2012 Apr 5. Betting on Technology to Help Turn Consumers Green

posted Apr 13, 2012, 7:11 AM by Alan D. GOULD   [ updated Apr 13, 2012, 9:47 AM ]
 | by Marc Gunther, environment360. An article relevant to GSS Losing Biodiversity chapter 8. Excerpt: …U.S. consumers tell researchers they want to buy environmentally friendly products, …. Now a host of companies and nonprofits are trying to use new technology — from smartphones to social networking — to make it easier for buyers to make the green choice. …Dara O’Rourke …an associate professor of environmental and labor policy at University of California, Berkeley, wondered about the ingredients in Coppertone Water Babies; … it contained oxybenzone, a potential skin irritant. …Johnson’s Baby Shampoo contained trace amounts of 1,4-dioxane, a probable human carcinogen. …O’Rourke started GoodGuide … as a social enterprise, … to persuade consumers to vote with their wallets for environmentally-friendly products and companies, and thereby help tackle big problems, including climate change, biodiversity loss, and industrial pollution. …a global initiative known as The Sustainability Consortium … is building scientific tools to measure and report on the lifecycle impact of thousands of products; but its progress has been painfully slow. No one doubts that green consumers can make difference. They can be credited for the success of a slew of small and mid-sized U.S. companies like Annie’s Homegrown, Seventh Generation, and Stonyfield Farm that have built brands imbued with environmental goodness.  …Joel Makower, the founder of media company GreenBiz, is skeptical about the power of green consumers — to whom he has been paying close attention since 1991 when he was co-author of a book, The Green Consumer. “A small percentage of consumers, by changing their habits, can move markets,” Makower says. “It’s an incredibly compelling notion. I just haven’t seen it in the market.”….Full article: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/betting_on_technology_to_help_turn_consumers_green/2513/