Interesting news from the toxic chemical/environmental charity front (there’s a sentence you never thought you’d read, huh?): The Clorox Co. recently struck a partnership with Ecorazzi-featured charity the Sierra Club, in which the eco group has agreed to promote a Clorox line of environmentally-friendly products in exchange for a share in the profits. However, now some members of the group are crying foul, and officers in northern Michigan have even quit over the deal.
“They sold their soul to the highest bidder,” said Monica Evans, who helped reactivate the club’s nine-county Traverse Group in 2000. Evans and the Traverse Group’s other five executive committee members resigned in May, recently making the decision public. “The Sierra Club has been fighting against Clorox for decades, trying to get them to be responsible,” Evans said. “Now we’re partners with them? It doesn’t make any sense.”
The deal has sparked hot debate among the Sierra Club’s members, who balk at the idea of a profitable partnership with a company named one of the “dangerous dozen” chemical companies by the Public Interest Research Group in 2004. PIRG contended in the report that Clorox’s handling of chemicals at U.S. production facilities left some 14 million people vulnerable to contamination in the case of an accidental release.
Clorox’s line, called Green Works, is its first new product line in 20 years, and contains no phosphorus or bleach, instead using natural cleansers and ingredients like coconut and lemon oils to clean the bathroom, kitchen, glass, and other surfaces. The bottles are recyclable and will bear the Sierra Club logo.
So on the one hand, you’ve got progressive green consumerism, and a big company taking steps towards sustainability, which could encourage other companies and consumers to do the same; on the other hand, you’ve got the Sierra Club taking money from a corporation that uses toxic chemicals in some of its products. I tend to be wary of corporate sponsorship of supposedly grassroots organizations, but to be honest, the Green Works product line sounds pretty rad. Dilemma or no-brainer?