companies and environmental ethics


the stats:
75% of people consider themselves green consumers
10% actually follow through in their buying decisions

Cascadia Scorecard's Elizabeth Burton believes this trend is "tremendously hopeful: if companies step up to the plate and make green products easily (and affordably) available, there’s a lot of potential for a healthier planet here." There's also vast potential for further education, as the 75% figure shows that most consumers are interested in buying green even if they're not completely aware of what that means.

the idea that companies would step up to the plate is basically preposterous. companies did not step up to the plate on worker protection or consumer safety standards - these had to be regulated before they became a consumer right and expectation. production methods won't change on any sort of notable scale without regulation. but as the practice becomes more and more widespread, eventually companies will step up to the plate - if only in order to remain competitive.

however, to rely on consumer habits is even more unrealistic. i'm an educated consumer, but as highly evolved as humans may be, i still often buy what's easy and everywhere around me, rather than research and find the product that minimizes environmental harm. our culture doesn't promote group selection and one day our individualistic tendencies will tip the balance too far, but our culture only promotes the pursuit of individual gratification more and more with each passing day.

so, in the meantime, we really need responsible grown-ups around to keep the kids in line.



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