Green me up, Scotty: William Shatner targets Hewlett-Packard for toxic waste

4. 8. 2009 -
When the employees of Hewlett-Packard checked their messages yesterday, they got a bit of a shock. William Shatner (or Captain Kirk as most of us still like to call him) had left each and everyone of them a pre-recorded message, politely expressing his regret that the company had failed to keep its eco-promises.
"This is William Shatner speaking," he begins, with all the brisk efficiency that led us to follow him through galaxy after galaxy on the USS Enterprise. "You, HP, promised me a toxic-free computer by 2009. Now my friends at Greenpeace tell me that I'll have to wait till 2011. What's up with that?" He goes on, in his masterful yet diplomatic way, to suggest they ask their "leader" to make computers that are free of brominated flame retardants and PVC plastic, (as they promised) and gently reminds them that Apple seem to have managed it. He winds up, as polite and simultaneously authoritative as ever, by wishing them all "an enjoyable day". It is a bloomin' masterpiece.
The whole thing was set up by Greenpeace, which also climbed up onto the roof of the HP building and painted – in absolutely enormous writing which could certainly be read from the Enterprise – the words "Hazardous Products". Brominated flame retardants are chemicals added to products to stop them bursting into flame. Once in the waste stream they are potentially toxic for humans and animals, and are banned in some European countries. Alternatives are available and used by other computer manufacturers. PVC meanwhile has long been an environmental sore point and campaign issue for Greenpeace in particular.
This action also bears the thumbprints of Phil Radford, the new head of Greenpeace US, who has a lovely dry sense of humour, and who – I would bet anything you like – has watched more than a few episodes of Star Trek in his time. He will have calculated that HP employees are extremely likely to be Shatner fans themselves, and may put a bit of internal pressure on the management after this little prompt from their hero. And he also will be well aware of the power of a star like Shatner to get coverage for an issue. Look, after all, here I am, covering it.
There are times when using celebrities to campaign just grates. Oh but there are times when it is sheer genius, symbiotic perfection. Don't you think?


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