Sunday, March 9, 2008

Fool miles

On the plane to Cairo today, I distractedly followed the tv. There was an advert with a man at a supermarket till and he was buying stuff, and instead of registering money, the screen of the till was showing miles. It looked like this: cheese spread: 10 miles, chips: 5 miles. I thought: "wow, the airline is now running ads to show the carbon footprint of food (food miles). It must be their way of using the great whitewash of corporate social responsibility against global warming. Anyway, its better than noting: will serve to promote local food systems." It turns out the ad was for a new credit card promotion program that gives you air miles if you use your credit card to pay for grocery in the supermarket. So not only does the ad promote supermarkets versus corner shops (which do not take credit cards), it also encourages the purchase of long-distance hauled foods and promises to emit even more CO2 in return, by encouraging free airline travel.

1 comment:

Leila Abu-Saba said...

What do you want, my friend - if you fly in an airplane you will view ads geared to people who fly in airplanes.

Although I'm not sure how else you're supposed to get to Cairo - the train stopped running in 1948, and while there are boats to Alex, I'm sure they are not regularly scheduled or even taking passengers. One day in our lifetimes it would be nice if we could drive down the coast or take the train, but I don't know if we shall see this...

If you want ads for corner stores and local food you will have to read the local neighborhood newspaper, right? The mega-corporations are not going to promote sustainable alternatives, not unless they get something out of it.