Don’t Fall for Greenwashing

Greenwashing in the Meetings Industry
This is Greenwashing

I put this picture up on Google Plus yesterday and it is still bothering me so much that I decided to post my thoughts here, a larger audience for me than Google Plus.

My thinking was, how many times do the unsuspecting buy into the load of crap that companies in the industry are selling us. I snapped this image while I was at a Hilton in Chicago. This is the bottle of water that they serve.

One of our group said “Oh COOL” and I just sat and laughed and explained that this is the worst type of greenwashing there can be because it is so blatant and in your face.

What is ungreen about this bottle of water?

First there is the description:

  • Called Green Planet! (Our planet is actually blue, they are selling you the word “green”)
  • Vapor Distilled (The water for your iron is distilled as well)
  • Minerals Added! (yep, they had to add minerals to the distilled tap water)
  • Petroleum Free Bottle, made from 100% plant material (Hmmmm)

The description is what leads to the “Oh Cool” remarks. You say “awesome”  until you really think about how it is manufactured and realize that there is nothing at all green here. Why you ask?

Well, let’s look at the production and life cycle of the product. Here are some of the basic steps –

  • You suck up local water (using oil powered machines)
  • You bottle it (using oil powered machines to make the bottle and then do the bottling)
  • You truck it half way across the country (using oil)
  • You keep it cold (using coal or oil)
  • You throw the bottle in the garbage (bag made using oil, garbage can made using oil)
  • You then you truck it away (again with the freaking oil)
  • You drop it at a garbage facility (teaming with oil)

How much oil, how much water and how many other resources were wasted just so you could throw a bottle in the garbage that will biodegrade.

Would not it have been simpler to just serve water in a pitcher? Wouldn’t that be the greenest option?

  • The water is local
  • The pitcher is reusable
  • No additional trucking

Do what you must, but know this – Your attendees are not stupid.

Pitcher at Conference
The simple pitcher

Pitcher Image: Steve Snodgrass


Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

Yep. We use cookies. Just like everybody else. Cool? Click OK.