I’ve been buying said blue window cleaner for nigh on 25 years now. It reeks of ammonia and may be spritzed onto all manner of surfaces to wipe away my family’s detritus.
So I was picking up some more when I noticed the package had been changed. Suddenly, it bore a green leaf proclaiming it to be a green cleaner.
Well, what have we here?
The blue fluid was slightly — very slightly — less blue. Everything else looked the same.
But, suddenly, it was “green.” Don’t know how I was supposed to verify that. Oh yeah, I wasn’t.
Like most marketing, I’m asked to take it at face value.
And then it hit me: The product is as green as its manufacturer says it is. Presumably, the mondo-manufacturer isn’t putting a worse product out there, but how would I know? There’s no universal green seal or green police out there.
Imagine! “Green police” looking like Batman’s Green Hornet: Flashy green suit and a green mask with a pointy nose piece, searching your grocery store for fake environmental stories.
But I digress. Of course, I took the product home — I had detritus to clean.
This instance spurred a line of thought that I could not shake: Why are we in the growing business so reluctant to toot our green horns? Most growers, and their packers and shippers, have a bona fide good-for-the-earth story to tell.
Are we suffering inappropriate guilt? Cowed by environmentalist-inspired lawsuits that force the EPA to outlaw chemicals for no real reason?
Most of the time, it’s like our mouths are glued shut about the many good things horticulture does for the earth because we must combat some aspects of nature to harvest perfect produce.
I will pause right here and say in all seriousness that I believe in being truthful, honest and transparent. Those are the ethical credentials I’ve pledged to uphold as an accredited and practicing public relations professional. If you don’t have ethics you’re nowhere.
If you can’t honestly tell consumers you’re doing well for the earth, then better to be silent than to make false claims that will be your undoing.
And if you are knowingly damaging the earth or environment in some way, I hope you clean up your act or get caught.
For the other 99.9% of growers, let’s toot the green horn this season.
Green products — sustainable products, environmentally friendly products, ethical products (this category meets certain standards — whose I don’t know) — are what young shoppers prefer to buy.