Saturday, March 13, 2010

Talk is Cheap

Most of us have heard the expression “Talk is Cheap”. This statement has never been truer than it is today. There are two different meanings to this statement. As far as businesses go, it's easy to talk about something but harder to actually do it. This is very true when it comes to environmental issues. Talk comes easy and it is beneficial to say the right thing to the consumer and the general public, even when you don’t really practice it fully. In the corporate world, frequently the bottom line is all that matters and being hypocritical is ok if you don’t get caught.

Many businesses along with major corporations in our modern society often promote themselves as being green. They do little things that give them a favorable image to the public. For instance, they mention that their flyers are printed on recycled paper or they may have a section in the store where they sell environmentally products such as cleaning products. They charge customers for bags at the checkout all in the name of reducing waste and helping to save our planet. Industries tend to brag about what they do to promote environmentally friendly practices. However, behind closed doors and behind the cameras and out of the public eye these same companies that promote themselves as being green, do things that harm the environment in a negligent way. For example a few months ago, a major US fashion chain was destroying bags of garments that were never worn. And to make sure that they never would be worn or sold, someone had slashed most of them. In addition to that one of the largest retailers in the world was caught throwing out bags of new clothing that was purposely destroyed. I don’t want to mention names in this article because there are many more companies doing this. I used to work for a major Canadian retailer that did the same thing. Some industries do the same thing as well. They often dump toxins and wastes into our water and air when they think no one is looking and then promote themselves as being green and environmentally friendly. One thing I want to say to these companies that do state they care about the environment in the media and to the consumer is …”If you are going to do the talk you have to do the walk”.

Another way that talk is cheap is that in the free world we can voice our opinions. If we feel that a business or corporation is doing something that is illegal or environmentally dangerous we need to make others aware. There has never been a better time than this generation to make yourself heard. A few decades ago the general public did not have the means like we do today to voice our concerns and opinions regarding certain issues. The mainstream media was and still is to a large extent controlled by large corporate interests. However, with the advent of the internet and now social networking sites, including blogs, we have the means to speak out. Outside of the cost of an internet connection and a computer making yourself heard costs nothing. In fact, now there are many libraries, schools and other public places that you can get online for free. Yes, in fact when it comes to speaking your mind and finding out some hidden things about those companies that are not acting in the fashion they should be….talk is cheap.

We all have a part to play in making this planet a cleaner, better place to live and more importantly preserving it for future generations. We need to speak out, but just as important as speaking out we should not be hypocritical. All of us whether individuals or businesses need to practice what we preach.