Why Green is a Marketing Ploy

As we all know, green labels on everything from toilet paper to underwear sell better than the not-so-green guys. Are we really that easily persuaded, manipulated if it just says it’s green? Where’s the accountability? TRAVIS writer Scott McManus looks deeper into the issue and comes up with a pragmatic solution.

greenplanetEvery product you buy comes from the planet. Everything you can hold in your hand, put in your mouth, show to your friend, and eventually toss in a landfill came from the earth, and most of it is really hard to put back. So in the current environment ‘revolution’ why isn’t more being done about what we buy?

We’re starting to see the emergence of large producers taking some responsibility for the environment. Still, while this effort is appreciated it’s really driven by the almighty dollar.
‘Green’ is a sell. Designed for no other purpose than to sell you something different than what bored you yesterday. Green is the new black. It’s a percentage on a graph where a CEO sees as a 4% increase in revenue and a 40-point jump on the stock market. It’s trans fat, it’s titanium, and it’s whatever shinny word they can slap on the front of this and that to pull you in. It’s just like everything else, isn’t it? Not really. Green may be a sell, but it’s easily the most important sell in capitalism’s history.

If there is a direct relationship between products and the impact on the environment (and there is because I just told you that), then there is no better way to fight every environmental problem than with every product we buy. Climate change, air pollution, carcinogens, even that huge plastic garbage island that sits in the middle of the pacific ocean could change if we start demanding more from the companies that make us stuff.

This is the green revolution you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to stand up, take responsibility and realize that it’s our choice to make. Pull your pointer finger away from the multinationals and switch it up for its taller rebellious brother. Don’t wait for the debates between right and left to eventually come to some mediocre agreement, or for Richie Banks to get his government paper work, start some change with you and your five closest friends.

Purchasing power is just that, power. It can be gradual, but it has to be difficult. You won’t get very far in the fight against corporate superiority treading lightly. Dig hard into your conscience and put down the bottle of water imported from Figi, it’s not worth it. Every purchase should become a test of checked material, so that pass or fail, you at least made an educated decision. Still, finding the environmental impact of a product is about as easy as finding Dick Cheney’s house with Google Earth.
So what’s the solution to getting companies to be transparent about their environmental impact? Well, unlike the liberal hippie who would rather come up with a thousand problems than one solution I actually have an idea.

It’s called the Carbon Label and it measures the carbon footprint of every possible product in the market place. Not just the big ones or important ones, but everyone, and just like the nutritional value on a cracker box or the Made in Canada sticker on your BlackBerry, it tells you something very important about the product you’re buying. With product labels you could tell which products are better for the environment, but also distinguish between two competing products. Right now you can have toilet paper side by side in a store both labeled ‘green’ without proof of which one is better, or if either are good for the environment at all.

The Carbon Label consists of three sub-sets: A number for production, one for transportation and one for disposal. This ensures the entire lifecycle of the product is also covered. Then what you end up with is a big fat number staring every consumer square in the face and most importantly giving them the opportunity to shop responsibly.

Worried about the economy? Don’t be. A recession is the best thing for economic revolution. When times are good, head offices don’t care about you or your business, once their stocks drop 30% they’ll be down on their knees doing anything to get it back.

So let’s do this. Tell a friend, tell a relative, tell your manager, tell your bartender and your Rabbi. Tell anyone who you think likes the earth and ask if they’re ready for real change.

text by scottmcmanus
This was originally printed in the November Issue of TRAVIS.

  1. Hi. I read a few of your other posts and wanted to know if you would be interested in exchanging blogroll links?

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