GREENWASHING ENABLED BY CELEBRITY HYPE

Long gone are the days when I didn’t research my favorite celebrities. One such favorite was Emma Watson, who was announced as the new muse and ambassador for Prada on August 18th, after asking on their Instagram stories ‘’who is she?’’ as if we didn’t see her the last 20 years, she is not a newbie.

My first thought was ‘’wait, Prada was rated by Goodonyouapp as Not Good Enough, so the perfume must be shady as well’’ and I was right. Prada’s fragrances are not cruelty-free, not even the latest release called Paradoxe, as in they could be tested on animals such as bunnies whether directly by the brand or indirectly by suppliers or third-party, they even sell in mainland China, where such tests are still required by law.

Emma Watson and Prada wanted to come across as sustainable in the new behind the scenes video. Yet, only the 100ml bottle of the perfume is refillable. Ethically all available 30 and 50ml bottles should also be refillable in Prada stores(later edit: Prada customer service confirmed via chat support that all sizes are refillable, a refill is sold separately and offer refills in stores). They failed to explain what exactly is sustainable about Emma’s self-image campaign advert, which barely featured the perfume(Paradoxe) she was expected to sell/promote(later edit: in Emma Watson’s refill tutorial she says a % of glass, metal, plastic and cardboard are saved).

Three photos of Emma leaked already, which is surprising to me, even the behind the scenes video was not posted by official accounts which showed lack of professionalism handling the campaign(later edit, only the teaser and bts were posted by the muse). Emma Watson did fire her Prosper PR team after she received backlash over black squares posted on her Instagram account. She must have thought she has the last word when she posted black squares recently, on the same Instagram account.

All so called luxury brands want to be perceived as sophisticated, expensive, yet testing on animals is an unnecessary practice, they could have easily said a firm ‘’NO’’ to selling their products where such practices are still required, but one can guess business and profits are above the ‘’do not harm’’ principle. If they wanted to be sustainable they would have taken action in that direction. This is another example of greenwashing enabled by celebrity hype. Is it really luxury if animals are slaughtered for a perfume?

Photo by Mack Breeden.

Emma herself is not an (eco)activist as she flew during the pandemic for leisure, feminist(slut-shamed women at 17 and was named in the Panama Papers with an off-shore company among many other unethical things) or anything close to sustainable(she is mostly papped shopping for fast fashion for which there’s plenty of photographic evidence, never for a book, music or art supplies).

I wonder what happened to ”we have so much power to change the world just by being careful in what we buy”(February 2019 on Goodonyou) and ”I have committed to only purchasing and wearing brands that are rated ‘It’s A Start’  or above, as I want to be able to support brands moving in the right direction.”(Vogue UK 2020) as most of her sartorial choices were rated Not Good Enough by the same company she endorsed(search a brand here).

Lack of a PR team means that news of her relationship with Brandon Green(son of Arcadia Group owner P. Green) overshadowed the news of her Prada collaboration, this relationship alone shows where her priorities are. A paradox – so the name of the fragrance fits Emma like a glove. She even has a diva reputation for being rude, dismissive to fans as young as 6 years old, to journalists since she was 11, to everyone from film crews, other actors, film extras, restaurant and festival staff to her own drivers to whom she had a tendency to yell at, a snob in public(from people who met her in Oxford, Headington School, Oxford Uni, Brown Uni, HP premieres, out and about etc.).

She clearly chose prestige and money over values. The Female Lead was right to advise young people to choose a role model carefully because Emma is clearly the opposite of one. Her image was built by her former PR teams and perpetuated by the media(which we know is an illusion). I’m not falling for greenwashing enabled by celebrity hype anymore. Thanks to the internet for enabling me to get better informed!

FRANCE BANNED PLASTIC WRAP FOR FRUITS AND VEG – AND SO SHOULD WE

Back in 2019, I saw this story and thought just how beautiful this Asian supermarket looked, with all fruits and veg wrapped up in banana leaves, and the difference it makes! Our global stories are chocked by plastic containers and wraps, and this is one of the solutions which worked for them, so I wonder why our European stores can’t switch to beeswax food wraps which are natural and reusable, and they are easy to find on Amazon for example.

