Thursday, 11 February 2010

Crédit Agricole - Green Washing

Sean ConnerySean Connery via

I have to admit to finding the Sean Connery-voiced Crédit Agricole TV advertisements mildly annoying. The theme is consistent - scenes of awful doomsday industrialisation are played over Sean baby's trademark Shcottish vocal - in fact, he's hamming it up so much that he sounds like a cheap voice-over artist trying to sound like Sean Connery - and then suddenly, with the exhortation that it's 'time for green banking', we're shown 3D animations of some mad bastard's nightmare 'green world' where people are made badly out of polygons and all surfaces are rendered using 1980s graphics technology.

I've been meaning to take a look at the company's website for a while now and find out quite what 'green banking' is. And now I know. It's rubbish.

Crédit Agricole does nothing that any other major corporate wouldn't do. It's got a diversity program. It's carbon offset. And it finances wind farms. That's about it - and pretty much any large financial or other corporate today would be in a position to make similar claims. In fact, Crédit Agricole's own 'green banking' website lays claim to 'green banking' as an 'alternative way to conduct banking business' on the following three pillars:

Its origins. Crédit Agricole was founded by the merger of local banks dedicated to providing finance to farmers. Seriously - this is CA's primary claim to being a greener bank than others. The idea that French farmers are green is mildly interesting given that they're lobbying for the introduction of GMOs and are more agri-industrial than they are cutesy organic homesteads.

Its organisation and culture. There is no reason given on the website why Crédit Agricol's organisation and culture are in any way 'greener' than anyone else's. In fact, there is no reason given whatsoever for any green credentials to be attributed to the bank's organisation and culture. This would likely be because Crédit Agricole's organisation and culture aren't really 'green' in any meaningful way.

Its identity. And here, ladies and gentlemen, is the payoff. Crédit Agricole is green because its identity is green. We're green because we say so is the message behind all of those millions and millions of dollars in international advertising.

Behind Sean Connery's trademark lishp is that one marvellous message. If you've got enough money, you can just repeat unsustainable assertions at your compliant audience and they will eventually come to accept your liesh.

Jusht shay it will be sho and it will be sho...

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Sharon said...

I don't get why any bank or finance entity goes for Celebrity endorsements. Frankly, hearing Sean Connery shill for CA, or seeing Shah Rukh Khan's face emblazoned all over any ICICI branch makes me less likely to want to bank with them, not more.

jenna said...

I think nobody can be brief as like your post! Thanks for your info.

green planet

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