Planning, Startups, Stories


Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

Race for Green Credibility

Check out GoodGuide for yet another effort to sort through green claims in products and evaluate what’s green and what isn’t.  It just won an award at last week’s Web 2.0 conference, and it was a TechCrunch 50 finalist as well.

With greenwashing running rampant these days, we need some way to sort through it all.

Let’s hope it doesn’t become like the low-calorie disaster, everything from light beer to low-fat yogurt, which became a free-for-all and eventually lost — I think — all credibility. And then there’s light vs. natural vs. organic vs. locally grown … really, what’s the good green buyer to do here?

Green is supposed to mean good for the planet. Or is it just not bad for the planet? Or perhaps, a trumped-up marketing claim to take advantage of the trend.

Let’s hope it doesn’t end up like “user-friendly” is to software: after a while it became a meaningless term because every software product published claimed to be user friendly. How long has it been since you’ve seen software making that claim?

And green also means more expensive; at least, that’s what it means in our local shopping arena. Whether that’s local or organic or natural, it’s definitely more expensive.

My cellphone provider made a pitch about going green a couple of months ago when what they were really doing was saving printing and mailing costs by delivering my monthly bill via the Web. Come on, please, why not just pass those savings on to me? And if that’s green, then what’s saving the whales?  Greenwashing is coming all over the place.

It’s not that GoodGuide is necessarily the answer, or, for that matter, that it isn’t. It’s just that there are so many claims made, and they show such a wide range of definition and validity. Where do we go for reliable validation?

  • I was surprised when this "green" phenomenon began to permeate the yarn industry. Many yarn companies have new lines of "green" yarns and fiber made out of alternative resources like bamboo and corn. I have to wonder exactly what the chemical process is like to turn something tough like bamboo or corn into soft yarn. How environmentally friendly is the process vs. finished product?