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MSC is, like virtually all such labels, a marketing tool. Somebody figured out that people want to feel good when they buy stuff. That is, they don't want to see themselves as part of the problem. That is, they are delusional, and need to be handled with care.

Problem 1... virtually everything companies sell (and that people buy) is prima facie disastrous for the planet. Problem 2... as delusional as people are, they fundamentally do no trust major corporations and won't believe anything they say (well, not much).

Solution... get an "independent" rating agency to "certify" that something is Good, so the great hoard of "consumers" can feel good lying to themselves. This is what is known in Capitalist Society as a Business Opportunity. So, we create an organization, create the label, sell it to the companies (accompanied by "promises" of future change, but with no requirement for actual change), who can then slap it on whatever they sell. Now the public can buy that product, secure in the knowledge that they are Part Of The Solution. Everybody wins.

Except the planet, of course.

And the beat rolls on...


Capitalism has capitalized on that warm glow...and that's just good business. I would say something about it, but Slavoj Zizek already said it better:


Alexander Ač

To all.

I (still) work at the Global Change Research Centre in the Czech Republic. Of scientists working there (I am not mentioning administration and other stuff - there is much less interest in everything), I am the *ONLY* one really concerned with climate change. No one ever talked about peak oil (except of my monologue, of course), no one ever looked much concerned about financial crisis.

I was trying to talk about these things in the past, but it usually ended up with "I am a pessimist" or something like that (as if I am talking bullshit). I was talking about things that mattered to NO ONE. I was STRANGE.

Now, these are all intelligent peole, not exactly typical consumers. But there you go. Most of them have cars for everyday commuting to work.

Everybody works on his/her own (scientific) career, taking care of his/her own family. I am a loser, talking about environment, energy, and economy. Who cares...



Dave Cohen

@John WDB

That's a great video. I highly recommend it.

-- Dave


Gotta laugh. In what way is the MSC certification not outright FRAUD against consumers? Endorsing and labeling seafood as sustainable now when it may be found to have been 'sustainable' at some undetermined time in the future??!

Their propaganda video, complete with hyno-trance music, could have been made by Leni Riefenstahl.

John D

I also heard this story on NPR and also was flabbergasted. Guess pretty soon we'll all be fighting over the last scraps of 'sustainable' seafood. I also read that Iceland has pretty much said screw you to European fishing quotas in the North Sea.


Of course, I meant hypno-trance. That music sure dumbed me down.


Sustainable Skiing...came across this last week...SnOasis, indeed:


For more Slavoj, here's "First as Tragedy, Then as Farce" from which RSA produced their animate:


Eric Thurston

In the food industry you also get the pure BS of labels like 'Heart Healthy'. The food producers pay the American Heart Association for the privilege of using this label. Totally meaningless. Similar BS for the American Diabetes Association. Actually, one could likely do better by doing the exact opposite of what these organizations recommend. At least we should try to do our own research into these things.

Julian Bond

This all just reminds me of John Brunner and "The Sheep Look Up" from way back in the early 70s. There's a corporation in the book that sells ethical, organic, "safe" food called Puritan foods. As you'd expect they're simply too big to be actually doing that and it's all a lie. I have the same problem with most of these labels. Especially as there are certifications in the UK designed to appear organic, safe, sustainable, responsible and all those other buzz words but which actually just mean legal.


On why modern environmentalism fails, and can only fail in the big picture (although with minor successes), in this economy:


Dave Cohen


See this DOTE post--


-- Dave


The birth of suckers continues. THEY are a sustainable species. So are con artists born to take their money.

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