Archive for May, 2009
Ford designers and researchers are taking a total green approach to vehicle development and design, stepping beyond just fuel efficiency and what’s under the hood and incorporating more sustainable materials and processes inside the vehicle, too. Ford’s award-winning soy-based foam seat cushions and backs, for example, will be on more than 1 million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles by the end of this year, leading to a total reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of more than 5 million pounds. Most recently, Ford announced that the all-new 2010 Ford Taurus SHO, Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ will feature sustainable interior materials such as seat fabrics made with varying degrees of post-industrial yarns, suede-like material created from plastic pop bottles, chromium-free leather and engineered ebony wood, all of which reduce waste, energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
To ensure these greener material measures resonate with customers, Ford designers are gaining a deeper understanding of the different levels of green consumerism. Statistics show that one in four adults in the U.S. are living more sustainable lifestyles; interested in companies that are more socially responsible and buying products that are healthier for people and the planet. Designers also are examining what’s the most expressive way to use these materials in vehicle interiors and how do they best represent the vehicle brand. Customers, for example, expect suede to look and feel like suede even if it’s made from plastic bottles. Interior wood accents, a common luxury-car cue, must exhibit rich colors and textures, whether it’s derived from a natural veneer or a more eco-friendly reconstituted wood veneer. “Ford is committed to offering customers affordable, environmentally-friendly technologies in vehicles they really want,” says Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company. “We are focused on providing solutions that can be used not for hundreds or thousands of cars, but for millions of cars because that is how Ford truly can make a difference.”
Real American Brands, Inc., a publicly traded holding company, recently announced that it plans to introduce a new denim apparel brand emphasizing “eco-friendliness, fashion and fit… and with an affordable price tag, to boot.” “Besides being designed, sourced and produced domestically, the new eco-sensitive product will carry a price tag well below today’s popular premium brands,” CEO Doug Newton said. “As price and value have never been more important than in today’s economy.” “RLAB’s marketing strategy,” Newton continued, “will be to gain broad distribution for the line among forward looking US mass marketers who are eager to support more American-made goods and services to widen the spectrum of their current product offerings.
The new brand will also carry the US trademark “Born & Bred in the USA”™, a mark owned by RLAB’s subsidiary, Billy Martin’s USA, the western lifestyle boutique founded by Newton three decades ago and headquartered today at Trump Plaza in New York City. “The bottom line is this brand can offer retailers and customers the chance to be green, patriotic, forward-thinking and fashion-forward at the same time. It’s a powerful and unique combination in the apparel arena — and a major growth opportunity just waiting to be developed by our real American company.”
Recently launched on Earth Day, Bambeco.com features hundreds of hot, eco-friendly products, with head-turning style at affordable prices. From elegant goblets made of recycled wine bottles to smart wallets fashioned from reclaimed truck inner tubes, Bambeco offers consumers unprecedented green lifestyle choices. “Today’s most electrifying products are made with sustainable materials,” said Bambeco CEO Susan Aplin, a former executive with Williams-Sonoma and The Gap. “We started the company to offer consumers the ability to purchase high-quality, high-style items which also enable them to live their environmental values.” Although many of Bambeco’s customers will undoubtedly be those who have longtime green buying preferences, Aplin believes the products will also appeal to consumers who are newer to the eco-friendly market. “We believe going green can be done incrementally,” she said. “Bambeco is here to offer all consumers a choice.”
“We’re educating our customers too,” Aplin continued, citing the environmental information provided for each product. The site also enables users to rate and review products, submit questions, share photos of products in their homes, share products on Twitter and Facebook, and create accounts. Bambeco carries a wealth of eco-friendly home decor, furniture, kitchen, entertaining, bed, bath, outdoor, office and pet products. The merchandise is made with earth-friendly processes from materials that are all-natural, biodegradable, nontoxic, organic, recycled, reclaimed and/or renewable. The company ships with eco-friendly materials, donates 1% of its revenues to environmental charities, and stands behind all of its products with a complete satisfaction guarantee.
