Wednesday 30 March 2011

Ecoinomy - Ecosystem - Economics

It is worth taking a look at the Ecoinomy website, they are a company purportedly setting out to help businesses become more 'sustainable'.

The main motivating force they are appealing to to get clients on board is the bottom line: money and profit. Their messaging is so explicit, it is almost painful, they might even fall flat on their face as a result. What particularly disturbs me is their hi-jacking of the word and concept of Ecosystem. Check this out from their website:

The eco.system. What's that? What's in it for me?

For a small monthly sum per employee, we will bring our unique ‘eco.system’ into your workplace. Not only will this help you begin to comply with the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme regulations, it will also repay itself many times over as your employees begin to see the fun in behaving in a greener way, are encouraged to interact with each other (particularly between departments that previously had nothing much to do with each other), and find their morale and motivation growing. As a recent survey observed, a highly motivated workforce is 84% more productive than one that isn’t. Imagine that translated into profits. What a happy manager that would make you, especially as Ecoinomy and our eco.system will also lift an astonishing amount of responsibility from your shoulders.

The linguistics here are appalling. Talk about appealing to and reinforcing damaging 'self-enhancing values'. To learn more about the dangers of this read up on the Common cause report. The rest of Ecoinomics site including this video explains their concept a bit more. Aside from the outrageous abuse of the meaning of the word ecosystem, Ecoinomics seems to me to be a classic example of businesses being encouraged to ask 'what can sustainability do for me', rather than 'what can we do for sustainability?'


John Grant said...

Hi, thanks for raidsing this - we will relook at the linguistics on the website, it is obviously targeted at business clients but wasn't intended to offend the green movement (I know the authors of the common cause report and am actively involved in debates on all this stuff with Tom Crompton et al). If you are prepared to have an open mind why don't we have a call or meet for cup of tea (dep where you are)? You might be pleasantly surprised,
best wishes, John Grant
co-founder Ecoinomy and author Green Marketing Manifesto and Co-opportunity.

Morgan Phillips said...

John, I appreciate you getting back to me. I am in London and yes, would be good to chat sometime if you're local? I am also involved in taking Common Cause forward and understand the challenges for businesses as well as Civil Society Organisations. I can't see why your model won't work while you also take on board the very serious points made in Common Cause. I certainly have an open mind and would like to help if I can. Please contact me via