The Celebrity Spokesperson

While Al Gore is understandably lonely within his club of Academy Award winning, ex-Vice President, Harvard- educated, climate change experts…I was interested to see who else might be on his speaking tour. Jeremy’s Powerpoint slides make reference to Ray Anderson, who is another superb spokesperson for the SD effort (and not just because he’s a product of Atlanta, Georgia!)
The YouTube video of an interview with Ray Anderson can be found here. If I remember correctly, the first excerpt was taken from the movie ‘The Corporation’.
In my opinion, Mr Anderson provides an excellent speaker for this cause because he continues to work ‘inside’ the system. He is perfectly situated as a successful businessman who was initially skeptical, yet is able to describe explicit examples of how his company, Interface, utilized SD efforts to improve profits. Anderson is audibly passionate about his goal of ‘zero footprint’ from his organization as he describes how customer questions of their behavior in 1994 led to his company’s establishment of an ‘environmental vision’.
Anderson also spends considerable time in additional interviews referencing inter-generational distributive equity, often referring to industry’s ‘plundering’ of available resources with no concern for future populations. He helped fund ‘Alliance to Save Energy’, which includes helping children establish energy saving campaigns in their respective schools.
Anderson could charge admission to his speaking engagements based on his success at Interface alone. His immediate credibility with the business community make him an excellent representative for the SD cause. While scientists may hold the most expertise, they may be deemed obscure to the uninitiated. Remember, Phil Knight would have been happy to tell us that NIKE manufactured the best shoe for sport…but it wasn’t until Michael Jordan told us, that an empire was born.
– Mike T

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Posted in corporate sustainability
3 comments on “The Celebrity Spokesperson
  1. jeremy says:

    PR is everything, and never more so than in the digital age. I agree with your assessment of Ray Anderson, and can say so from personal experience, as I heard him speak at a business luncheon in Brisbane a few years ago. He is an excellent evangelist within the business community, but I think the SD movement lacks a “Michael Jordan” type character to connect with the 16-25 age bracket.

  2. Angelina says:

    Just read the piece on Ray Anderson and have to comment on the contrast between recongition he received from people, governments and business community for doing concrete, specific and not easy to implement measures to reduce environmental impact from the carpet manufacturing business and Al Gore, who is such a self-imposed hero, spinning a good cause to promote himself, his election campaign, and his hopes to run for the office in the future. The difference between ‘talk the talk’ and ‘walk the walk’ public fugures emphasises that to achieve a market-based greenery (i.e. specific corporate policies) and to impose particular pollution-control technologies should be more respected and applauded than good-looking politicians in their self-promoting movies.

  3. adam says:

    Agreed with your need for a strong leader for the SD movement. Wasn’t Al Gore formerly known as the ‘most boring person in the world’…we didn’t get the best candidate to head this movement for certain, but I’m sure he can spell environment now!

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