hessnatur, a leading global pioneer in organic apparel has joined forces with Planet Green to create an online contest offering the American public a chance to make an environmental statement by designing a limited edition organic tee shirt. Launching later this summer, the contest is designed to highlight the damage a traditionally manufactured tee shirt has on the environment. The growth and harvesting of conventional cotton causes some of the world’s worst environmental pollution — requiring one third of a pound of pesticides and fertilizers to create just one of the 2.4 billion tee shirts produced globally every year. “We believe that the simple act of every person choosing an organic tee shirt can make all the difference in the world,” states Wolf Luedge, CEO of hessnatur. “Much like changing a light bulb or recycling, an organic tee does make a difference.” PlanetGreen.com will host the contest online and will offer Americans an opportunity to design an iconic organic tee that, if chosen as the winning design, will be sold internationally. The winning design will be selected by PlanetGreen.com readers through a unique view and vote feature. The shirt will be made by Grameen Knitwear in Bangladesh, a subsidiary of the Grameen Foundation, founded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Muhammad Yunus. Fifty percent from the sale of each tee will be donated back to the Grameen Foundation, which uses the power of microfinance, technology and innovative solutions to defeat global poverty. “Planet Green engages consumers of all backgrounds with inspiring and innovative content, information and resources that help them make a positive and personal impact on the environment,” said Ken Rother, vice president for Planet Green Interactive. “Through our partnership with hessnatur and this competition, our audiences have a fantastic interactive opportunity to use creativity as a way to make a statement about how we humans impact the planet.”
A worldwide green global portal, www.EcoSeed.org, was recently launched by Global Content & Research Ltd. after a short beta launch period. The Web site is dedicated solely to serve the worldwide evolving “green” community and will provide worldwide access to global green news, green business, green finance and many other important green subjects. In making the announcement, Mr. S. Herman, founder and CEO, stated, “The launch of EcoSeed is intended to afford global single source internet access to users desiring to explore and exploit the expanding international ‘green’ revolution. The launch has been timed to meet the need for a robust responsible Internet single source for ‘green’ news, business opportunities, finance, commentary, information and social interplay for a world wide audience.” He further noted, “This is only the first phase of development of the EcoSeed Web site which has been built by a great team of professionals from around the globe who bring a global variety of nationalities and experiences to this project.” A unique EcoSeed Web page provides a global market place for green manufactures and service providers to meet buyers and seekers of goods and services for all levels of users, all available through the website’s “Marketplace” web page. With over 100,000 worldwide green businesses and practitioners already in Global’s directory, the EcoSeed “Marketplace” is intended to be the “go to” internet site to find any green product or service from anywhere in the world. Eco-conscious businessmen can promote their services and goods and deal directly with their target market within the website to help to expand their client base. Environmentally conscious individuals seeking eco-friendly solutions for their home or business can search for, and interact with, these suppliers. Global believes this is the first green online marketplace on a global scale. A special page has also been dedicated for “green” social networking, providing ecology enthusiasts, consultants, manufacturers, distributors and entrepreneurs with a platform for their eco-conscious interests. Members may also find advice, post queries, blog, or seek partners for benchmarking, sharing and networking worldwide.
The results of a recent consumer survey conducted in North America by ABI Research suggest that nearly half of those mobile consumers surveyed are somewhat likely or very likely to be influenced by suppliers’ green credentials when purchasing services or devices. Respondents were asked whether they’d be more likely to purchase mobile services or mobile handsets from an operator that makes use of ‘green’ initiatives, which were described as: “…gives money to organization seeking to help the environment, actively employs programs that reduce its carbon footprint, buys network equipment from ‘green’ equipment vendors.”
Paying more than just lip service, 41% (for services) and 45% (for devices) of the 1,000+ respondents indicated that they’d be significantly or somewhat more likely to do so. Younger consumers showed a greater willingness to pursue “eco-groovy” mobile activities than older ones. “Wireless operators take notice,” says senior analyst Jeff Orr. “Green issues were not even a talking point a couple years back. Now, subscribers of all age groups are expressing awareness of and interest in eco-friendly device and service incentives.” The service providers first to connect with environmentally conscious businesses and consumer subscribers will have an edge in this growing trend. Additional education remains necessary to communicate issues surrounding battery disposal and the accumulation of e-waste. “If consumers are simply unaware of the environmental issues surrounding mobile devices and services,” Orr adds, “then the industry should increase its efforts to get the message across. Some other verticals – the inkjet print industry, for example – are more proactive in motivating consumers to help. And other ABI Research studies have found little motivation among handset vendors, except the two or three largest, to offer ‘green’ mobile device product lines.”
The American Clean Energy and Security Act (aka the Waxman-Markey bill) has made its way out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is now headed to the full House for a vote that could be set as early as late June. Experts agree that the bill will go through numerous revisions by the time it reaches the desk of President Obama, but with its current provisions, which do you feel will have the greatest impact on green marketing initiatives?