Green Guide

Green Consumerism: How green is it actually?

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In the 1980s and 1990s there developed a fad of green consumerism, in which the consumer makes environmentally responsible choices when purchasing products. There have been bestseller books on how to be a green consumer like- 50 simple things you can do to save the planet.

A recent survey, conducted by the Grocery manufacturers Association and Deloitteshows that green product aspects are budding up as one of the important brand differentiators and serve as a tie breaker in case of similar products.

Half of the 6,400 consumers, surveyed at 11 national chains, stated that they considered green aspects of products while shopping.

Some findings of the surveyare as follws:

Criticism of Green Consumerism

Green consumerism may be benign from non-green consumerism, but it is not the solution to our environmental problems. In fact, it may even intensify the problems as the consumer becomes complacent and thinks that he is doing everything right. It is always better to have just one pair of regular jeans rather than buying five organic hemp jeans. Similarly, building a vacation home out of recycled lumber is not enough, the real way to save the environment is to own only one home. It is very important that the only key to save the planet is to consume less, period.

Green Washing

What makes things worse is that many companies have turned green only as a marketing strategy, even if they have no environmental interests. With the green movement-catching pace, companies, trade groups and government organizations are eager to get a piece of the pie. ‘Green’ can help you earn big profits– but all too often, these money-hungry entities distort facts to make themselves seem more environment-friendly. The “art” of misleading the consumers is Greenwashing.
We see cans and bottles bearing the legend “recyclable”. This merely means that they further can be recycled, but there is no surety that the consumer will find a handy facility for recycling them.

Here are a few companies which demonstrated green washing in 2008.

BP- Beyond Petroleum

BP’s ad campaign with the theme ‘Beyond Petroleum’ led the public to believe the company headed in the direction of cleaner, renewable fuels. However, it turned out the company was spending more money on advertising than on green efforts.

General Motors

Watching these two videos one after the other, General Motors’ unabashed attempt to exaggerate its green efforts while also selling Hummers speaks for itself. GM’s ‘Gas-Friendly to Gas-Free’ ad campaign sought to reframe GM as eco-friendly, but the company is still the leading producer of gas-guzzling vehicles and has fought to undermine attempts to improve CAFE fuel economy standards.

Clean Coal Technology

The American Coalition has brought the ‘Clean Coal’ message to us for Clean Coal Electricity. ACCCE gathered up tons of money from the coal and utility industries and used it to fund a far-reaching effort to convince people that coal can be used in a way that is not harmful to the environment, but we all know, there is nothing clean about coal.

The survey conducted by the Grocery manufacturers Association and Deloitte claims that there is, however, a big gap between what the consumers are finding and what they are actually purchasing. Less than 50% of the shoppers who looked for green products actually found them, and only 22% of the total surveyed shoppers bought green products. So, I ask you that are people actually worried about the well-being of the environment or are they merely pretending to be eco-conscious by asking for green products and finally buying non-green products of their choice.

Via: Greenbiz, WebEcoist

Dr Prem Jagyasi

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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