How many of you (non-Americans) know of Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax,” the loveable, furry orange, ultimate tree-hugging champion?
How many of you went to see the new movie in the past few weeks?
Then surely, some of you must have heard about the somewhat odd controversy surrounding this movie’s marketing campaigns by various corporate sponsors. It’s funny to begin with of course, that a movie character defined by his resistance to corporations’ greed and their historical disregard for the environment’s health, should be endorsed by a long list of corporations at the same time! Smells like greenwashing?
Not so fast. Experienced sustainability pundits like Marc Gunther have noted appropriately in articles about the issue that the judgment of a “sell-out” can seldom be made in a black and white manner. More precisely, given that we had a big set of corporations sponsoring this movie, some with better CSR/sustainability records than others, the question seems if it is possible to call the Lorax a sell-out or an earnest effort at corporate responsibility in general. Also, how can we test the effectiveness of so many companies involved in such a veritable “CSR smorgsabord”?
I guess you could call this the “Lorax Test.” What does it measure, you ask?