Greening, the policy of the ostrich?

To the light of a survey realized by BBMG in association with Global Strategy & Bagatto that clearly states that consumers prefer to buy from companies that reflect their values, we feel the optimism of the rising new market.

As our attention is driven by such positive behavior (socially responsible, environmentally-friendly…), by the favorable and disproportionate statistics reflecting the tendency of the moment (90% say that safe drinking water is an issue and parallely only 66% judge that quality is paramount), we can’t help but thinking and criticizing President of Global Strategy Group, Jeffrey Pollock’s quotation “Americans think before they buy…”

The survey -a random sampling of facts and figures- defines without ambiguity the american consumer as a conscious consumer, 9 in 10, to be more precise. As we read along, we indeniably associates him as the type labeled to be inclined to invest in manufacture efficient products (90%), to support fair trade practices (87%)… Isn’t he the ideal idealist? As a fanatic reader of the New York Times, he pulses and monitors the daily state of the economy, aware of the arcanes of the world trade (why not polishing his image after all!).

As my eyes jump to another survey, to the question what is important while purchasing eco-friendly products, 46% assess the enegy of efficiency and only 29% opt for the trade fair! Who must we believe? To, what does limit you from purchasing more eco-friendly products, their answer gets interesting, 36% is linked to the product selection or availability and 24% for the price. When we push for the detail, 41% of the on-line shoppers spend 100 to $500 and only 17% from $1000 to 5000!Organic is expensive and not to whoever’s budget!

There’s definitely a screeching discrepancy between what we aspire (to be a conscious consumer), what our budget allows (economical status) and what we do (our consumption).

To support a worldwide effort to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere the Americans gave the award winning to the Ford F series (796,039 sold), followed by Chevrolet Silverado (636,069), Toyota Camry (448,445) and the Dodger Ram (364,177).Those trucks dominated 2006 american vehicle sales. Where were/are the hybrids?

The Golden State bears proudly the palm for the dirtiest air in the nation. It shelters 8 of the 10 most polluting counties in the US. San Bernardino was reported the first nartionwide polluted from the worst fine particule (soot pollution). Is it the result of the clean air act or the introduction to a new era decreeted by the clean skies act? An act that claims a clean air policy that allows 42 million more tons of pollution emitted than the EPA, that weakens controls on mercury level,. It also weakens the current cap on nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution levels from 1.25 million tons to 2.1 million (+ 68%), delays the improvement of sulfur dioxide (SO4) pollution levels and finally postpones enforcement of smog-and-soot pollution standards until 2015. By 2018, the clean skies act will scandalously permit 42 million tons more of NOx (through 2012) and 8 million tons more by 2020; the SO4 from 18 million tons more (2012) to 34 million more by 2020, mercury with the same respective dates from 58 tons to 163 released into the environment by enforcing the act.

Safe drinking water appears at 90% as an important issue. Really? The total US beverage consumption for 2005 was declined as followed : carbonated soft drinks 28,3%, beers 11%, milk 10,9% and finally bottled water 10,7%. What must we conclude? As we follow the trendy phenomenon of water consumption, an information misleads us. Did you know that 24 % of bottled water is packaged by Coke & Pepsi. It won’t be relevant if we don’t know that they dominate the market (#1 selling bottles), Aquafina occupies 13% and Coke’s Dasani 11% of the market. Both are only purified municipal water! Coke and Pepsi use for our health and wellness energy-intensive reverse-osmosis filtration, the same process used to turn sea water to drinking water.

Eco-friendly relates to upscale market. Fidji represents the purity segmentation. Is sold a million bottles a day in the US. Its fabrication, conditioning, distribution has an impact on the environment. An uninterrupted supply of electricity is produced by three big generators running on diesel fuel (diesel haze). Are we ready to condemn companies’ policies and practices at the cost of our health ? Are eco-friendly products really worth of the premium?

A survey of environmental claims involving more than 1,018 products found virtually all of them false or misleading. It referred to a non-so-green behavior. Where do we stand in this sum of information? What is our tool to validate the info? Where is the transparency? 15 % of the claims were made without supporting evidence. Lamp manufacturers claimed high-efficiency performance, without certification! 11% were vague or irrelevant. What does natural mean? Carbon dioxide is natural.

Where is the purpose of consuming consciously if the company doesn’t lead us, if the product doesn’t keep its promise, if the government for economical reason doesn’t set the example?

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