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Saturday, 19 April 2008

"Greenwashing" concern re Solahart promotion

I just sent the following email to Solahart's Australian headquarters:


Let me preface this by saying that I'm a very satisfied Solahart customer, having replaced my electric system just over six months ago and not wasted a single watt-hour of electricity on water heating ever since. However I was not so impressed with your company's recent marketing initiative involving a bumper sticker which reads, "My Solahart helps offset my car's CO2 emissions."

It surprised and disappointed me to have such a misleading environmental line come from a company which does an enormous amount of good through the promotion of renewable energy technology. Quite simply, that bumper sticker statement is false and potentially harmful.

The statement is false because solar water heaters do not remove CO2 from the atmosphere, directly or indirectly, and therefore cannot be counted as an "offset" against the burning of fossil fuels in a car engine. Instead, solar water heaters simply avoid the need to burn fossil fuels in power stations or in gas heaters. There is absolutely no relationship between solar hot water and vehicle emissions.

If the community truly believed the bumper sticker then they would feel less compelled to reduce their transport-related emissions in the false belief that they were somehow "offset" to some degree by their solar water heater.

Though it may have been an honest mistake or oversight, this promotion has the appearance of "greenwashing". At the very least, please cease the distribution of this bumper sticker immediately. I would also ask that you either send a follow-up retraction letter to all those who have already been sent a sticker (such as myself), or that you post such a retraction in a prominent place on your website or in another suitable public forum.

I would be more than happy to discuss these matters with you further - please feel free to reply via email or contact me on [phone number removed].

Terry Brady

Bald Hills, Qld, Australia

1 comment:

Kate said...

I can't...well actually I can... believe that a company that is doing genuine good could use such bad advertising. if I didn't already have solar hot water I would seriously consider NOT having solahart.Just found your blog via the greening of Gavin. I am also always writing about and doing things on my seedsavers blog - seedaving has so many benefits and extends into almost everything we do. From Boi-diversity of food and non-food plants, to all aspects of agriculture and green things, seeds are the basis of life.