Thursday, April 26, 2007

Treehugger: Propping up Coke, Not Publishing Comments

last night i was checking out this post on so i decided to comment making some critical remarks about coke, but the comment never got published. there are other comments published so i know it's not a technical issue. treehugger, WTF? my sister, ashley, from also commented and did not get published. below is the comment that she wrote:
That's great that their "going green" in one office building. What about their bottling plants all over the world that deplete ground water? What about their millions of plastic bottles which are shipped far and wide only to feed sugar water to the world's poorest and pollute their streets and communities? Maybe they should invest that 3 million into educating themselves about their own deplorable environmental record.

Treehugger, while I appreciate most of your blogging efforts, it pains me to see the lack of critical thinking in reporting these stories. Where is the context? If we continue to see efforts like this as moving forward while ignoring the bigger issues that set back efforts to make a safer, greener world, wouldn't that be called 'green washing'? If TH continues to dumb down real environmental problems with companies like Coca Cola then TH is just a part of the problem.

i had a great conversation with some vloggers on twitter about this. thanks for that guys. and while i think it's an overall positive that a company (or rather certain people in a company) realize it's imporant to go green, that certain other people in that same company need to change more than just their building, they need to change their business practices as well. max and stacy from karmabanque radio always have an interesting take on how to get corporations, esp coke, to change through boycotts and the power of the stockholders. go check them out. also check out this wikipedia article on people's criticisms of coke.

what do you think? let's have a conversation. that's why i have a blog, so we can talk back and forth. treehugger is usually pretty good about that. i'm surprised and disappointed that they are choosing to shut the conversation down before it can even begin.

UPDATE: a few hours after i posted this, some comments on treehugger's article are being published. good on ya, treehugger.


Enric said...

Interesting. I didn't know this much about Coca-Cola or TreeHugger before. I wonder if your blog link to TreeHugger will go into their trackback comments. :)

B said...

Coca Cola has a long history of screwing w/ people, whether it's environmental destruction or human rights violations. This is a good site to get people started as well:

Education can help free us and others, but we have to have open ears and, apparently, open comments.

David Meade said...

I cant believe they killed your comment.

For a site "striving to be a one-stop shop for green news, solutions, and product information" ... you'd think they wouldn't be so quick to censor what aspects of a story can be discussed.

Jay Dedman said...

I know some people are saying that it's good for Coke to do something. That we shouldn't bitch about Coke doing something good. Fair enough.

But we should definitely have a conversation about this. Treehugger needs to publish all related comments ...or they should just become a PR website.

Kent said...

There are some good reasons to be skeptical here w/ these huge megacoporations.

And if TreeHugger is indeed outright censoring dissident perspectives, then that's whacked and certainly needs to be called out to be a little bit more transparent in their moderation.

But here's some things to consider:

* In this age of spam, comments not getting published can be due to any number of reasons -- like being in moderation, getting caught in a filter or accidentally thinking you're bypassed their captcha. All of which has happened to my own comments and so I'm cautious of being quick to jump at the censorship assumption.

There's also lots of chatter w/ what a website owner is liable for in their comments, and so the bigger they get, the more they may be worried about getting sued for libel, which is another possible explanation.

Transparency is the best solution here to maintain trust, and TreeHugger needs to be clear as to what they're up to and why.

Also, it's still an open question whether or not Coke is really Greenwashing here.

Just because they've done bad stuff in the past and we have reason to not trust them doesn't automatically mean that they're not making a good faith effort to change.

What we really need is an independent third-party verification mechanism like what is done with Fair Trade, Organic foods, etc.

I'd like to see a seal of approval from someone I trust to know that they're walking the walk and not just talking the talk.

But you're right to be skeptical, and TreeHugger should definitely open up the dialog for these points especially if they didn't include them in their original context.

ryanne hodson said...

UPDATE: a few hours after i posted this, comments on treehugger's article are being published. good on ya, treehugger.

jonny goldstein said...

Very interesting! It's great that you are drawing attention to this. Maybe Coke will change its ways if enough people start pointing out their icky practices.

Jeremyinc said...

I think as long as coke is making millions of dollars they wont really care, when they lose money because of it, then they change their practices. Vote with your throat! stop drinking the beverage, it's the only way

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Serra said...

that's really aggrivating. if you're accepting comments, accept comments! I'd actually never been to treehugger before, thanks for bringing it to my attention along with this issue.

Lloyd said...

I tripped over your post and thought I should comment, as I write for treehugger. (and complained about Coke yesterday, we all have different views)

Treehugger authors are responsible for approving comments for their own posts. Most do this part time and do not get back to them sometimes for a couple of hours, so there are are often long lag times before posts go up.

I have approved posts that call me names and completely disagree with me and think I am an idiot, but if there is no swearing or selling I approve them. I think everyone at TreeHugger does the same.

And Coca-cola is not green no matter what they do to their building.

regards, lloyd alter