Friday, March 27, 2009

Fashion trend: green is the new black

A friend of mine, who manufactures and distributes woman's handbags, recently asked me how he can embark on the green wave. He would like to sell the handbags as "environmentally friendly" or "5% of the sale of this handbag will go to such-and-such environmental group". I asked him the following: is this something you feel you WANT to do or NEED to do? Is there any recycled content in the pleather handbags? Where do you source your materials? Have you ever done a life-cycle analysis (LCA) on your handbags? How familiar are you with green advertising standards?
After a lengthy discussion on "consumption" and the every-day, fast-paced fashion and shopping society we have evolved into, his idea of going green, albeit noble, was somewhat abandoned as he perceived the risk as too high (i.e.: his handbags are nowhere green). But his products can be transformed to be "green" with the right formula and initiative.
In the next blog entry, I will write what the standards are, how to differentiate between a truly green product vs. greenwash, and how this can be strengthened from a policy perspective. In the meantime, for those wanting more specific information for their products, feel free to contact me.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The YES Men: New twist to environmental liability

On 3 December 2004, an unprecedented news item hit the BBC airwaves where a Dow Chemicals spokesperson claimed that the company will accept full responsibility stemming from the Union Carbide Bhopal catastrophe. At the time, I lived in Brussels and as I stood in my living room, the shock and euphoria hit me at the same time. It was soon revealed that the BBC interview was a hoax. And it wiped $1 billion off of Dow's stock price.

Who was behind this hoax? The YES MEN of course! They have since played numerous hoaxes on corporations, most recently in Calgary at an oil and gas conference. They have made a movie which has proved to be a hit at the Berlinale.

What kind of a message do you think this sends to the world?