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What’s in a Main?

Southern California Gas Co. expects to change its advertised name soon to--are you ready for this?--The Gas Co.

Along with the name change, the utility expects to change the look of its 20-year-old logo, which now features a gasflame. The new logo will have a flame with a more “stylistic” look, said Roy Rawlings, vice president of marketing.

The logo will appear not just in ads, but on everything from company stationery to employee uniforms. The company expects to complete the renaming and redesign before it moves into its new headquarters in downtown Los Angeles next summer.

Why the changes? The utility says that with the move it will have to change its printed address anyway, which means altering stationery and other items.

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Might as well go ahead, it decided, and make the logo change as well. Besides, “we’re trying to present a message to our customers--that we’re a company that can respond to change,” Rawlings said.

Who will pay for the alterations--including the thousands of dollars being spent on the new logo, which is being designed by Sussman/Prejza & Co., a Culver City-based graphic design firm? Gas company customers, of course. “But we can only collect rates as authorized” by the state Public Utilities Commission, Rawlings said.

How Green Is My Overhead?

Joel Makower, innovative editor of the tiny, irreverent, Washington-based Green Consumer Letter, is stirring the pot again. He recently compared airlines’ recycling efforts. In the December issue, he rates the fund-raising and management costs of various environmental and animal-rights groups.

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This may be a simplistic way of looking at their overhead, he admitted as the newsletter went into the mail. But as he notes in the story, the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ Philanthropic Advisory Service says such groups should spend no more than 25% of revenue for administrative costs.

A sample of his findings, based on data given to the Internal Revenue Service for the most recent fiscal year:

National Wildlife Federation, 10.3% of income for overhead costs.

The Nature Conservancy, 11%.

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Wilderness Society, 13.4%.

Friends of the Earth, 14.4%.

National Audubon Society, 17%.

Environmental Action Foundation, 17.3%.

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Environmental Defense Fund, 18.4%.

Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, 23.7%.

Defenders of Wildlife, 24%.

Humane Society of the United States, 24%.

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National Resources Defense Council, 24%.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, 24%.

Greenpeace U.S.A., 25%.

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 35%.

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Cousteau Society, 35%.

The Trust for Public Land, 39%.


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