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Monday, October 24, 2011

Strategic CSR - Nascar

The article in the url below about how “going green is good business for gas-guzzling Nascar”  leaves me torn. Part of me wants to laugh at attempts by Nascar to introduce green initiatives (up until 2007, Nascar cars were still driven on leaded gasoline) when the purpose of the sport is to burn through huge amounts of gasoline driving round and round in circles (i.e., going nowhere), while another part of me thinks that at least something is better than nothing:

While the core of the sport remains unchanged, Nascar, its teams, track operators and sponsors are employing an ambitious set of green initiatives that includes collecting used fuel, planting trees to offset carbon emissions, and deploying sheep to keep the infield grass short.

While it is fine for Nascar to focus on “cutting costs by recycling, conserving and generating its own energy,” it seems something else altogether for them to promote themselves as “environmentally friendly.” The business advantages (if they can get away with the greenwashing), however, seem self-evident:

Going green not only saves money [“tens of millions of dollars in costs”] that can be spent on drivers and cars, but it has also created new revenue by attracting sponsors to Nascar that want to trumpet their eco-friendliness to the millions of fans who watch races on television and at the track.

Nevertheless, such initiatives are gaining support among environmentalists because of Nascar’s widespread popularity:

[Activists] support these efforts not just because of the volume of resources consumed at stadiums and at arenas, but also because so many people watch sports and are likely to follow examples set by the players, teams and leagues. This may be particularly true at Nascar races, where the event itself is about consumption. … Indeed, the greening of Nascar is a sweeping undertaking because so many people attend so many races in so many places, at tracks that are turned into small cities with all the associated problems of garbage, water, power, sewage and air quality.