Some Greed in Green!

Nov 16 08:31 2009 Maibs Print This Article

Right now, wherever I go, whatever seminar I attend, I receive a global warming bag as a give-way gift.   I now have more than 50 of them at home, which I don’t know what to do with them.

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As global warming has been an issue worldwide, many green projects are coming up like mushrooms; no matter if they are real true green projects.  For years, I have been observing the work of many organizations, particularly in Thailand, and I am concerned about the “being green” concept that’s why I like to share a few issues here in this blog.

 

I believe that many hotels and organizations try their best to reduce as much as possible waste and some hotels even try to be 100% carbon-free.  All are good and respectable, yet, as the world has NOT been totally green before! So, to be “green”, we need to consider some of the impacts we create as well to ensure sustainability.   

 

-          Tree, tree and tree: There are several organizations where the leader has good intentions to be VERY Green.  They grow big trees and plants everywhere to announce to the society that “I love green”.  Almost every single empty space is filled with trees, fill it, fill it, fill it and fill it with trees.  When there is heavy rain and wind, all trees collapse and employees laugh about it.  Moreover, while employees suffer with limited spaces of car parking lot, security guards suffer finding parking spaces for all big people, customers are complaining for spaces to park their cars, the leaders enjoy growing more trees for the green image and limit as much as possible the parking lot, which seems to be very reasonable for global warming concept.  However, my question is: is such implementation over-done and impractical to the workers?  People are fighting, arguing and having so much conflict because of the parking lot and also places for other important work related purposes.  Is there any survey done about the possibility riding bicycle from home? As some of them have to drive from another province to work, any survey about free shuttle possibility?  The process of showing consideration towards employees’ need and the green implementation should go hands in hands to prevent the negative feeling of employees.  Some companies encourage employees to ride bicycle from home but we still see the top management – who are promoting the bicycle ride to work - sit at the back seat of expensive European car when arrive at work everyday and some of them just stay nearby the company.  This is just one example! So, will the go-green concept be positive and encouraging enough for employees to follow through for the society, for the world and for the next generation?  I do believe everyone loves green, but when the matter is preceded in such a way, green may not mean much any more.  All in all, it is not wrong to grow trees and become green as wish, but to be more encouraging, management may like to think: “If I like to be THAT green, how about the employees – is there any impact on their living?” then balance your employees’ living with the GREEN concept.    

 

-          T-Shirt, T-shirt and T-shirt: I have seen many employees; either from governmental offices or from the private sectors working to PR their green campaign.   Again, fine and good for the society.  But what hit me is: why each individual of the team must wear the same set of “Green color T-shirt or specific T-shirt” announcing that they are green.  I think it is kind of controversial that one tries to reduce waste and prevent any over- production, but the green team itself orders to produce even more T-shirt for PR purpose.  Why don’t they consider wearing whatever T-shirt they have and use other relevant left-over material to identify themselves during their work if it is needed? 

 

-          Separate garbage, garbage and garbage: many companies ask employees to separate garbage for the sake of being green!!! It is fine, a good practice.  But the issue is; did each department or section has a garbage separation system within their work area that is practical for the housekeeping person to pick up?  Most importantly, many hotel owners now only think “being green” means saving money, money and money.  Yes, it is the long term result of being green, but the first goal should not be money.  Otherwise, all the policies and behaviors of the owners will be a “stingy green” NOT a “real green”.  Only some hotel owners here in Thailand put the money after garbage selling to the employee welfare fund because garbage separation is the works of every employee.   At most hotels, every amount goes directly to owner’s pocket.   

 

-          Global warming bag, bag and bag:  Right now, wherever I go, whatever seminar I attend, I receive a global warming bag as a give-way gift.   I now have more than 50 of them at home, which I don’t know what to do with them.  I tried to give away to others but it keeps coming back whenever I go to any meeting or seminar.   If this is a kind of PR forceful trendy item, can anyone or any seminar organizers ask the participants in advance to bring one from home (if they have) for the exchange of a new bag? 

 

-          Photo taken is a must:  Every green project of many companies must come with photographer.  Wherever and whenever they have activities, photos must be taken.  A lot of people must be in the photo to show commitment or harmony on green practice. Sometimes employees have to be called out from work to take a photo with management.  Moreover, such photos will be a “paper” print out and place on the board for their PR.  So, all in all, what purpose of the green they are trying to do?

 

-          Memo, memo and memo:  Many traditional organizations still need to see a paper memo and the management is very much in a big need to put their manual signature on the paper.  They cannot accept e-email and they avoid approving through email as it is not official enough for them to justify their position and level.  In the mean time, they announce that they support green concept, growing trees and stamping on paper recycling practice, plus implementing many related green activities and still continuously giving hands to the society.  But they just cannot reduce paper-memo production!!!

 

As a matter of fact, I start to be a little confused about being green because I think one pitfall of many organizations about being green is its consistency and the understanding towards green issue.  Most time, one hand is green, another hand is black and body is still red, and with that, they are brave enough to say they are green.  May be they think it is just about growing more tree, giving away free global warming bag, paper recycling project or even produce a Green-T shirt.  I do hope that soon there will be some organizations take initiative to be a true leader to react to the mentioned “over done -or-confusing green practices” and show example of real integrated green concept to the public. 

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© Nate-tra Dhevabanchachai, 2009, General Manager, Salaya Pavilion Hotel and Training Center, Mahidol University International College, http://salayapavilion.com  and Honorary Director, Mai-BS (Thailand) Co., Ltd., http://mai-bs.com 

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