Photo credit: Perfect Homes Chiangmai

It would make a tremendous difference in the pocket of plastic manufacturers, I’m sure of that, but since we’re phasing out plastic might as well switch to manufacturing beeswax wrappings, if they would actually do market research and listen to the results(give them a hand Kantar). France is ahead of the sustainability game, as the country banned plastic wrap for fruits and veg to eventually go plastic free by 2026, and so should we! This ban took effect on Jan 1st, 2022, according to GMO Free USA’s Facebook page. Spain is also set to follow suit in 2023.

Free the cucumbers! Now if you happen to shop in France, you won’t see around 30 types of fruits and veg in plastic packaging, like peppers, cucumbers, leeks, which are my pantry favorites. The Guardian reported that producers are allowed to take their time to find alternatives to plastic packaging for chopped and processed fruits, which is disappointing, do we really need chopped fruit? Moïra Tourneur advocacy manager at Zero Waste France(NGO) had the same feelings saying ‘’ Giving more time for certain fruit and vegetables is a bit of a shame.’’ You really can’t buy whole fruit and chop it at home? Let’s tackle all aspects of consumerism not just the convenient side.

Soon to be historical photograph of strawberries in plastic cups, by
Julia Filirovska for Pexels.com

Last December, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminded New Yorkers that ‘’State’s ban on expanded polystyrene foam containers and ‘packing peanuts’ begins Jan. 1, 2022’’, and learned from Commissioner Seggos that ‘’Nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers already live in communities that are ‘foam free’’ and I think we can learn from how they do it. Plastic wraps and packaging are mostly unnecessary, and don’t prevent waste, but the contrary, Wrap UK found.

So what do organisations do with all this plastic swimming around? Two friends were on holiday in Julie’s hometown of Marseille noticing that the sea looked different than the postcards, and decided to collect plastic found in the sea and turn into magical sneakers, under the name Corail. Corail is a brand that employs fishermen to pluck out plastic waste which then is processed and turned into sneakers by an artisanal workshop in Portugal. What’s even more beautiful is that once the sneakers are at the end of their life, worn out, they can be recycled and processed again by the brand. It lights up my soul that there are people out there working on making the world a better place for us all, a shoe and a cup at a time.

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER SHOOTING IN THE US

Sacramento, California had a rough Sunday last week. Then Dallas, Texas saw a shooting a few days later. So how many more shooting should happen before gun ownership is restricted? Apart from the mass shootings we see happening in the US, according to data provided by gunviolencearchive.org, in 2019 there have been 23,941 suicides by gun alone, for 2020 that data is pending. A graph shown by The Trace revealed that gun deaths have risen, from 16,000 in 2019, to over 20,000 in 2021, using data from Gun Violence Archive.

In the Sacramento shooting case arrests have already been made, where one of the suspects had an early prison release, convicted on domestic violence and assault. The Dallas case is looking for suspects. My immediate thought was how come they can get a gun so quickly out of prison? Surely, psychological testing needs to be made mandatory when a citizen applies for gun ownership as well, and to frequently pass these tests, to prove they are mentally stable. Access to guns shouldn’t be so easy either. The American Psychological Association(APA) thought the same and developed a framework for practitioners when conducting firearm psychological evaluations. My question is whether this framework is actually used?

Photo by cottonbro for pexels.com

People who are mentally unsound still own a gun in the US despite the federal law prohibiting it, and around the world, some are political leaders, playing with weaponry like toy. The problem with the USA is it is comprised of 50 states and each state has its own laws like you can see here. It is probably a headache to get all state governors to agree on one law for all states, because they are mostly men ‘’in charge’’, AP reported as of 2021, only 9 women served as governors. We can only dream of a world led by women, it would look and feel amazing.

My second discovery happened to be from Statista, the ‘’Number of people shot to death by the police in the United States from 2017 to 2022, by race’’ – that graph has an unknown race section that I’m more intrigued by, particularly the 2021 spike indicating 608 deaths people in charge and researchers should know more of, but it doesn’t disclose whether we are looking at police gun violence or accidental shooting. I don’t think we as a collective forgot about George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

I mentioned psychological evaluations for citizens when they apply for gun ownership, which should extend to police officers, as it makes sense to have tests every 6 months, not just when they start their careers. If they already do, why did George Floyd and Breonna Taylor happen, and continues to? I take a guess that nothing will change until it turns into a personal crisis for politicians. Until then, American children(but not of the rich) go through active shooter drills in school to prepare them for ”in case when”.

