05/17/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Greenwashing Politiku

The celebratory Guinnisses many of us enjoyed on St. Patty's Day were green but not in the way that New Belgium --with their solar array, packaging hall made of beetle kill pine and Team Wonderbike-- is every day of the year.

The dayglo utopian landscape and Esperanto derived language of Avatar were delightful. It was, nevertheless, difficult to take its environmental theme seriously when the production make no effort to walk the walk that the screenplay's talk hit-you-over-the-head with.

While expecting Fox to manufacture 3-D glasses using pressed corn to show a large scale audience one of the myriad options available to manufacturers might seem unrealistic, the production evidently managed to successfully push the outside edge of the envelope in other ways.

Warner Brothers, by comparison, boasts a LEED silver certification, award winning recycling programs and EPA partnerships. I learned about Warner Brothers sustainability initiatives from Shelley Billik, their Vice President of Environmental Initiatives, when she spoke at The Sustainable Industries Conference.

The conference, which travels the country, might be one of the best resources out there for learning how companies of various sizes and with various limitations proactively integrate sustainable initiatives into their practices. The Santa Monica conference took place in January and Paul Hawken and Arianna Huffington were keynote speakers there. Their Rocky Mountain region conference will take place March 25th in Denver and Paul Hawken will keynote again.

In their defense, neither the green beer nor the blue aliens claim anything beyond their surface color or theme. They represent greenwashing more in an allegorical sense than in a literal one.

Having been exposed to genuinely sustainable retrofits while covering this topic for the last year, however, I find it difficult to go back to my previous mindset. As a result, I'm continually noticing the trail of missed opportunities that companies, not actively striving to be part of the solution, are leaving behind. This includes excellent fodder for Politiku.

Inspired to share Politiku with his Bainbridge Graduate Institute class, regular Politiku contributor, Michael O'Brien corralled several MBA candidates, specializing in sustainable business practice, to try their hand at Politiku. In a condensed period of time and with the usual syllabic restrictions, here is what each of them had to say about greenwashing:

Michael O'Brien Politiku
Natural seems so
Innocent, then you realize
Mercury is too

Antonya Pickard Politiku

Aren't there any regs?
Confusion is tantamount
Forest for the trees

John Rhoads Politiku
Awash in green stuff
One feels like it's all for show
Are they ever real?

Ryan Arnold Politiku Politiku
Lies for benefit
Do Gooders misled for money
What goes around comes back

Kim Powe Politiku
"It's green!" "It's clean" He
would never lie to us, right?
He works for BP.

Julie Roulette Politiku
How tasty a meal
Warm steaming bites of not true
Green Washed eggs and ham

Mauri Parks Politiku
Lies and deception
No sustainability
You will be exposed

Alex Moore Politiku
Mean green oil machine
I mean Energy Company
With a big bright smile

Shannon Palmer Politiku
Attracted to Color
Believing you mean it so
Find out you lied - grey

Moura Quayle Politiku
Hollow business
Hiding behind CSR
Fooling nobody

Susanna Speier Politiku
Where are the "green jobs?"
You know, the "recovery?"
Branches are still bare.

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