Posts filed under ‘Green Critics’
The debate about climate change will see politicians become sharply polarized between cap-and-trade supporters and carbon tax proponents.
There’s no precedent for a carbon tax, but it’s definitely a viable alternative to carbon trading, it appears. Last week, even Exxon Mobil Corp.’s chief executive officer Rex Tillerson said he’s in favor of taxing carbon dioxide emissions. “[It’s] a more direct and transparent approach,” Tillerson said, comparing the tax to trading carbon. (more…)
The first major global warming court case has yet to take place, but various attempts at landmark cases that will make litigation history have been made in the last year or so. Now a new case featuring a community of Alaskan Eskimos could move into the spotlight. Not least because the lawyers involved are the same as those that broke the tobacco industry ten years ago.
The Eskimo lawsuit has everything going for it; a community of 410 Eskimos living on a remote island that’s under threat from warmer temperatures is suing 23 global energy and oil companies for damages. The companies include Exxon Mobil, BP, and Conoco Phillips, all three of which have operations in the near vicinity of the community which are literally undermining Eskimo soil. Other companies listed in the lawsuit are American Electric Power, Chevron, Duke Energy, Peabody Energy, and Southern Company.
Companies involved in offsetting their carbon footprint have access to over twenty tools to calculate their emissions, most of which have been launched in the last year. So far, the voluntary carbon offsetting market is dominated by European players. Reviews of their efforts have not been all too positive, so US companies following in their footsteps do best to avoid the pitfalls.
The main criticism centers on what´s left out of the equasion. Companies embarking on greening up their business practices are faced with a daunting task and most go about it the `easy way´ at first. There´s the option to simply offset carbons on the Chicago Climate Exchange, the European Climate Exchange or on the newly established NYMEX venture, the Green Exchange. Businesses have access to these exchanges if they wish to reduce their overall greenhouse gas emissions by as little as 1%.
The European Union’s heavy industry carbon dioxide emissions during 2007 reached around 1.914 billion metric tons according to data released Wednesday. The numbers were 93% complete, because some of the 10,500 companies registered on the Europe’s carbon trading platform had failed to meet the March 31 submission deadline. Prices on the secondary carbon market rallied on the news Wednesday. The price of benchmark European Union Allowances (EUAs) futures increased 88 cents, a 3.9% rise.
The British capital markets watchdog, the Financial Services Authority, has released a report warning that many emissions trading companies make false claims about their green credentials.
The FSA says that the integrity of the carbon trading market is under threat. The information that carbon emissions traders relay to clients often has a truth content that’s lower than you’d expect. In many cases there’s also no clarity over the regulations involved, a lack of credible data. Investors are also frequently offered climate change related products that are totally unsuitable for their goals. (more…)
The Green market is growing. That´s good news. The first professional marketing studies of the segment are being published. But as professionalism takes off, bad ideas might become the new standard.
Of the few facts about the Green market that can be determined with a degree of precision are its components. There´s a significant trend underway to allude to these as “Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability“. LOHAS for short. In a recently released study of the LOHAS market by marketing research giant Nielsen and the Natural Marketing institute, LOHAS´ market size was put at $209 billion. This includes services as well as goods that are purchased by ´consumers who have a meaningful sense of environmental and social responsibility and incorporates those values into their purchase decisions.´
That is marketing speak for plain ole eco friendly shoppers. The data for the study goes all the way back to 2002. The two research houses have integrated various tools that the other made and are now offering in depth advice to companies looking to green up their production, especially consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and retailers looking for ideas on product development, positioning, pricing, communication and distribution.
LOHAS might seem like a rather clear cut market, but not everybody that shops green is classified in identically the same category as every other (green) shopper. NMI divides the market up into five groups. Apart from LOHAS, they classify naturalites, drifters, conventionals and unconcerneds.
FallingFruit.com features an interview with LOHAS Journal experts who have an interesting conversation which gives you a great idea about this market, whether you are a consumer or marketer. The radio show describes LOHAS as the largest market you´ve never heard about. But that´s either an exaggeration or it´s bound to change fast.
