Friday, May 8, 2009

the world is in trouble - i need to go on a diet

I cam across this headline from the Sun, Fatties cause global warming whilst browsing Martin Smiths updates on Overweight people cause over a BILLION tons of Co2, the article says. And then there is a picture of a polar bear looking all forlorn on a melting block of ice. Talk about emotional blackmail.

So I guess i am in serious trouble. Another reason to start that long overdue diet again. The tomorrow diet. Not only am i overweight, i am the cause of global warming. Will my kids ever forgive me ? Will polar bears become extinct because of me ? Will the world ever survive my ice-cream binges and my chocolate cravings ? I take comfort in the fact that the sum of our individual actions can never be enough to resolve our climate issues -it's a SYSTEMIC problem which has to be fixed by all of us acting together.

So i took a stroll to the Weightwatchers International dot com website, the specialists in weight loss in groups. "Each week, approximately 1.5 million people attend approximately 50,000 Weight Watchers meetings " Now, if each of these people lose 2lbs a month, thats 36 million lbs in weight loss and i bet that would offset my few extra layers of puppy fat.(Yes, it's still puppy fat ). Perhaps Weightwatchers could offer a carbon trading program, so that i dont need to actually diet, i can just buy back some weightwatchers carbon credits. How cool. Of course, the problem with weight loss is that it tends to creep back again - but let's not go THERE. Not a thing about Corporate Social Responsibility on the WW website. They obviously havent picked up on the PR value of marketing WW as a climate change program and not just a weight and health thing. Phew.

A Company who does address obesity as part of its sustainability program is Unilever. You can download a report on the 10 major food companies and their approach to obesity from the Unilever website here. This is a very interesting report on all the facets of tacking obesity from the way product R&D is driven , marketing, especially to children, and transparency and disclosure. Danone, Unilever, Nestle and Kellogg score well on addressing and reporting on obesity as part of their sustainability strategy.

Ok, so now i have confessed my personal embarrassment at being the cause of global warming, i think i deserve a little low-calorie snack. Where did i put that chunk of triple-layer smooth-fudge whipped-cream-topped high-density chocolate cake ? hmmm ?

elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm based in Israel. Visit our website at:

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