Yesterday I opened my Sunday supplement to find a double page ad featuring these two quite incredible looking BMW electric cars. "Wow!" I thought, until I noticed they were both concept cars. Digging a bit deeper, I found that BMW hope to have a production version ready by 2013.
Hmmm. Is this greenwash I asked myself (and Twitter)? Is it within the rules of green marketing to show a work in progress in such a prominent way? After all, the project could be quietly shelved before it comes to fruition, but the reader would be left with the impression that BMW is "doing something green".
But the bigger issue is the difference is whether promises count, as opposed to results. As I explain in The Green Executive, the green business battle line has moved past promises, commitments and speeches to delivery, results and installations. It is no surprise that Toyota has topped Interbrand's Top 50 Green Brands 2011 - they've had the iconic Prius hybrid on the road since 1997, not floating around in concept land.
As that battle line inches forward, what used to be regarded as good green performance is now seen as old hat. And it is not what you intend to do that matters, but what you have done.