LOHAS is becoming a household item in investment circles and this is where the whole business begins to scare me. For instance, last year, the NMI collaborated with the investment community to launch the LOHAS index. This is a ranking of the top fifty most ethical companies. The list might surprise you; at the top is Microsoft. McDonald´s is in the ranking as well. Who are they kidding you might wonder. When the index was released the creators said that they had included direct consumer input when compiling the list. Consumers had been way less tolerant of companies´ social behavior than the financial analysts. But also way more ignorant, apparently, according to the finance experts. Nevertheless it still is hardly the list I would expect to see.
As the LOHAS market takes shape, it will be incremental to have independent bodies verify that what´s being earmarked as LOHAS actually stands the test.
So you fell for it; a green, eco product was sold you and it’s a total scam. What are your options? You can yell, kick and scream in your kitchen, but it won’t help you. Go online, and yell, kick and scream!
Even though Complaints Environmentalism has convincingly been declared dead by the writers of the controversial book The Breakthrough, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, greenwashing is taking off big time. Marketing studies underscore that in some cases 99% of all products sold as green are essentially harmful to the environment. So who are we kidding here? It’s high time to gang up on the naivety!
This is a first assessment of what your legal rights are as a green consumer. Greenwashing, which has been defined as “the practice of co-opting the trappings of the green movement without the business practices to back it up” is illegal. But thus far there have been few high profile court cases.
Craig Bachman, an attorney at Lane Powell PC and intellectual property specialist, believes greenwashing is a spill over effect from the regular ad industry. He’s quoted on Bullivant.com outlining one case which set a precedent in legal history was the LePage’s ‘biodegradable’ cellophane tape. The catch was that the tape itself was biodegradable, the product’s packaging wasn’t. The Federal Trade Commission clamped down on the Pittsburg based company and an out of court settlement swept the news under the carpet.
The fact that greenwashing is mostly a marketing issue means that you won’t often get real, tangible damage cases. In the future, we will likely see battles over semantics. There’s notoriously little clarity in Green marketing so hold your breath. Companies will increasingly be held accountable for implicit claims made in their advertising. If you thought the world had moved online, think again; we’re fast dematerializing in more than one way! The lingo guidelines in the US vary from state to state AND at federal level at the moment, says Bulivant.com.
At the moment, the Federal Trade Commission is trying to clear out the wildgrowth of rules and regulations as it copes with unfair trade practices. It is redrafting its environmental guide, known as the Green Guide which helps businesses navigate the terminology of environmental marketing of offering guidelines of what might constitute “unfair or deceptive acts or practices,” prohibited by Section 5 of the FTC Act.
So what are the recourse options for green consumers?
Check out the Organic Consumer Association to complain and for clear rules about what makes a product ‘organic’.
If you feel green ads are misleading you can contact the the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau. These guys refer cases to the FTC and other agencies with oversight of particular product categories, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Go to Cornucopia. The agricultural products complaints specialists.
Write a story on your blog and submit it on MindBodyGreen. It’s a kind of digg archive for front page green stories and has a wide readership.
Check out RipOffReport. A true sour face platform (old style)! This 10 year old website is jam packed with advice for legal action. Companies accused of wrongdoings have the chance to repair their reputations and many cases get picked up by newspapers. You’ll probably need some time to go through all the options you have as a wronged consumer. But if your complaint is serious, it’s a decent option.
Go to the Yell-O-Pages and complain using a fast and easy to use form. It’s a shoutbox more than anything else. Service is new and when checked earlier today, there were no green or eco complaints.
There’s Ventbox. This site is very similar to Yell-O-Pages.com. Till now there’s a total absence of any Green, Bio, Ethical, Eco complaints.
Last but not least, check out WhoIsWrong. It’s where people go to condemn a public issue. Most of the topics are lighthearted though. No ‘Green’ or ‘Eco’ cases yet! Unless you want to know what people think of wearing a bluetooth headset as a fashion accessory is a green issue.
You can also alert us here by going to the Info/Contact page and writing a quick line.