Every Drop Is Greenwashed

In today’s installment of “Consumed,” New York Times Magazine writer Rob Walker shines a light on FIJI Water’s attempt to paint itself green. It’s not an easy task for a company that ships a heavy product in plastic containers many thousands of miles to market.
“Any time you see negative stories in the press, you have to figure out how to respond,” says Rob Six, FIJI Water’s vice president for corporate communications.
One response is to launch a site called FIJI Green, complete with a blog where fundamental tenets of ecological thinking are challenged head on.

We here at FIJI Water hear a lot of complaints about “food miles,” ours in particular. The concept is that the longer your food travels, the worse it is for the environment.
We think this is a load of hooey…and so do scientists who have studied lifecycle carbon footprints. The key word here is lifecycle – how a product is developed or packaged, what the transport mode is, and other factors can have a far greater impact for better or worse than the mere distance traveled.

People commenting on this post take FIJI Water to task. Luizhou says, “Fiji Water’s attempts to project a green image is nothing short of hilarious.” But it looks like FIJI Water is getting the last laugh. Their sales volume was up 30 percent in 2007, and the company says the brand is experiencing double-digit growth this year.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.