From: Bruce Sterling <>
Subject: Viridian Note 79 : Virtuous Corporation
To: Viridian List <>

Key concepts: clean power, corporate responsibility, people who wear Birkenstocks

Attention Conservation Notice: It's virtuous, worthy and dull.

Entries in the Viridian Couture Contest:
(not a legitimate entry as it has no graphics, but interesting anyway)

This contest is now closed. A winner will be announced shortly.

(((After the sinister political antics of the "Greening Earth Society," it's pleasant to contemplate people in business who care about global warming and try to do something practical.)))


"Green Mountain Energy(SM) Signs First Large Commercial Customer for 100% Renewable Energy

"Birkenstock Footprint Sandals, Inc. Chooses Wind for the Future 2.0(SM)

"SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt., July 19, 1999

"Green Mountain Energy(SM) has signed Birkenstock Footprint Sandals, Inc. as its first Wind for the Future 2.0(SM) large commercial customer. Green Mountain Energy(SM) will serve Birkenstock's U.S. corporate headquarters and distribution center located in Marin County, California, and its premier retail store located in San Francisco."

(((Marin County and San Francisco. Where else? Really.)))

"Wind for the Future 2.0(SM) consists of 100% renewable energy -- 25% of which will come from newly constructed wind turbines as they become operational. Both of Green Mountain Energy(SM)'s electric blends, Wind for the Future 2.0(SM) and 100% Renewable Power 2.0(SM), are dramatically cleaner than typical California power."

(((Plus our so-called "electric blends" feature that annoying and novel (SM) registry mark!)))

"The announcement was made at the Birkenstock Store located in San Francisco, with Birkenstock President Margot Fraser, U.S. Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson, and Green Mountain Energy's President of the Western Region, Julie Blunden."

(((It would have been worth attending this event just to see a federal Cabinet official ditching his wingtips and trying on Birkenstocks.)))

"'We chose Green Mountain Energy(SM) because of its commitment to building new sources of renewable energy,' says Margot Fraser, Birkenstock President. 'Being a leading company in the switch to renewable energy, we hope we'll raise awareness that choosing environmentally sound practices is here and now. It's an important message for our company, for our customers, and for other businesses as well.'"

(((We can expect the Greening Earth Society to swiftly launch a coal-powered countermove. "As a Republican ultra-rightist free-marketeer with a paranoid anti-Kyoto foreign policy, I insist that my footgear should consume as much fossil fuel as possible.")))

"'The new partnership between Birkenstock and Green Mountain Energy(SM) is just another example of how electricity competition encouraged a choice to those looking for an alternative clean and efficient energy source,' U.S. Energy Secretary Richardson said. 'Today's announcement demonstrates the possibilities when a successful footwear company and an electricity provider find common ground in the movement to restore a balance between the needs of humanity and the needs of the environment.'

(((That's some golden, mellifluous rhetoric there, Mr Secretary.)))

"'Birkenstock's commitment to the environment is reflected in its manufacturing and corporate practices, its use of renewable resources, like cork, in its shoes and now its selection of Green Mountain Energy(SM) as its energy provider,' says Julie Blunden, President of the Western Region for Green Mountain Energy(SM). 'We're proud to be the energy provider of choice for Birkenstock.'"

(((And who wouldn't be proud? And hey, Julie, thanks for name-checking our cork!)))

"Other organizations that have chosen Green Mountain Energy(SM) as their renewable energy supplier include the twelve churches from the Episcopal Diocese of California, the UC Berkeley Students' Cooperative Association, the Union of Concerned Scientists located in Berkeley, California and Real Goods Trading Co. of Ukiah, California."

(((This news means that, somewhere out there in California, is a Birkie-wearing, Episcopalian, UC Berkeley student. She shops at the local co-op, and orders all her dorm stuff from Real Goods in Ukiah. And she's a science major, to boot. This means she is the greenest, most energy-correct personage in the whole USA. Okay, so it's self-parodic and innately hilarious -- it's got to start somewhere, people.)))

"Secretary Richardson recently announced a new Energy Department initiative to dramatically increase the use of wind energy to five percent by the year 2020."

(((The Clinton Administration has a political genius for making five percent changes in twenty years seem 'dramatic.')))

"Green Mountain Energy(SM) customer demand for wind power has resulted in the construction of three large- scale turbines in San Gorgonio Pass located in Southern California, one of the most energetic wind sites in the country."

(((Okay, I admit it -- as a nouveau-riche design freak, I wouldn't be caught dead in Birkenstocks. My idea of a good time pedally is a $300 piece of high designerese lunacy like But next time I buy shoes, I'll make a point of asking, seriously and with a straight face, "Are they wind-powered?")))

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