is that somewhere along the line, the truth will eventually be exposed; green colored text on green ads, and green colored cars on green painted roads simply won't do it.

Nevertheless, the current explosive greening message and repaint-to-green movement could be turned into a very good idea in the long run, but not like any typical, short lived and bizarre advertising campaign, and certainly not to become just another version of the happy-go-lucky-green-fad as a self-indulging exercise to fool one's self. The public all over the world is becoming smarter by the day and can read between the lines much better than it could a decade ago, thanks to the internet and global connectivity, where the truth cannot be sugar coated forever; this issue craves honesty and demands leadership. Countries of the world could team-up, take the lead role, invent and develop solutions and technologies, which would not only enforce a new boom to new technologies but also improve its global sustainability.

There are some very powerful big and small plans all over the world to go green, as in improved ecology measures, not paintjobs. Dubai is the first country in the Middle East to introduce 'green building standards' along with all kinds of mega forums and events on promoting environmentally friendly measures, creating platforms for debate and discussions. Today, Dubai has become a global center for conferences and forums, there were more such events in the last few years than any other city in the world. Given that it is respected widely among the international community, Dubai is easily in the ideal position to host a debate that will invite members from all over the world to devise a game plan to address these environmentally pressing issues. The impact of such activities would be huge in Asia, attracting new technologies and alternatives to bringing about environmental improvements. Eco-issues are inevitably going to become at the top of the agenda, as numbers continue to rise and events become more and more dramatic. The wrath of nature is upon us.

Amidst the eco-warriors trying to sell their environmental issues to global leaders, some of whose countries pollute more or less than others, this worldly cause is perhaps the only subject under which all parties can get together under a single cause to figure out long term solutions to an environmentally-friendly future. Let's have a drink to that, but not a green colored one.


Naseem Javed, author of Naming for Power and also Domain Wars is recognized as a world authority on Name Identities and Domain Issues and he is the President of ABC Namebank ( www.abcnamebank.com ) with offices in New York & Toronto. e-Mail him your URLs or current business names for a complimentary evalution. This analysis is serious business, so please identitfy your job title and background information on your company and the use of that name. All correspondence is confidential. e-mail: nj@njabc.com

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