By Scott Huntington
Walk down the aisle of any grocery store, and it’ll be easy to see that there’s a growing trend toward eco-friendly practices and products. Then look online and you’ll see the same thing. NBC had a whole “green week,” Adidas created a new shoe made from ocean waste, and even Ford is touting an EcoBoost engine and products. But, how can you tell if a company is truly committed to environmental sustainability, or if it's just trying to cash in on the ever-growing eco-friendly market? Read on to find out.
For example, something that says “all-natural” or “eco-friendly” doesn’t carry as much weight as a label that reads, “Made with 100 percent natural, organic and fair-trade ingredients” or, “Manufactured at a plant that has an ongoing plan to reduce carbon emissions.”
Precision Power Washing of Texas does this particularly well (see below). It calls many of its services “eco-friendly,” but so does everyone else. What sets the company apart is that it has a whole section of its website devoted to detailed information of how its service helps the environment.
Keep in mind, even if you discover a company has “gone green” only recently, that doesn’t necessarily mean it has less-than-pure intentions. Sometimes companies are best equipped to strive toward environmentally-friendly practices only after the technology has been put in place to make it possible.
When deciding to lend your patronage to a particular establishment, experiment with different ways to incorporate environment-related questions into your chats.
To help you determine a company’s intention, simply say, “Has your business done anything specific to combat climate change? This is a very important issue for me.” If a manager meets your answer with a blank stare or dismissive response, that kind of feedback may be your cue to look elsewhere when you need a service provider or product.
In 2012, Starbucks Coffee launched cup sleeves that resulted in saving approximately 100,000 trees annually. Measures like that demonstrate the company doesn’t just talk about a desire to be kind to the Earth, but it actually uses products that support the intention.
Hopefully, you now feel more confident that you’ll be able to maintain your priority of being kind to the environment when you shop. However, keep in mind that being a proactive consumer is a process. Although you may make some mistakes along the way, even being motivated to support companies that have green mindsets is a very important step in the right direction. It’ll minimize the size of your personal carbon footprint, too.
Scott Huntington is a writer and blogger. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington