A couple weeks back I blogged my frustration with Recycle Bank’s “Learn and Earn”sponsored by Pampers/Proctor and Gamble. This post got a lot of feedback from readers who shared my anger about the misleading and highly green-washed nature of the quiz, which aims to promote Pampers as an eco-friendly diapering option.
Rather than let my rant just fire up likeminded people in the blogosphere, I decided to take my concerns to my contact at Recycle Bank. (Admittedly, I am fortunate to have the ear of someone at this company, but cold calls or letters to officials can certainly be effective as well).
As a company with vested interest in global sustainability, Recycle Bank was open to hearing mine and others’ concerns. We all understood the essential dilemma: Recycle Bank is corporation with an ultimate sustainability mission. In order to enact real change, they – and we – need to bring the big corporations to the table to make small steps. But when does promoting those small steps cross the line into green-washing?
Ultimately, we can all agree that truthfulness is the one essential ingredient. And Recycle Bank was open to discussing this with the bigwigs at P&G marketing. In fact, they actually took the Learn & Earn quiz off the site for a full week while they sorted it out!
After a discussion with the powers that be, there was a small compromise. The quiz would go back up on the site, but the question with the most objectionable answer would be slightly changed: Rather than being forced to choose “False” for the question, “Cloth diapers are better for the environment than disposable diapers,” the new option allows the user to choose “True” or “False,” with a note explaining that according to one study the results are inconclusive.
Does this make the whole gist of this quiz OK? Certainly not. I’m still not a fan of the misleading questions and answers – and still not a fan of P&G. BUT, this very small step in transparency is a huge victory for bloggers and concerned citizens like YOU. We literally brought one of the largest corporations in America to the table, told them how we felt, and got them to budge – even just an inch!
Never underestimate the power of your voice!
Here is the full response from Recyclebank:
“Thanks, Paige, for following up with us and letting us address your concerns. Based on feedback from you and other Recyclebank members that we’ve shared with our partners, we have recently reviewed and revised the Pampers Learn & Earn quiz. You’ll find that now, the source is cited alongside facts in regards to the cloth vs. disposable diaper question and the environmental impact question. To read the study cited, visit http://publications.environment-agency.gov.uk/PDF/SCHO0808BOIR-E-E.pdf.
Recyclebank respects every shade of green, and our brand partners have made enormous strides in adapting to more environmentally friendly practices, but we can all agree there is much more work to do. It is through feedback from members like you that we can come closer to our goal of making the world a greener place to live. If you or any of your readers have any questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!”
Public Relations Director