67 posts categorized "Sustainable Products"

October 08, 2010

80,000 synthetic drugs... how many are in you?

October is breast cancer awareness month - 1 in 8 women will have it. Usually email reminders from friends start showing about now to remind me to get my screening.

This time why don't we also start screening our products? Begin by asking the question, "what's in this can/box/bag anyway..." Some day all products will be put through life cycle assessments and pass sustainable standards that will keep toxic chemicals out out of supply chains, until then start asking...

Dedicated to Laura, I miss your calls. 

The FTC Wants Your Green Marketing Comments by December

Screen shot 2010-10-08 at 1.29.22 PM Ok green bloggers, here is your chance to influence governmental policy without going through that painful voting process -- the FTC wants to know what you think about the messaging on green products. In other words, how do you want them to put truth into green advertising via their Green Guidelines?  Go here to tell them, you have until December 10, 2010. 

Some example language...

• Marketers should not make unqualified general environmental benefit claims. They are difficult, if not impossible, to substantiate. (The current Guides state that marketers can make unqualified claims if they can substantiate all express and implied claims. Otherwise, they should qualify the claim.)

• Qualifications should be clear and prominent, and should limit the claim to a specific benefit. Marketers should ensure the advertisement’s context does not imply deceptive environmental claims. (In the current Guides, this guidance appears only in examples.)

Certifications and Seals of Approval

• This new section emphasizes that certifications/ seals are endorsements covered by the Commission’s Endorsement Guides and provides new examples illustrating how those Guides apply to environmental claims (e.g., marketers should disclose material connections to the certifier). (The current Guides address certifications/seals in only one example in the general environmental benefit section. 16 CFR 260.7, Example 5.)

• Because an unqualified certification/seal (one that does not state the basis for certification) likely conveys a general environmental benefit claim, marketers should use clear and prominent language limiting the claim to particular attribute(s) for which they have substantiation. (This provision highlights guidance already provided in current Guides’ Example 5.)

• Third-party certification does not eliminate a marketer’s obligation to have substantiation for all conveyed claims.

For the full write up go to http://www.ftc.gov/green.

These guidelines are extremely important as they become the backbone for all marketing material being created. It's one thing to be green and another thing to convey the attributes correctly and not mislead the public. 

The guidelines also cover:

  • Degradable materials
  • Compostable materials
  • Ozone-Safe / Ozone-Friendly
  • Made with Recyclable Materials
  • Free of AND Non-toxic products
  • Made with Renewable Energy
  • Carbon Offsets

Green is no longer a nice thing to do to create a new marketing edge. It is THE thing to do and we need a common, public way to talk about the accomplishments. 

September 26, 2010

Co-created Ready-to-Wear that's Good-to-Wear

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This month's Green Mom Carnival topic is on sustainable clothing [defined by the Global Organic textile Standard]. It's held on Diane's Big Green Purse and is a painful subject for me--it's hard enough to find something that is professional and flattering; adding the organic requirement makes it almost impossible to locate anything other than T-shirts and hoodies. 

I love yoga-wear, clothes that work with your body and made from hemp or cotton, but I can't wear them to work. We have to get beyond hoodies, T's and pants. Sweetgrass is a step in the right direction, but still has nothing that I'd wear to a board room. Maybe, that's the problem, we need more boardrooms with looser dress codes...

Then I found Mountains of the Moon, which puts form into fashion and bridges the gap between comfort of the gym and the brashness of a boardroom in a fresh, transitional way which any age group could feel comfortable wearing. The prices were reasonable as well, and the products are said to be made in a sweatfree, USofA shop. Most are of a hemp and cotton mix. 

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Screen shot 2010-09-26 at 8.44.38 AM This is exactly what I have been coveting, a dress that fits in a carry-on suit case, can be personalized with necklaces or scarves and I didn't have to stop eating for a month to afford or fit into them. I hope the fashion industry takes note. For the record, I'm the demographic that has money to spend. 

