Sunday, 4 January 2009

More Green Crapital

The Independent on Sunday is the latest media outlet to fall for Bristol City Council's specious Green Crapital propaganda. Today's edition says -
Bristol is set for a boom in responsible city breakers, having just been shortlisted as the first European Green Capital. It has proportionally more open spaces than other UK cities; many hotels and B&Bs committed to the Green Tourism Business Scheme; great local farmers' markets; it occupies pole position as the UK's first official Cycling City; and Bristol is also home turf of both the Soil Association and Sustrans, there's plenty to attract green-minded visitors.

So let's have a look at those "many hotels" committed to the Green Tourism Business Scheme. Checking 'Green' businesses for Bristol, we find just 11 businesses listed in all (although only 3 are in central Bristol, most being on or beyond the urban fringe). Three of the 11 are "awaiting grading" which suggests that you can sign up for it without first being assessed - hmm. Seven of the 11 are hotels, one with a gold award, three with silver, one bronze and two awaiting grading, although only three are in Bristol proper and only two are central, so not a lot of choice after all for anyone travelling in a 'green' manner.

Taking a closer look at the one hotel with a gold award, we find the Cadbury House Hotel and Country Club conveniently located for Bristol at, er, Congresbury. So how 'green' is that? Let's see what the hotel has to say for itself via the blurb on the Green Tourism Business website -
Cadbury House Hotel, Health Club & Spa is a stunning luxury 4 star contemporary chic hotel. Set amongst a backdrop of woodland on Cadbury Hill, the hotel can boast unrivalled views across the Bristol Channel and beyond into Wales. Staying at the hotel enables you to enjoy the Cadbury experience – stay in comfort & luxury in one of our individually designed bedrooms that offer extreme comfort in contemporary surroundings, features the most modern technology and amenities within a contemporary and luxurious design. Guests can enjoy complimentary on-site car parking and a fantastic location with easy access to M5 and Bristol International Airport, fine dining in our 2 AA rosette restaurant and first class table service offering food all day in the bar and a multi award winning health club and spa in the club. A fantastic venue whether you are staying on business or leisure.

Nothing that I can see giving the slightest hint of it being 'green', except in the sense of it being in a visually green setting. Remember this is what the hotel itself has chosen to highlight for the Green Tourism Business website. Their own website is even worse, boasting of being "only minutes from M5 motorway junctions, Bristol Airport and Bristol City Centre" - yes, they market themselves as an appropriate place to stay for the city centre! Perhaps they are assuming you will wish to avail yourself of their on-site luxury car hire with their "fleet of Mercedes, Audi and Chrysler saloon cars".

The fact that the Green tourism Business Scheme have seen fit to award this hotel - this exemplar of conspicuous consumption and irresponsible self-indulgence, this major generator of car traffic and panderer to air travel - a gold rating shows what cynical sophistry the whole Bristol Green Capital scam is based on. They don't merely take us for fools but imbeciles incapable of discerning the most blatant lies and deceits. And when we see once reputable organisations like the Soil Association and Sustrans lending their names to such garbage we can only conclude that their assessment of our moral and intellectual faculties isn't far off the mark.


Anonymous said...

I think you'll find "sustainable marketing" is going to be the next big thing in marketing circles.

It's so new it doesn't have a Wikipedia page yet. But it's basically the latest corporate fad after Corporate Social Responsibilty and Societal Marketing. The Societal Marketing Wikipedia page helpfully tells us, "The societal marketing concept was a forerunner of sustainable marketing in integrating issues of social responsibility into commercial marketing strategies."

So there's plenty more of this crap on the way. But don't worry give 'em a few years and they'll find a new way to sell us stuff we don't need.

MJ Ray said...

I've emailed the indy's travel pointing them to this website. I wonder if they'll react.

Anonymous said...

“plenty more of this crap on the way”

Yes indeedee, here we are in Bristol city centre …“ a new benchmark in sustainable office development”. Cheesy or what? And how many overpaid wonks did it take to dream this one up, I guess we’ll never know.

Handy location though, right next to last year’s still empty new office building (it was money for someone) … oh and just across the road from several other office blocks that are … guess what … empty!

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