“Sustainable” Is The Marketing Word Of The Day

In the older days, whether selling detergents, applicances or food products, marketers often used the slogan: “new and improved!” to con consumers and to boost sales. The German online DIE WELT reports that companies have changed their marketing slogans to make their business more profitable and sustainable. The new slogan used to pitch products today is:

Almost every conceivable company is jumping on the enviro-bandwagon and claiming their products or services are “sustainable” and thus good for the planet, no matter if it’s an automaker, coal power plant, or an investment instrument. The “sustainable” product is better and safer for the environment. The movement indeed is religious. DIE WELT writes:

You can now invest sustainably, and even fight dandruff in a sustainable way.”

Well, I turned off the light in the room next door, and so now I’m blogging sustainably. In fact I just changed the slogan of my blog. I’m the first climate blogger to blog more sustainably – the world’s most sustainable climate science blogger. Blog here! Going to any other climate sicence blog means you’ll be ruining the planet.

Misuse of the word

As DIE WELT writes, not everyone is amused about companies slapping the “sustainable” slogan on the packaging of their products, and claim it borders on false advertising in many cases. (Not me. I really am blogging with the light off and drinking tap water). Author Ulrich Grober has written a book on the history of sustainability, and is quoted by Die Welt:

Indeed even oil companies like BP use the word “sustainable“ in their annual reports. ‘Recently in Switzerland the most “sustainable” autobahn of all time was inaugurated“, says Grober. it clouds the meaning of the word.’ “

Experts say the word “sustainable” is now being used so often and so incorrectly that it has virtually lost all its original meaning. Sociologist Klaus Kraemer says the word “sustainability is now being used in political debates as the ultimate moral argument. “Whatever is sustainable is not to be questioned.”

Use of the word “sustainable” is dangerous

The term being misused is one thing. But using the word for the purpose of marketing may be “dangerous”, says chemist Michael Braungart. Die Welt quotes Braungart:

The concept is backwards-looking and puts the brakes on creativity because it is connected with feelings of guilt.”

I agree with that. If you don’t buy a product that is labelled as “sustainable”, then you are someone who is harming the planet, and so you ought to feel bad about it. That’s how a religion works. So in the end, I think there is going to be a backlash with respect to this blind sustainability movement. The whole thing is rather Medieval. Back to the Dark Ages.

Educated consumers really ought to feel insulted

How do I feel when I see the “sustainable” slogan being targeted at me? Of course it annoys the hell out of me because I feel the seller of the “sustainable” product assumes that I’m actually stupid enough to believe all the CO2 nonsense. I’m insulted that they’d treat me like that. I’m not a blind zealot in a cult. It’s a slogan that maybe works well with morons, dupes and religious greens. But it certainly isn’t a way to communicate with people who think for themselves.

The enviro-sustainable hacks and bosses behind this movement don’t even believe it themselves. See how they jetset all over the world and live lavish lives while raking it in as duped consumers gobble it up. To the half-witted believers out there – wake up – you’re being duped by this utter nonsense.

To my loyal readers, please do not think that I’m targeting you with my new slogan. I know you don’t believe the CO2/sustainability crap. The new blog slogan is aimed solely at other people, like dana1981.

(PS: Actually I have the lights on – and it’s daytime.)

29 responses to ““Sustainable” Is The Marketing Word Of The Day”

  1. DirkH

    The real joke in the article of Die Welt is this photo gallery where they tell how much water is used for the production of everyday items.
    Computer chip (2 g weight) : 32 liter
    Beef Hamburger: 2400 liter

    That sounds like Germany still hasn’t recognized what Monbiot already noticed – that Pimentel (notorious Malthusian) was wrong by several orders of magnitude when he said that it takes 100,000 liter of water to produce 1kg of beef.


    That’s why i get my news from America and the UK.

    1. Bernd Felsche

      2g of computer chip uses 32 litres? How come it doesn’t weigh at least 32 kg?