Still, as excited as I am for ready-to- wear that is also good-to-wear, I'm not seeing proof on their site that they are truly eco-friendly. 

Coral Rose posted an excellent introduction paper following the path of how a T-Shirt is made and all the impacts that simple garment has on the environment. GOTS mention above is the law of the free-market land for organic textiles, even Wal Mart pays attention to it. [See Coral at the Lenzing booth at LA's Textile show.] 

As a member of the business community, the decisions we make in our personal lives are just as important as the ones we make in our professional lives. China sends us billions of dollars of cotton clothing, 45% of the cotton it uses comes from the US, unfortunately it isn't green cotton. Who knew that the US and China were so woven together. Both sides are sinners in this exchange--the US for using so many pesticides on their fields and China for allowing their dyes to go directly into the watershed. Both sides can also be saviors, as decisions by individuals make the difference in co-creating a new, global market. 

Case in point, Coral was a change agent for green cotton while she was a Sr. Buyer for Wal Mart, her organic decisions were part of the reason that Wal Mart started down their path to sustainability. But her decision to put organic cotton yoga-wear in the stores would not have created such a stir in Wal Mart's boardroom if the other "buyers", women consumers, didn't purchase them.

We are all co-creators in this green market movement--we are the designers, the Sr. Buyers, the sellers, the consumer buyers, and the writers of sustainable textiles; a multi-billion dollar industry with global impact. What we do at each stage makes a huge difference in changing the world's economy into one that is good for us all.

Go girls. Walk the talk and wear it well. 

September 07, 2010

A Reality Show, by Women for Women

I became a bit player in the In Women We Trust "reality show" the past two weeks. In the book I explored why women turn to each other for advice. In the real-life "show" last week i experienced the answer again and again as to why we are forming our our gender-specific groups at a time when we should all be "equal".

Screen shot 2010-09-07 at 4.11.13 AMFirst up, the Sales Shebang, where 25 female sales professionals came together in Chicago to share ideas and synergies. The women were gracious, giving, and very funny. 


A few days later I found myself in Pasadena at the Women in Green Forum with 300+ of the most engaging women leading sustainable practices in the Los Angeles area. 


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The realty is, it's just plain different when you have a room full of women talking or a room that's dominated by male discussion. The female style is more open, authentic and -- well -- real, real to me anyway and that's the difference on who I felt I could trust with information and who I couldn't. Because my guard was down, I was more open and didn't feel that anyone was holding back on me, either.  

At the Sales Shebang, trade secrets were exchanged as easily as emails. During the Women In Green Forum connections that would have taken months of cold calls were made in minutes. 

The big takeaway from both -- network convergence. Dots are being connected between the silos of disciplines. We may work in one sector, but we share with all.

By now everyone knows that women dominate consumer spending decisions. We are also moving into corporate positions for sales, marketing, purchasing and sustainability (congrats to Andrea Thomas) We may not be at the very top of the corporate food chain, but more of the decisions which effect that corporate bottom line are being made first by us -- that's a reality show worth watching.

April 18, 2010

Green Women Celebrate Earth Day's 40th Birthday

Screen shot 2010-04-03 at 7.01.35 AMWhoo Hoo! Light 'em if you got 'em, Earth Day's 40th birthday is here on April 22. It's time to pause and praise the thousands, maybe millions of Green Women making every day Earth Day by greening their homes and encouraging others through their blogs and community action projects. 

From mommy bloggers like Heather Hawkins and Renee Limon from EnviroMoms to members of the Green Mom Carnival to the team behind the Eco Mom Alliance and their 25,000 green gal pals - women everywhere are joining to support each other's work. 

All the awareness and buzz that they generate is fabulous. In tandem and equally important (but not as visual) are the women working in the B2B zone helping to bring the building, products and investment side of things into the main stream. Together the two groups are co-creating the next eco-culture. 