What your favorite part of this post? Let me know by dropping a comment!

Photo link: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-yellow-and-white-labeled-paper-3926747/

PESTERING WOMEN TO BECOME CRIMINAL OFFENCE

I can’t remember anything else to shake and shock the internet quite like Sarah Everard’s murder, last year. She was a 33-year old woman, a marketing executive, who walked home from her friend’s house, the same evening a police officer decided to kidnap, rape her, kill her and dispose of her. Nobody is ever safe, no matter the time of day and location, especially if you are a woman walking alone.

Good news is that new laws are going to be introduced to tackle violence and sexual harassment against women, question is – when? I found that penalties for non-compliance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 will be introduced ’’when Parliamentary time allows’’(2021 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery, p.9) so God knows what physical laws governs Parliamentary time, especially when it comes to protecting women, we all know Justice is blind.

Photo by Anete Lusina for @pexels

Victory does come true sometimes, like in Gina Martin’s case, who made upskirting illegal in the UK and it is a criminal offence. She really told women ‘’Don’t accept assault as ‘part of life’ as a woman.’’ which inspired my choice of the photo. Because too often women choose to stay silent, because we’re gonna think nobody takes us seriously, or that we won’t be believed, but that because we talk to the wrong crowd!

Pestering women is set to become criminal offence too, and it would be perfect if Parliamentary time would accelerate for the new laws to be passed, as ‘’a public sexual harassment offence which doesn’t currently exist’’(Ladbible) and it’s about time it did exist. Women should be able to walk alone in the evening and not worry about their safety, but when?

THE INTERNET, SOCIAL MEDIA AND ITS INFLUENCERS

Back in October 2019, when I was approached by Lauren, who is now Head of Content at the Female Lead, and told me my page(emma-watson.net) was a positive example and that they want to collaborate, it reminded me of what I promised to do to my colleague, Michael, the webmaster of the site(promote, expand, create). We are now onto the fourth campaign.

The first campaign’s message told youngsters the importance of choosing a role model or influencer who is great for their mental health. The Female Lead run their own research because the founder is so smart she sold a global data company to Tesco and has many other great contributions(see here). Through a study ran in schools across the UK, they found that ‘’a causal relationship exists between following positive female role models on social media and having higher, focused personal and career aspirations’’(The Female Lead – 2019 Research).

The internet is in dire need of some sort of policing, we have way too many ‘’influencers’’ who sell weight loss teas which can cause kidney failure and other conditions, unhealthy beauty standards – tell me Jennifer Lopez doesn’t use filters! Yes she does, and she’s still beautiful, but tell me why most public figures are lying about their use of plastic surgeries? UK lawmakers did ban the use of filters from being used to promote skincare and cosmetics and were assisted by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

#DisruptYourFeed this #IWD2022 – The Female Lead Artwork.

Youngsters need to be shown and taught the importance of logic when choosing a role model from the online environment because all these things and people are shaping their subconscious mind, which then trickles down to affecting their way of thinking, their character, behaviour and personality, their realities, with effects on their self-worth and self-image which you can see how deep it goes! It would greatly help their confidence if they are reminded that often heroes are right next to them, living in their boroughs, maybe teaching in their schools, they may never be seen or celebrated online or on television.

The internet won’t go away, but we can teach how it can be used in a good way. I remember my parents never used a pc when my father first bought ours, so they weren’t in a position to teach me and my brother about the existence of porn and its dangers to young minds, potential toxicity of social media. For example, I was a chat moderator on emma-watson.net around 18-19 years old and was baffled about young folks lying about their nationalities as if it was a shame to tell the truth. I was often asked why I am open that I am Romanian which blew my mind, like why shouldn’t I? My favorite was noticing internet relationships between people who never met.

This #InternationalWomensDay2022, we should be mindful where we focus our energy on, and in whom we invest our attention. I nominate @PRAcademy, @_EmmaDrake, @LynseyWatt for empowering me, for support, great content and teaching. Who do you nominate?

WHAT I WORK ON AS A YEAR 3 STUDENT

My work now as a student in year 3 is divided in 3: the final major project(dissertation), a PR campaign for the Solent Business School and a report for International Marketing.

