As the Olympic game begun in China I left India for Europe and picked up a few magazines. While sport might be interesting to many these days, there is a constant battle over the future of the planet. Companies are investing in different technologies and solutions that will determine the future for us all. In the air between India and Europe I saw two ads that got me thinking.
UK/Holland represented by Shell and their fossil ad
Looking through the papers I was sad to see that Shell still run their ads about their investments in dirty technologies such as oil sand and CCS. A few years ago it looked as is Shell and BP was serious in changing towards sustainability, but these days it looks like they are moving in the wrong direction. Shell might be aiming for Exxon’s old role (things might slowly change in Exxon, see earlier blog) as the worst energy company in the world, in tight competition with Vattenfall. Their ad is such a desperate attempt to defend destructive and old technology that they are not even close to score a point the energy competition.
India represented by Suzlon and their future ad
Suzlon from India on the other hand had a very different add on the back cover of CNBC European Business. I can’t find it on the web but the text reads (the picture is a photo I took): “Where do we look when there are no fossil fuels to look for? As the world races on towards development, our finite conventional energy supplies continue to deplete. To power sustainable development, we need to look towards renewable, eco-friendly energy sources like the wind. At Suzlon, we serve your energy needs by providing dependable wind energy solutions backed by excellent customer response and a fully integrated and secure supply chain, which delivers customised solutions to ensure project performance globally. Come to us, so the wind can power the world’s future and yours.”
Suzlon is also a sponsor of CNNs “Eco solutions”.
Maybe media can start report more about sustainability now with the help of Indian and Chinese companies that are serious about sustainable energy solutions? As we all know media is about pleasing those who sponsor and place adds in the papers/on TV, so we need companies with sustainable solutions that pay for ads and sponsor media to get news about sustainable technology. I know it is sad, but we must stop pretending that media with such small resources can give anything close to a balanced picture (it is not a coincident that western media are in love with CCS, the big power companies are and therefore it does not matter that it is not a very important technology and that it most certainly will lock us into a high carbon infrastructure).
This is a clear winner and maybe to some a surprise. How come that India is home to the world’s 5th largest and fastest growing wind turbine manufacturer with all the talk about sustainability in Europe? The reason as I see it is that most companies in India that start to act in the area of sustainability don’t see this is a PR exercise, but an opportunity to make money while providing solutions that the world needs.
I can’t give less than one point, if that was possible Shell would get that… For Suzlon they get points for hope, concrete suggestions, actual delivery and investment in the future with an extra bonus for their contribution to CNN.
You will soon see more things from India.
UPDATE 14 August: Good news on Shell and its advertising:
From the Independent: "In an embarrassing rejection of Shell's "greenwash", the Advertising Standards Authority said the company should not have used the word "sustainable" for its controversial tar sands project and a second scheme to build North America's biggest oil refinery. Both projects would lead to the emission of more greenhouse gases, the ASA said, ruling the advert had breached rules on substantiation, truthfulness and environmental claims."
In Sweden and other countries due to weak laws Companies like Shell and Vattenfall can still get away with lies, hopefully this will change.