Coming up on April 28th, The Green Standard Organization, lead by Deborah Dunning, will be hosting a thought leader forum on sustainable standards in DC. They'll be covering the processes, education, financial backing, buildings, products... everything a business needs to make it on a global scale. Deborah's known for her ability to translate sustainable product performance information into a user-friendly format. Between her and another visionary, Marilyn Farmer of Green Building Pages, no one has an excuse that they can't learn what it takes to be sustainable. 

Also at the forum are Leanne Tobias, LEED AP and expert in sustainable commercial real estate projects and portfolios. Working with Leanne, is Martha Paschal. Martha also works with commercial real estate and watches for ways to match Federal stimulus funds to energy-efficient, multi-family projects. 

Another partner in sustainability is Debra Italiano who is so incognito that she doesn't even have a Linked in page, yet if you dusted a sustainable business deal for fingerprints you'd find hers all over it. Without women like these locating opportunities and turning owners into partners, many enterprises wouldn't see the light of an investment day. 

It all comes down to cold, hard, GREEN cash. Without the business of business buying into and enabling change, the green momentum we see now would never make it into mainstream culture. That's where Mindy Lubber, the President of Ceres comes in. (watch her below) Ceres is the leading coalition of investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups. The group touches trillions of dollars and helps guide mega companies into being more environmentally and socially responsible or face the consequences in their stock value. 

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Coral Rose who was at the inception of WalMart first sustainable product experience. Look at what Wal Mart's sustainable direction has done for their profit margin and influence since then. 

These women represent the millions of other women who are holding their ideals high and keeping the green torch burning in the most carbon-free way. At some point soon, perhaps this year, the B2C and B2B worlds will meet. At that moment we'll have the rebirth of a sustainable economy and one heck of a party. 

Happy 40th Earth Day!

December 06, 2009

Business Climate Change - Move one woman and you'll move many

Picture 72 It's Sunday night and the votes and endorsements have yet to tallied for who won the Hopenhagen contest for sending a citizen to Copenhagen Climate Conference

As the counting continues, we have much to be proud of. While others spent weeks building up their headcount of voters, Diane (here) made it to the top of the charts in three days. Imagine what we could have done if we knew about the contest sooner. Diane is also hosting our Green Mom Carnival this month.

Helping Diane up in the ranks took many, MANY women (and men). The list is a cross section of the change agents from those helping companies watch their carbon footprints to women who are relentlessly educating others. The Eco Mom Alliance, who threw in their support is a terrific example of women not only changing their carbon footprint, but getting companies to change theirs via their momfluence. 

We work to inspire and empower women to reduce global warming and propel an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable future. To do this, we utilize the historically proven power of education, mothers and community action, and in this way create a global network of change leaders - an EcoMom Alliance.

I met Eco Mom founder Kimberly when we shared a panel at an LA conference. She spoke about the hands on changes her group of 7,000 moms were making and I spoke about the standards that needed to be endorsed to put everyone on the same playing field. Today her group is 12,000 strong. 

I have to ask, are there any men-only-groups doing the same thing? I'm not asking to point fingers as much as to make a point - after the speeches and promises at Copenhagen, the women who have been working hard on Climate Change issues before the conference will be the ones still working after the conference closes. 

November 15, 2009

Recycling never looked so good on our countertops

Today is America recycles Day. It couldn't be more timely. I just returned from Greenbuild which is the US Green Building Council's once-a-year conference. 

Last year the showroom floor had only a couple of recycled glass counter tops, this year it seemed like they were everywhere and in every form - small single color quartz like tops, large arty mixtures, and mono-toned glass with brightly colored grout. What was a novelty has become an industry sector. 

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But it didn't stop at glass. If sparkle and shine isn't your thing you could also select from a multitude of colors in 100% recycled paper turned into what felt like stone. (aptly named Paperstone) It was heavy, cool-to-the-touch and apparently impervious to knife cuts or heat. For more sustainability info go here.