      How much water does a whale “use”, swimming in the great oceans?

  2. Bernd Felsche

    One wonders how they can sustain the lie.

    1. Bernd Felsche

      I should have thought … stupidity is infinitely sustainable.

  3. M White

    Sustainable fuel


    wooden construction debris, food waste, woodchips, agricultural biproducts, green waste, etc.

    to produce gas and liquid fuels.

    1. DirkH

      This drives up the prize for all wood products, especially chipboard and laminate, so expect the prize for newly constructed homes to go up.

      This has already happened in Germany – German makers of chipboard are driven out of business as they can’t compete with imported chipboard. Reason: Wood waste has become extremely expensive as it is compressed into wood pellets and eco-crazy customers have installed wood pellet heaters by the thousands.

      So, in a “sustainable” economy, we have to burn all the wood, leaving only more expensive alternatives for construction… Concrete? Emits CO2 in its production. Steel? Needs an enormous amount of energy.

      Another interesting distortion of free markets.

  4. dave ward

    It might be the latest word to become overused, but it’s not the only one. “Turbo” seems to be applied to all sorts of products, even those with no obvious spinning blades – like shaving razors, for instance!

  5. R. de Haan

    As if we have a water shortage!

    Sustainable is the major weak spot of the Green Industrial Transformation.

    It will accelerate our fossil fuel use, it will accelerate our consumption of rare resources, it is economical totally impossible and way to costly.

    How sustainable is that?

    1. Beano

      Jevon’s Paradox

  6. R. de Haan

    I wonder why they didn’t mention the amount of water, oil and natural gas that is needed to produce a liter ethanol from food crops.

  7. Carl

    I saw a chocolate milk drink today in my shop and it was printed on the side: “Cocio (the name of the brand) supports the sustainable growing of cocoa beans in Ivory Coast”.

    What does that mean and one more thing, isn’t there a war going on in that country?

  8. John F. Hultquist

    I thought a quick search on Google might reveal an odd or humorous use of the word ‘sustainable’ and I could report on it. My search returned about 86,900,000 results. When I’ve finished reading them, I’ll get back to y’all.

  9. Tim Whittle

    The word Sustainable and the concept behind it is something I find more than devious. Sure, it sounds lovely, but where does it go?

    At some point in the near future, we will have some Government hack deciding what level of use of resource “X” is Sustainable. They will also therefore decide who can use it, when, and how much.

    People have already been sold on the word and the concept. I’m afraid.

  10. DirkH

    Recently, there have been signs of sanity at Der Spiegel. But now they have produced one of the worst computer modeler arse kissing article in quite a while. Of course about the bogoscientists at NCAR, Boulder Colorado and their climate model simulation of 100 Hiroshima bombs.


  11. DirkH

    And while we are having the weakest solar cycle of the last 100 years, here’s an article of ftd warning of terrible eruptions wreaking havoc with human civilisation.


    Lordy mine, it looks like a concerted effort to lower the standards in already abysmal German journalism. Or maybe it’s all some Ersatz alarmism – maybe they suffer from the death of AGW.

  12. DirkH

    Germany: Polls indicate that the Green party is losing approval, the SPD gains and is now the strongest force on the left. SPD 28%, Greens 16%. Bad enough, but it looked much worse in autumn. The SPD is at least capable of not wrecking the economy instantly, should they ever come to power again.


  13. Bob in Castlemaine

    The only improvement I could suggest is that you brand your product(s) as both “Green” and Sustainable.

  14. DirkH

    Re the blog slogan (he really did it! Didn’t notice it at first.) Maybe add a “zero-carbon”. After all, TCP/IP packets are made of electrons only, so it’s not a lie. And your blog is not the first sustainable blog: Here’s for instance “Bonnie’s sustainable blog”, last post 2009:

    (Looks like he couldn’t sustain his blogging.)

  15. R. de Haan

    Bob in Castlemaine
    28. Februar 2011 at 00:38 | Permalink | Reply
    The only improvement I could suggest is that you brand your product(s) as both “Green” and Sustainable.”

