Green compatible products are all the rage these days, and technology companies are tripping over one another to announce their commitment to eco-friendly devices. It sounds all nice and cute, but the reality: it’s a downright marketing play. Nothing more, nothing less.

Don’t get us wrong. There are a few companies that have been green compatible for years (for example, Nokia’s 70 percent of handsets produced are green compatible), and there are those who have taken eco-friendliness to the next level in the last few years, but for the majority of companies, it’s a marketing ploy to impress consumers, clients, partners and media.

Anonymously, a lot of company reps admitted to their company’s products as anything but green compatible at CES 2008. While the company was being more conscious about environmental problems, they didn’t view them as a serious concern in the grand scheme of things. Really, all it takes is a paltry amount of resources to devote to eco-friendly projects company wide, and suddenly, you have the right to print leaves and trees on your product packages. Does anyone else see the irony in this? Keep making those fancy packages, while touting the importance of environment preservation. Ah, the brilliance of it all.

The interesting thing to note here is that companies that must produce harmful, environmentally damaging products, such as devices with mercury, are promoting the importance of going green. We were speechless, and so were they when we brought this to their attention. “We are working to resolve and curate such issues, but it’s a long-term struggle,” one marketing rep slid this in an interview with on the condition of anonymity. We are inclined to believe that, but at least take steps to work on that, instead of sending press releases and making it sound like you care about the environment.

In essence, over the last couple of years, it has seemed like the technology industry is maturing and looking beyond their bottom line, but that’s not really the case. Sure, they are comparably proactive and more considerate, but it all boils down to this. If it’s in the company’s culture to be responsible, it doesn’t need to go out of its way to promote its positive culture and impact (Nokia, for instance). On the contrary, companies that have jumped on the green trend as the next hot thing to ride, they are expecting short-term publicity and very few will make a meaningful impact on the environment. If you’ve been “destroying” the environment for decades, a short-term trend (trends are always short-term) isn’t going to make you responsible all of a sudden.

All in all, it’s disappointing, cunning and misleading to everyone involved, and companies should be ashamed of using noble causes to gain short-term advantage.

[Gundeep Hora]

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