Sustainable Kidnapping

“The Sustainable Kidnapping project promises to always return victims in better condition than when they were captured, for a kinder, gentler kidnapping experience.”

The other day while watching random youtube videos (and being super productive) I stumbled upon this video. This is an episode in a series called “Thingstarters” by Above Average Productions, a series of parody kickstarter videos advertising various spoof products, including Sustainable Kidnapping. I found this episode to be entertaining as well as an interesting comment upon the sustainability movement and the way it is used by companies to influence the public’s opinion about their product and its sellability. In the video, two kidnappers discuss their Sustainable Kidnapping program, in which their victims are bettered throughout the kidnapping process, given a healthy diet, workout regime, and therapy sessions to take back with them when their ransom is paid (and even if it’s not, the victim is still composted).

It’s become an essential part of any big company’s image to emphasize that they’re sustainable (even when their product seems to indicate otherwise). According to a McKinsey report from February 2010, more than 50% of executives consider sustainability “very” or “extremely” important, and gave the top reason for addressing sustainability issues as “maintaining or improving corporate reputation” (see this article for more information). A growing interest in sustainability certainly seems to have changed the way all types of companies do business. But this video made me stop and think about a couple questions: Does a company that puts time and money into sustainability that sells a potentially damaging product make it any better? And does a company that claims to use sustainable practices make it any more trustworthy?