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Admittedly both options are expensive, but so is granite and that doesn't seem to stop the world from buying it up by the strip mine full... At least when you buy recycled products as stunning as these not only is your home a better place and you're helping to co-create a new sustainable marketplace. 

October 20, 2009

A Mindful Momma is more than "Practically Green"...

... She's practically everyone's Grandma. (sorry Micaela, but you gave me a flashback)

In her new book, Practically Green, Micaela Preston embodies women of another age who understood how to make their own cleaning supplies, create their own fun and COOK!  Practically Green provides all the tips that you'd normally get from working side-by-side a sage woman of the house, but with a green twist. It won't take you a lifetime to learn however, Micaela takes the learning curve done to a month or less. 

Picture 12 Micaela, who also authors the Mindful Momma blog, created this delightful book that's a joy to read and hold in your hand. At 5-1/2 by 7 inches, its small size makes it easy to carry in your purse for a reference while shopping. 

Like many of the how-to-be-green books it's jammed with ideas and fun facts for keeping your family toxin-free. What makes it different is the tone. Facts come at you in small bites with lots of pictures that draw you through the book. 

It would make a perfect stocking stuffer, but it might be more fun to follow Micaela's instructions for making lip balm or fizzy bath balls from scratch and give green gifts this year. Or, instead of making a fruit cake you might want to bring Very Veggie Loaf to the holiday open houses. Why not? At least the Very Veggie Loaf will be eaten.

This isn't green for the sustainable die hards, it's green for the rest of us who just want to live our lives a bit better, but don't know where to start or how to stay motivated. The book will keep you busy trying its recipes and crafts and also give you tips for getting food and glue out of clothing. Or, dump the clothes and try the vanilla sugar body scrub.

Start inserting these practical changes into your family and your grandchildren will remember who taught them what to do. 

July 29, 2009

To Review or Not to Review...

Could you do it? Could you turn down a FREE NEW REFRIGERATOR in exchange for three months of (hopefully) positive reviews? How honest could you be at that high of a freebie price tag? Below is how Diane handled it.

Moral Marketing (to each other) is the new concern of social media marketing. When Neilsen tracks 10,000 women bloggers for their mass media appeal just like they do magazines and newspapers, you know the tide has turned. Because the influence of the blogging woman is so high, because high product praise from a friend carries so much influence, companies are doing whatever they can to get women to endorse their products in writing. 

By the time I was done writing "In Women We Trust" it was apparent that in Women we better trust as we find our voices and do online what they've been doing off line for generations - sharing experiences about food, products and life.  

Many in our green women group have set policies for reviews. My policy is that I'll only review products or books that serve the triple bottom line of people, planet and then profits. The products must be certified as sustainable like Forbo's Marmoleum (SMaRT certified) and books must offer insights into how to turn the world greener and safer. 

What's your moral marketing policy? Will you blog about anything, or does the product/service need to hold itself to higher standards first?What is your standard for changing the world? Are you a change agent or an enabler?

July 07, 2009

Judith Helfand takes on Vinyl.

Picture 4 My thanks Mario for flagging this older but very poignant film called Blue Vinyl by Judith Helfand and Daniel B. Gold  on the same day that the Plastics Industry announces a $10 million campaign to tell us how safe plastics are. 

I haven't seen the campaign and can't comment on the types of plastics it covers, but after watching this film, I'll be watching the campaign with a new level of questions.

Below is a snippet of the whole documentary. (thanks again Mario)

Watch it for the subject matter.
Watch it for how to create award winning documentaries.
Watch it for how the spin factor happens when direct questions are asked.

Then keep that in mind when watching the $10 million worth of commercials.

BTW, SMaRT is only one sustainable standard that I know of that will not certify products as "sustainable" if they have any PVC's in their supply chain.

Blue Vinyl - Documentary Highlights of the Toxic Plastic from Mario Vellandi on Vimeo.