12 September 2012 — The Fifth Estate receives its fair share of submissions, sometimes from companies offering articles with subtle advertising included.

One such recent offer was so subtle it took some time to discover its real credentials.

Light Home presented itself as “an Australian website which advocates for sustainable, lightweight building materials”.

“Our editorial team is presently sourcing opportunities to expand our content across similar websites, that are committed to sustainability in the Australian community,” the email said.

“We aim to achieve this expansion by providing free, unbranded and impartial content, to websites like Fifth Estate, in the form of blog postings or long form articles.”

Clicking through to the website there are tabs for: home, about, the magazine, the green building show, design ideas, green design, green guide and green living.

Home gives nothing away, saying only “this site is a celebration of light homes because when they’re well designed, they’re perfectly suited to the way we love to live” but most of the other tabs have tiny, almost unnoticeable hidden mentions of a product called Scyon.

Google that and you will find it touted as “the brainchild of James Hardie’s research and development team, an advanced lightweight cement composite with heavy-duty performance”.

“Created with ease of installation in mind, Scyon brings advanced building technology to the houses of today, with an eye on tomorrow. Keep your eye on SCYON and challenge convention.”

Mmm.

Back to Light Home and in the right hand corner, right down the bottom of the page, in small print, there is a link to “terms and conditions” – and they are a bit of a giveaway.

Among them are:

  • James Hardie Australia Pty Ltd claims copyright of all information on The Light Home website, unless expressly stated otherwise.
  • Subject to the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright Act 1968, material contained on this site which is owned by James Hardie may be copied, provided that the content is not altered and lighthome.com.au is acknowledged as the source.
    • Purpose of  Light Home – to promote the benefits of light weight construction (and) to promote the benefits of using the Scyon range of materials

And on they go.

And while we realise James Hardie remains a legitimate business, in fact it posted an improved net profit of $A65.02 million in its first quarter in the US housing market, why all the cloak and dagger? Oh yes, we forgot…they trashed their reputation at some point. Not very sustainable at all…

Here’s the link to a list of articles on the issue

https://www.google.com.au/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=james+hardie+asbestos&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&redir_esc=&ei=aJ1PUIXTBuiaiQfnxYDYAw

And here is the entry from Wikipedia on how the High Court of Australia found, in May 2012, that seven former James Hardie non-executive directors misled the stock exchange over asbestos victims’ compensation fund. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hardie

So thanks, but no thanks.