Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Vanity Fair's misstep on the 2008 Green issue

While Miley Cyrus's photoshoot maybe the talk of the hallways over at Vanity Fair, I think they have bigger problems - that of leadership. This month every magazine had their version of a Green issue. Finally, it seems that the wake-up call to protect the environment and reverse some of the damage we've done is reaching the mainstream. Last year I was so impressed withVanity Fair's Green issue that I subscribed to the magazine. When this year's Green issue arrived in my mailbox, I couldn't wait to read through it. And now I'm completely confused.

In spite of all of the incredible innovation and creativity happening in the world of sustainability, this year's VF Green issue simply rehashed the same old topics and players that have been kicking around for years. I didn't see anything about entrepreneurs with green-collar jobs, young companies that are making a big difference (i.e., Method), the growing popularity of CSA's, or the locavore trend. All of these are timely, trendy topics in Green. Rather than the fine reporting I've come to admire in VF, this issue's features are pretty much the same as those found in nearly every mass media source. 

And then to add insult to injury, there's a double-sided, heavy stock coupon for cigarettes right in the middle of the magazine! I guess I'm supposed to feel better that at least the tobacco is "additive-free", the coupon is printed on recycled paper, and the executives at the tobacco company are "passionate about the environment" and have organic growing programs. Gross - the ad was an exercise in how many environmental buzzword the company could haphazardly throw together on one sheet of paper.  Their product still causes illness, and is not part of a healthy lifestyle. Healthy living is exactly what Green is all about! What was the VF advertising department thinking when they accepted and prominently featured that ad? Clearly, they weren't thinking at all. 

Here's to hoping that VF makes better choices in the 2009 Green issue and that the rest of us take-away the power of being genuine. The damage being anything less than genuine can cause is not something any company can afford.

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