    You can do that but I won’t buy them.

  16. Edward.

    All in the name of sustainability.

    They jet off to Cancun, stay in 5 star hotels, drink imported mineral water from New Zealand, talk utter bollocks about the ‘sustainable’ electric car and the glorious carbon footprint ‘benefits’ of wind turbines and gloss over the fact, that they are imported from the most polluting country on the planet – all in the name of ‘sustainability’.

    Foxtrot Oscar to: ‘sustainability’, keep those lights burning PG!!

  17. DirkH

    O/T Fritz Vahrenholt, head of RWE Innogy, warns against collapse of East German and Hamburg grid due to Wind overcapacity.

    He says: On strong wind gusts in Eastern Germany, 12 GW need to be moved. The East Germans consume 4 GW themselves, 5 GW can be sent through the 3 Interconnectors to Western Germany; the remaining 3 GW threaten the Eastern grid. So the 50Hertz Transmissions GmbH sends alarms out, as e-mail and Fax, ordering the 1500 wind generators to reduce output. Most of them adhere to the command, some don’t, as they don’t get paid for energy they don’t deliver.

    New interconnectors (highest grid hierarchy level, highest voltage) are urgently needed but cannot be built fast enough, as planning one always leads to the formation of protest initiatives and years of controversies.

    Nuclear power cannot be switched off in Eastern Germany to compensate for the wind energy oversupply – there is no more nuclear power in the Eastern grid (we have switched off the old RBMK-1000 Soviet reactors after reunification and never replaced them with W German tech.)

    The buildup of eco energy continues unabated with 1GW/year in Eastern Germany. The situation becomes more critical by the day.

    1. DirkH

      Oh – and Poland and other neighbours of E Germany have already made clear that they have no interest in East German power surges to be exported into their grids, thank you very much Sir. This is no surprise – they all have been members of the Warsaw pact and inherited a very bad infrastructure, so they probably have enough problems of their own modernizing their grid.

  18. Pointman


    Re elections: The Green party in Ireland just lost all of their six seats in the parliament! Could this be the start of the end in style content-free politics?



  19. R. de Haan

    Three lies that prove the scam (the wind power scam that is)

  20. DirkH
  21. Ike


    ever heard of this story?


    “CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A Massachusetts biotechnology company says it can produce the fuel that runs Jaguars and jet engines using the same ingredients that make grass grow…….”

    this would explain the push to tax co2…………. hmmmm


  22. Doug Proctor

    Sustainability. Green. Being Kind to the Planet (capitals important).

    Propaganda: dumbing down words and thoughts to produce the “correct” thinking and induce the “correct” behaviour in other people. Our world ticks along on this basis. Even the word “good”, by being derived from “God”, as an association with the qualities of God, comes from us telling other people simplistically how to be in this life: if you do not act as though their God is within you, you cannot be “good”.

    The use of induced righteous indignation to get some to change what others do is at the heart of all our social programs. We go to war to give others “freedom”. We sign up to “punish” those we have never met for harm we have never seen. We are aroused to do some thing for the benefit of others when what we’d really like to do is weed the garden, have a beer and go to bed early.

    The one benefit of the warmist/green forces in over-using words like sustainability is that they cause their meaning to disappear. After a time nobody believed the slogans of Lenin or Mao. Force was the only reason the words kept being spoken. Like Global Warming becoming Climate Disruption, the term “sustainable” will drift away – because it is hollow.

    That is the fact of all the Global Warming propaganda: it is hollow. We don’t have a problem with, “Non-lethal”, or its reverse, “Poisonous”. Those describe things that are concrete (and falsifiable). “Sustainable”, “Global Warming” are both non-concrete things. Where are they? How do we detect them? They are invisible and shifty.

    With time they will go away. But, going to the Lenin/Mao example, if force is allowed to be used – read legislation, here, with policing/punishment powers – it will be much longer than we’d like.

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