Big Business Stupidity

I received a gift from my employer yesterday, a desk calendar, made from recycled paper and decorated with stylised wind power turbines, extolling our credentials as a ‘green’ organisation. Sadly, the positive statements about what we do don’t quite match reality.

2008-calendar.jpg

According to the quote from our CEO we

“[have] been an environmentally sensitive company for decades;” which he’d know first hand, having been here for four years.

“it’s simply part of our culture and DNA” actually I thought our culture these days was about cancelling employee benefits for anyone earning less than a million dollars a year.

“We take a leadership role in climate change initiatives and we will continue to seek innovative ways to reduce our carbon foot print” Translation – no more air conditioning or heating for you peons, and if you leave the lights on you’re fired!

The fact is, we make stuff that is chock full of toxins, take a lot of resources to produce and consume a heap of power while they’re in use. The stuff is then disposed of every three to five years, usually through dumping or by sending it to the third world for “recycling”, and replaced with newer crap. We’re a lot better than we were in the past, but we’re hardly farting rainbows and daisy chains.

We also have a problem when it comes to delivering products, customers constantly complain about our excessive packaging. One of our most famous examples is sending this box

hp_packaging_1.jpg

to deliver 32 sheets of A4 paper.

And my personal favourite is this item, which weighs less than a kilo, but was dispatched on a pallet.

hp_packaging_redux.jpg

Of course, this all probably makes sense to whoever came up with the idea of sending a desk calendar to every employee of a technology company, despite the fact that we all have PCs running Outlook in front of us for hours a day and most people are expected to hot desk anyway.

Update: Actually, it doesn’t seem to be recycled paper after all, it just looks like it is.

6 thoughts on “Big Business Stupidity

  1. Yes, along with cancelled bonuses, cancelled Christmas parties, cancelled training for the next six months, and a promise of no pay rises for the next year, this desk calendar has gone a long way to reinforcing my understanding of how my employer regards not just me, but all of my co-workers too.

  2. Do you feel some companies are using the financial crisis as an excuse to cut costs beyond what is necessary by taking benefits away from the ‘underlings’? I bet they’re not cutting back on exec salaries & perks.

  3. Without question. As I mentioned here, we received emails detailing our record earnings and our company wide cutbacks within hours of each other. The irony, of course, being that knee-jerk cuts put employees into a financial squeeze which then exacerbates the broader economic problems.

    On the up side, vacation homes have tumbled in price, so our corporate overlords can have somewhere nice to wrestle with their consciences.

  4. Dave, if any of those “masters of their own destinies” read this, they’ll probably have to scramble for a dictionary to decipher the word “consciences”.

  5. Actually jr I don’t think that’s true. They’ll get their Personal Assistants to look it up for them, send it to legal to see if it affects them and then read the briefing note that comes back.

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