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Organic cigarets or greenwashing December 30, 2008

Posted by ieva in Uncategorized.
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As climate changes and global pollution problems become bigger and bigger and more companies adopt “green” strategies to attract clients, we also get more and more greenwashing.

The term “greenwashing” is generally used when significantly more money or time has been spent advertising being green , rather than spending resources on environmentally sound practices. This is often portrayed by changing the name or label of a product, to give the feeling of nature, for example putting an image of a forest on a bottle containing harmful chemicals. Environmentalists often use greenwashing to describe the actions of energy companies, which are traditionally the largest polluters. (wikipedia)

What should we watch out for?

– The claims are vague- using terms like “natural” , “environmentally friendly”, “good for the planet” etc. – and aren’t backed up with specific facts.

– The product is billed as having no environmental impact.

– The company claims that purchasing their products you can “save the planet”.

– The claims aren’t verified by an independant and credible third party.

– The green products/ services represent a tin fraction of the company’s overall business.

– The company doesn’t respond to specific questions, via phone, e mail, website.

(suggestions from the book “WorldChanging)

This list certainly makes me think of many companies who’s services and products I’m facing daily. Just look at some supermarkets that have a few organic products that they advertise day and night…

You can download the “Greenwash Guide” here.


The best way I have ever invested 10 pounds. December 22, 2008

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Worldchanging: A Users Guide for the 21st Centur.

Very exciting and inspiring!

Green consciousness December 2, 2008

Posted by ieva in Uncategorized.
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I get this feeling quite often that I’m spending my life waisting the resources of the planet and as a designer I probably do it even more than an average citizen. Even if I would create everything in a strictly sustainable way, still most of the new products that come in the market are totally unnecessary and their main reason to exist is to create profit.

(photo by Virginia A. Spiegel)

Gijs Bakker gave a lecture at the beginning of the year at the Design Academy. In general it was quite boring (and I was very disappointed, caus’ I respect him for his work) but he said a nice sentence that “every generation has rights for self expression”. So I can relay on this idea… at least while I’m still studying.

But I see more and more companies getting worried about ecological questions. Even if I think that most of the times they just worry about their image. They know that more and more people want to consume “in a responsible way” so they make efforts to become a little bit greener. Here are just some examples.

On the website of Patagonia you can now find some interesting information. For example, if you have just purchased a Vitality Strappy dress, you can see that it had to travel 26 131 km to be made out of the original fibers. There were 14 kg of CO2 emissions and 425g of waist materials (1,5times the weight of the final product). 35kWh of energy were consumed to manufacture and transport one single dress (equal of a 18W fluorescent light bulb burning for 81 day 24h/day). Do you still like your dress as much as a minute ago? Can just the fact of knowing what we are causing to the nature make us feel better? It makes me feel a bit desperate. Being smart and conscious is not enough, we need some action!

Swedish fashion company Philippa K opened this summer a second hand shop in Stockholm. ”We are incredibly proud to be able to work with sustainability in this way. The fact that the superb quality and design of our products enable us to operate a second hand concept is very much in line with the things for which Filippa K stands,” says Filippa Knutsson, Creative Director. Will the brands’ second hand shops be the new trend?

The Nespresso megabrand is also promoting itself as sustainable. They say they work with small farmers all over the world, they collect the empty coffee capsules (I know lots of people who have a Nespresso coffee machine but I don’t know anybody who brings the used capsules back to the shop! That ‘s a huge amount of aluminium waste!).

The Ode magazine promises to plant a tree for every new subscriber! I have to say it’s tempting (the tree and the magazine) ! But do we have to wait for others to do things for us?!

Fly November 28, 2008

Posted by ieva in books, Uncategorized.
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“In Europe, where there are already 500 000 000 passengers fly a year, and there are already 28 000 flights each day during the peak season, fewer than 8% of the Europeans have ever been in an aircraft.” Can you believe this!?

“Modern mobility comes with a price, but the price tag is seldom visible, and we seldom pay it- or not directly. Its costs are hidden. Not only the transport is expensive n time and money to the user, but it involves such external and hidden coss as accidents, traffic congestion, air pollution, climate change, noise, and hidden infrastructure costs. (..)

There is no international agreement how to measure the matter and the energy burden imposed by aviation, but clever organization called CLiPP (Climate Protection Partnership), which sells “climate tickets”, reckons we should all pay roughly 6,5 euros per hour flown in order to found projects that foster the use of renewable energies or more efficient uses of energy. Aircraft manufacturers have promised to halve pollution from their aircraft by 2010- but the traffic as a whole will probably triple by then, meaning that the environmental impact of aviation will rise 50 percent. ”

Text from another “designers’ bible” I discovered about a year ago- “In the bubble” by John Tackara.

You can partly read the book online.

More to follow.