Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Labeling for Survival - Consumer Interests Past the Eco-Friendly Tag's

--trends + business + politics--

I just saw a great post of more "good green news" on Environmental Leader. It appears that retailer JC Penny has joined the green label brigade by offering a "Simply Green" tag on private brand merchandise.

From panties to toasters, "Simply Green" is meant to give conscious consumers reason to spend spend spend, guilt free. To make Eco-friendly shopping easier our friends at JC Penny will be placing green merchandise in "Simply Green" zones throughout the stores. Consumers can count on getting organic products (made with at least 70% organic...think organic cotton), renewable products (made with at least 25% renewable materials..think bamboo), and recycled products (made with at least 25% recycled materials...think recycled glass).

I like this simplification for shoppers like me. I get my own "zone" and am assured that I am buying at least more earth friendly products than those unmentionables in the "other zones." But I wonder, why are we so focused on labeling earth friendly products green, instead of labeling earth destroying products in their code colors...say yellow (caution), red (stop, don't do it) and black (lights out - totally deadly stuff here). Why not create labels that tell us "this product is made from conventional cotton, that contaminated X miles of land, sprayed workers with cancerous chemicals shortening their life span by half, and polluting the earth for say the next 200 years."

I think we need to let everyone know what they are buying...and not only selling the good news. The problem of our time does not call for segregating do-gooders, from evil doer's in their own "zones" at a store near you - but educating the masses on the realities of their bold print, for starters. Why does all the ugliness of conventional business get hidden behind pretty ad's ? I say we ask for the same labels on our hormone contaminated meat, and genetically modified grains that warn of us of health risks, much like the warning on a pack of Marlboro's. How do we splice and dice health risks, making one more urgent than the next?

Next time you look at a label, that doesn't sell you on it's good green appeal, ask yourself...what are they actually not telling you.

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