IMPROVING CONSUMER APPEAL FOR GREEN PRODUCTS
In 1960, Harvard business professor Theodore Levitt warned that corporate preoccupation on products rather than consumer needs was doomed to failure because consumers select products and new innovations that offer benefits they desire. Today's research indicates that many green products have failed because of green marketers' myopic focus on their products' "greenness" over the broader expectations of consumers or other market players (such as regulators or activists). Evidence suggests that green products are able to appeal to mainstream consumers or lucrative market niches and frequently command price premiums by offering five "non-green" consumer values (efficiency and cost effectiveness, health and safety, symbolism and status, convenience and improved performance). A study conducted by the Alliance for Environmental Innovation and household products-maker S.C. Johnson found that consumers are most likely to act on green messages that strongly connect to their personal environments. According to popular culture experts, green marketing must appear grass-roots driven and humorous without sounding preachy. To appeal to young people, conservation and green consumption need the unsolicited endorsement of high-profile celebrities and connection to cool technology. Green products can be positioned as status symbols. For example, the Think chair leverages its award-winning design and sleek comfort to symbolize the smart, socially responsible office. Evidence indicates that successful green products have avoided green marketing myopia by following three important principles: consumer value positioning, calibration of consumer knowledge, and the credibility of product claims. To avoid green marketing myopia, the future success of product dematerialization and more sustainable services will depend on credibly communicating and delivering consumer-desired value in the marketplace. Only then will product dematerialization steer business onto a more sustainable path.
Environment, Vol 48, No 5, Jun 06, p 22, by Jacquelyn A. Ottman, Edwin R. Stafford and Cathy L. Hartman.
IS OFFSITE WETLAND MITIGATION A FAIR TRADE?
When offsite mitigation banks create large contiguous stretches of high-quality habitat, they are not a bad option says Mike Monroe, with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, because banks promote construction of actual wetlands over "in lieu" mitigation, in which a developer simply pays a nonprofit or land trust to preserve or acquire land instead of performing actual mitigation. He does think the geographic area banks cover is often too large, and that a better idea might be to require mitigation within the watershed in which the wetland is filled. That's not good enough for Arthur Feinstein with the Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge, a nonprofit seeking to save and restore San Francisco bay wetlands. "It's flippant to say mitigating anywhere in the watershed is fine. Wetlands are where they are because nature and topography have said this is a good place. Whole ecosystems have evolved around them over hundreds and thousands of years." The National Wildlife Federation's Julie Sibbing is skeptical about offsite mitigation as well as banks. "We're just putting [mitigated wetlands] where we find it convenient." "[And mitigation banks] have been touted as the panacea - they are a clever policy invention because [on-site] mitigation is failing at such a high rate. But there is absolutely no evidence that mitigation banks are producing superior wetlands." One criticism of mitigation banks is that the sites are far away from any urban development or even suburban sprawl. Restoration ecologist Tom Griggs says the landscape scale is missing in mitigation banks. "The [surrounding] uplands are ignored; they're focusing on the wetlands and not ecosystem processes. That's not restoration at all." Referring to a large mitigation bank project, Feinstein says, "It looks great, it looks lush, and they can talk about all the species that are there, but that is not the issue. Neither is the issue whether or not we can create wetlands - we can. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't - it's a crapshoot. The real issue is what are they mitigating for, what was lost, and how many different wetlands are not compressed into this 20-acre bank?"
Landscape Architecture, Aug 06, p 24, by Lisa Owens Viani.
OFFICE CHAIR DEVELOPED USING CRADLE-TO-CRADLE ECO-DESIGN
Geiger International has introduced the Foray chair, which merges task-oriented performance with executive-class comfort. Designed by Eric Chan of ECCO Design, the Foray has a sinuous oval-accented back, and takes its inspiration from luxury cars, luggage and electronics. It was developed in accordance with the cradle-to-cradle eco-design protocol, uses a patented suspension system to allow for comfortable seating, and is offered in three base finishes: metallic silver, black umber and polished aluminum.
Metropolis, Jul 06, p 187.
EXPLORING ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS MATERIAL SELECTION METHODOLOGIES
This paper discusses current progress in environmentally conscious material selection (ECMS) methodologies to reduce products' toxic impact. It summarizes the ECMS guidelines that direct designers toward an environmentally benign material solution. It discusses three key issues in the toxicity based material selection methodology: toxic impact analysis, assessment of toxic and environmental impact attributes and multi-attribute decision-making and evaluation methods. The toxicity of a substance includes both qualitative and quantitative characteristics. Qualitative characteristics include whether the toxic effect is acute or chronic, the target organ where the toxic substance takes effect, etc. The quantitative characteristics represent the dependency relationship of the toxic effects to the dose of the substance. The paper summarizes current research progress and discusses the need for future improvements.
The Journal Of Sustainable Product Design, Volume 3, Numbers 3-4, p 119, by Feng Lin and Li Lin.
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