Is greenwashing no longer doing the trick? Consider greencarpeting instead! No, I’m not talking about installing wall-to-wall Interface rugs. I’m talking about staging press events with the likes of “green celebrities” Spencer Pratt and Corey Feldman walking the red—I mean, green!, sorry–carpet. No, I’m serious. That really happened.
Here’s the nutty part: the event wasn’t promoting some kind of ridiculous new “green” luxury handbag line or eco-friendly bottled water with special chakra-aligning energy boosters. It was the launch of an at-home ethanol fueling system called the Microfueler, which uses household food waste as feedstock. Sure, the merits of this fueling system are yet to be widely tested, but it’s a step in the right direction (and hey, hybrid-Hummer driver Governor Schwarzenegger recently endorsed the system and Sierra Nevada brewing company plans to feed beer waste into the system and use it to fuel its vehicle fleet).
LA-based GreenHouse, a “purveyor of green building services and products, including the revolutionary at-home Efuel 100 Microfueler,” according to its website, threw the event at the home of its CEO (who formerly worked in the entertainment industry).
GreenHouse doesn’t make the fueling system; it was developed by Los Gatos, Calif. startup E-Fuel. But GreenHouse seems to think that media-hording, reality-show vets couple Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag—whose CVs include gigs promoting Taco Bell and the McCain/Palin ticket—will be helpful in promoting the fuel-at-home systems. (Rather ironically, Heidi Montag recently posted this tweet, presumably from a gas station: “pumping gas i almost ran out! opps praise God i didnt!”.)
But shouldn’t aligning ones product with celebrities be handled with the utmost care? Sure, Corey Feldman released a song about saving the earth, called Green is the Colour, but he’s no Ed Begley, Jr.
Certainly, actors and musicians can bring tons of attention and cache to environmental issues (Daryl Hannah and Brad Pitt come to mind) but, wow, maybe GreenHouse should vet the invite list a little better next time. In this case, at least, celebrity endorsements might do more harm than good.
But then again, I guess it worked. I’m writing about, it after all. What do you think? Is greencarpeting the new greenwashing?