The dissertation. I am glad I helped my self in year 2 when I picked several topics and o they were ready to go in year 3, semester 1 when I was deeply clueless(oh so relatable?). My chosen topic is modern slavery and how Public Affairs can help lobby and pressurize governmental bodies to improve and toughen laws to eradicate it. Yeah, I chose level ‘’tough one, mate’’, but it’s interesting from an ethical and human rights perspective. For this research, I had to test interest and was surprised that Public Affairs professionals were willing to help me out. I will soon take part in the FMP survey internet flood Storm Eunice style, I’m preparing it for now*:P

PR campaign. Our brief is Help To Grow: Management and our client is Solent Business School. This one was a novelty for me because we got to meet our client via Microsoft Teams since me and a colleague are off-campus and came face to face with their needs and wants related to the campaign. Anne Gregory would be happy to know that out of her 10 step planning model the most useful were her book(Planning and Managing Public Relations Campaigns – A strategic approach) and the ‘’Review’’ step which the Wilson Model by Robert L. Heath didn’t have. Why wait and the end of the campaign to see that objectives could have been changed? That is why feedback is gold.

Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

International Marketing. We are asked to choose a company and a product to penetrate a new market(a country), then come up with a strategy, objectives, tactics, the whole lot as if we are working on that project live. I chose Disney with Disney+ streaming service because Disney was familiar to me from the Ethics essay I wrote on them and my opportunity is that they aren’t available in Romania. Out of the several lectures and seminars we had, I enjoyed the one on Globalization the most. Our professor Martin Senior, does quizzes at the end of the slides and the Globalization lecture had the most interesting quiz. It was fun to do as an off-campus student. You know when some professors are worth their weight in gold, right?

Personal life. I’m eyeing all those PR courses once I get my degree. I know I want to do a master in PR as well. I know I want to always be the best I can be. I’m always doing trainings for my own holistic business and the training I’m doing now are focused on how to sell on social media and oh, boy it’s an eye opener! I wonder what present PR professionals loved when they were in university, what modules they loved, their first job in the industry, who gave them their first break, their proudest moments, that would be so much fun, a great idea for an online event. Learning about the people behind the profession is what I am aiming for.

WHAT NOT TO DO ON THE DAY JOB

Paul Morgan-Bentley went undercover for The Times to work for the biggest delivery company in the UK – Hermes ‘’which delivers online orders for retailers including John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Next, amid a surge in complaints about packages being late, damaged or lost’’.

For some couriers it wasn’t clear what not to do on the day job clearly, especially with smartphones around, some missed the memo on how to handle parcels on their first day. The Times posted a video showing couriers going off on the parcels, throwing them around, and after I scrolled to marvel at the whole post, I wanted to have a look at the comments, because that’s where the juice is.

Several users wrote in their own experiences with the company and showed photos of their parcels, or their broken wine glasses. Even after showing the broken glasses there had to be someone to comment that ‘’Your items were improperly packaged.’’. My issue with that is, if I order from anywhere they already know how to package and label their product to land to my house safely so the comment is insensitive to the situation of others.

Clearly, the problem is Hermes(who by some search online is not affiliated with the luxury brand Hermes we know of). I have been blessed to have amazing couriers who know me by first name and greet each other every time we meet. Is it really frustration to work overtime unpaid?

Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

It shows there is no respect for the work, the company and no Fs given about the customers and there are ‘’n’’ reasons for that. I think those big supermarkets should really take a decision as to whether to continue working with them if nothing ever changes. Why would M&S tolerate a business partner who may not pay their workers living wages and treat parcels this way? It comes down to business standard which makes everyone involved look bad. If they are looking at the posts from The Times and not feel appalled there’s a big problem.

Instead of firing them, which should be a last resort always, they should get therapy, anger management sessions. IF they refuse then ‘’sign your resignation’’. With additional sessions for the Board of Directors and executives, managers who watched this going on and left them do it.

Whilst I scrolled through the thread there was a comment on alleged driver interference with vehicle monitoring systems: engineers ‘‘do high level of monitoring of drivers BUT in vehicle there seems to be higher level of failure of equipment than anywhere else! Driver interference suggested’’, isn’t that illegal? Even more than tampering with the parcels anyway!

To conclude, no company should get away with paying low wages(Hi Pretty Little Thing) – it’s one of those things that shouldn’t ever exist. It’s one of the causes I wish governments would take a stand for. Hermes just happen to be caught on video but as others pointed out in the comment section, that behavior like this happen at other courier services. Maybe toughening the laws and applying them would be the cure for this and some really big fines to finally learn what to do on the day job.

