The Green Awards are back this year with a vengeance, providing a call to arms to the worlds of business and advertising. ‘Wake up and save the planet’ is the message; how this message comes across will be revealed at London’s Guildhall on 26th October 2007.
Once again, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is an institutional partner of the event: “Usually UNEP, which is a global organization, only associates itself with international awards, but the Green Awards are unique,” said Eric Falt the Director of Public Communications, before expressing a wish to see the scope of the Green Awards go global in its reach and ambition. “It is only through collective awareness that we can tackle the threat of climate change”, he continued. However, this collective awareness has certainly not reached critical mass yet, it seems.
Back in May the citizens of the world were invited to pay attention in some small way to the plight of the planet. The International Day for Biological Diversity is a worldwide initiative designed to draw attention to the perils facing our delicately balanced networks of species. Inviting people to play a small but significant part in helping to preserve our myriad forms of biodiversity, is one means of facing the most serious threat to the health, security and basic resources that modern man has ever faced, with the possible result being extinction.
Last year UNEP, along with other luminaries of the green revolution such as Tony Juniper from Friends of the Earth and government representatives such as Ian Pearson MP Minister of State for Climate Change and the Environment assisted the Green Awards in their goal of enlisting advertising, marketing and communications professionals to promote the sustainable development agenda. In our role as consumers we are bombarded daily by messages from various media with the message “spend, spend, spend”. However, if last year’s Green Awards is anything to go by, the message “save, save, save” will be planted more firmly in the public consciousness. Save the planet, save our selves, S.O.S.!
With the rise of the conscientious consumer, businesses are gearing up to be seen to play their part in changing the status quo however, the prevalence of green-wash is becoming more obvious to savvy customers. It is, or should be, the role of advertisers to drive this change in public awareness for the greater good, and uphold the highest ethical and sustainable principles with a deep, abiding and green-wash free commitment.
The balance between profit and the planet needs to be redressed, and the media and advertising industries are primarily positioned to assist this.
So will they?
Last year’s Green Awards saw winners awarded prizes at the Guildhall by Penney Poyzer, in front of an audience of the ‘green-glitterati’, with the panel of judges this year including representatives from the World Wildlife Fund, Friends of The Earth and the BBC. According to Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth: “The fact that the Green Awards are taking place right here in the City of London, where the Chancellor of the Exchequer normally addresses the city leaders is a sign of the times: (being green) is moving mainstream and it’s not a moment too soon.”
To find out more about the Green Awards 2007, see the website at www.greenawards.co.uk which has all the information on how to enter.