when we heal the earth, we heal ourselves. david orr

Alicia on The Mike Nowak Show

Chicago horticulture expert Mike Nowak invited me on his radio show to discuss Earth Hour. LISTEN HERE. I'm about 3/4 of the way into the recording.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wal-Mart to Create Green Rating System

Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc, is announcing plans today to create a green rating system for store products that could put more purchasing power into consumers' hands in the future- or just turn out to be a huge greenwashing party.

The rating system might not hit store shelves for a few years, but Wal-Mart plans to start its first phase of the project soon by asking suppliers to answer a questionnaire to determine each product's level of eco-friendliness. Factors such as water use in the manufacturing process and recycling potential will count toward a product's final rating.

I've heard criticism that the cost of some products may rise when suppliers decide to redesign them to get a better eco-rating, which industry consultant Burt P. Flichinger said can increase a product's cost up to 3 percent.

My concern is the greenwashing that will ensue. Companies will be scrambling to get a competitive edge by having a more eco-looking product. How does Wal-Mart plan to verify the story-telling from suppliers? Unless the government standardizes the process and creates specific penalties for greenwashing, I'm not sure that the rating system will mean much.

What say you?

P.S. Try reading THIS ARTICLE for a comprehensive analysis on the topic.

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