THE RIGHT TO PROTEST

Google defines protests as ‘’a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something’’ and we have seen loads of protests around the world fighting mandatory vaccinations(Germany for example). We do have the right to protest. Waves of protests spread after George Floyd died with  the knee of an officer on his neck.

Wanting to have your home insulated is fair. I remember when here in my hometown of Brasov the City Council approved a plan to insulate flat buildings and ours was included and even upgraded building windows on each floor. The insulation did what it was supposed to do, so I understood Insulate Britain in that perspective.

Then I read more about them, and how their staged protests around London and Port of Dover saw multiple roads blockaded and I thought it was an extreme measure. The governments don’t love protests of any nature or cause because it makes them look bad. But there have always been protests, I remember reading that plebeians in Roman times would often leave the city leaving patricians to fend for themselves which wouldn’t work because they didn’t want to do more than pouring their own wines(nowadays they own lots of bottle openers).

Markus Spiske for PEXELS.

Insulate Britain did more than mere protesting lack of measures from the government to insulate homes, they blocked roads in a series of civil disobedience ‘’until the government agrees to fund the insulation of all homes in Britain’’ – ‘’by 2030 to cut carbon emissions’’. ‘’Our flesh and blood are being tossed aside as expendable.”(Tracey Mallagan’s words) yet we have to think, if I were to need to get to the hospital to give birth I would have been stuck in traffic which is mind blowing, and all other emergencies that happen on a daily basis, what about those lives?

The outcome of such behavior? The government proposed a new bill called ‘Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill’’ which was already rejected by the House of Lords which then made its way back to the House of Commons. This bill wanted to give ‘’police new powers to stop protests in England and Wales if they are deemed to be too noisy and disruptive.’’ which doesn’t sound like it had balance as a factor. How much power should they have? Especially after Sarah Everard’s murder….

Citizens should keep their right to protest, but in a peaceful way which guarantees nobody gets hurt nor dies due to blocked roads, as Liberty Human Rights puts it, there are limitations to the right of protesting in certain circumstances such as ‘’pursue one or more of these aims: the interests of national security or public safety, the prevention of disorder or crime, the protection of others’ rights and freedoms.’’ which clearly weren’t considered by Insulate Britain.

I do fear that we will lose all right to assembly, protest and raise awareness to causes slowly if it becomes law.

CHILD MARRIAGES – WHY DO THEY EXIST?

I heard of child marriages from Emma Watson, who visited Malawi in 2016 with the United Nations, as she was serving as Un Women’s Goodwill Ambassador. Malawi, a Southeastern African country, ‘’passed the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act, raising the minimum age of marriage to 18’’(UN Women). Emma did go there to meet a chief and celebrate annulled marriages and girls who have returned to school.

But what about England? We white people love to look in other parts of the world and point the finger ‘’You! You over there, end child marriages! It’s wrong!!’’ but what if this happens in your own home?! It should be an attitude of ‘’Let’s end child marriages home first then show other countries how to do it and help out’’.

Last year in November, Karen McVeigh for The Guardian wrote about The Parliament was about to vote on a bill on banning child marriage in England and Wales, as parental consent may cover physical abuses.

But the most staggering data from the article is this: ’’Between 2007 and 2017, 3,096 marriages involving children aged 16 and 17 were legally registered in England and Wales, according to the Office of National Statistics.’’(The Guardian, 2021).

Just to put things in perspective for you, it is legal for a 16 or 17 year old to marry if they have parental consent, but that sounds to me like a perfect cover for arranged marriages which reminds me of India. Some arranged marriages did work out in history, like Princess Marie Alexandra Victoria of Edinburg who became Queen Marie of Romania, who wed Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Romania, back in 1893(first she refused to marry her cousin, smart woman, important dating tip to all royals).

And another disturbing fact comes from Sky News, who gained access to call logs belonging to Karma Nirvana charity, hearing how a 7 year-old child is at risk of being forced to marry in the UK to save the family’s honor. What would happen to their childhood?, because they for sure would be forced to start their sex lives which is way to early and would traumatize them for life. At seven they should not lose their innocence to nonsense.

One can only hope UK does put an end to child marriages by rising the minimum age to at least 20 years old, so that other countries can have UK as an example.