Walmart has a huge amount of power over which products end up on the market. The mega-retailer is now encouraging suppliers to remove eight chemicals from their products. The substances aren’t banned, exactly, but suppliers will have to discolose their presence on any products containing them starting in two years. The list consisted of substances which may be harmful to people, to the environment, or to both. [More]
That lamp you’ve been eyeing at IKEA is getting a bit of a makeover; or at least the light bulb is. The company is moving forward with plans to only sell LED bulbs starting this fall. [More]
If you see a product tagged with a “sustainability leaders” badge on the Walmart website, you might think this is an indication that this item is more environmentally friendly than others. And you might be correct; but you might also be mistaken. Because the truth is that this badge has virtually nothing to do with the product being advertised. [More]
In an effort to bring sustainable sources of light to dark places, researchers working with Oxfam are working on a toilet that uses urine to generate electricity, in turn lighting up lavatories in places like refugee camps.
How do you prefer your burgers? Beef, cooked medium rare with a nice slice of cheese and avocado? How about with lettuce, tomato and a patty made from ground-up mealworms? Yeah, we know. But researchers say the global demand for animal protein is rising, even as using 70% of the world’s farmland for livestock is damaging the planet. And getting it from beetle larvae might just be our best, most sustainable bet. [More]
Ideally, companies choose to lessen their environmental impact because it makes financial sense, not because it makes them feel good–which is a good thing, since companies don’t have feelings. Today, FastCompany published a slideshow that looks at 12 ways the mega-retailer is trying out various green initiatives. Some of them are more about selling the concept of green to consumers, which is dumb, but the ones that deal with shipping, energy consumption, and market creation are pretty impressive.
Here’s an interesting experiment. This website is trying to use Flickr to explore the relative value of $5 around the world. They’re asking you to take pictures of things that cost 5 bucks and submit them to their Flickr pool, (or email them).
A new Harvard study shows that shoppers—at least the crazy rich ones who frequent ABC Carpet and Home in New York City (if you’ve ever been inside ABC, you know the sort of people we’re talking about)—will not only gravitate toward products labeled “fair trade” over identical but unlabeled products, but will buy even more of them when the prices are raised.
“Consumer Consequences” is an online “game” where you enter data about your living, work, travel, energy, and eating patterns, then see how many earths would be needed to sustain your lifestyle if every single person on the planet did the same thing. It’s a relatively fun way to graphically tally up your environmental footprint, and helps you highlight where you use the most resources (and, ideally, where you can therefore cut costs).
Do you try to be a green consumer? Says who? The problem with eco-friendly shopping today is that it’s become the “Wild West” of marketing, says the Los Angeles Times, with dozens of self-appointed labels, grass roots seals-of-approvals, and no unified, federally mandated guideline. According to Bruce Hamilton of the Sierra Club,
“People are consciously trying to fuzzy the boundary lines between clarity and lack of clarity so they can sell more products. Everybody is trying to promote their products as green even though they may not be.”