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Articles by Auden Schendler

Auden Schendler is vice president of sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company, author of Getting Green Done, and a board member of Protect Our Winters.

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A friend who recently bought a Subaru emailed me a link to the company’s heavily promoted new environmental initiative, which is front and center on its homepage. With a video titled “Who We Are Is What We Leave Behind,” it has committed to helping make the national parks waste-free, meaning it would send no solid waste to the landfill: Everything gets composted or recycled. That’s pretty cool. And Subaru makes a great product: Its cars are solid and safe (the Legacy was the only non-giant and non-hugely expensive vehicle to log no road deaths for model years 2009 through 2012) and are the go-to vehicles in snow country. The mileage is decent as well: New Outbacks boast a newly improved 33 mpg on the highway.

So here’s a question: Why is such an obviously well-managed company using an outdated, nice-but-irrelevant, and ultimately cowardly approach to cause-marketing, at the exact time when the country, the world, and the auto industry needs bold leadership? I’m talking about the fact that by focusing on solid waste (a third or fourth order problem, at best) in national parks, Subaru neatly dodges any controversy (what’s not to like about helping our national parks — whic... Read more

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