The market has always been packed with companies and corporations who claim that their product is the cheapest, or the most fashionable, or the highest quality. Boasting that your business is the most eco-friendly is a comparatively recent trend, but anybody who’s seen a car advert in the last decade will tell you that being green is crucial if you want to sell anything nowadays. For all the people who believe that climate change is a load of rubbish, there’s no way that the forest-levelling, smog-blowing corporations of yore could ever crack the modern market. Us 21st century consumers are just too enviro-conscious.
Cars are the prime example. There was a time when speed, size and price were the main considerations for someone purchasing an automobile, but now you’ll find that all the big car companies are far more focused on proving to customers that their vehicle is the greenest. Car adverts speak in carbon footprints and miles to the gallon, and Top Gear-style talk of horsepower and top speeds is nowhere to be heard. Gas-guzzling supercars still have their disciples, of course, but nobody buys a Lamborghini for the commute to work. They buy a nice, reasonable, environmentally-friendly car, because that’s what all the car adverts on TV seem to be concerned with.
Still, it’s not just cars. Everything from toys to toilets is judged on how eco-friendly it is, and the truth is that no company can afford to entirely ignore the importance of The Green Factor. Even if the product itself has no obvious bearing on the world around it, the operations of the people who make it will always be carefully scrutinised. In a world where biodegradable coffins and pollution-sensitive dresses are actual products that you can really buy, the environmentalist eye of the general public doesn’t look kindly on companies who don’t give the planet the respect it deserves. The Home Depot, an American DIY chain, evoked protest in 2009 when environmentalists caught wind of their move to build dams on Chilean rivers, and Donald Trump’s controversial plans to build a golf course in Balmedie (which lies within a site of special scientific interest) incurred a torrent of Scottish wrath that’s received a lot of publicity recently.
No wonder, then, that modern companies are so keen to highlight their environmental credentials. Recycled goods are more popular than ever before; products as diverse as clocks, wallets and garden decking can be made from recycled materials nowadays, and you’d have to be pretty short-sighted not to see how important The Green Factor is in the current market. Of course, the fact that being environmentally-friendly is such a valued selling point suggests that there are still plenty of non-green products still available, but perhaps one day this won’t be the case. And when all things – cars, appliances, stationery – are green, we’ll probably end up back where we were: racing to produce the fastest, most fashionable green car money can buy.
This guest article was written by Joel Dear on behalf of TimberTech UK, suppliers of hard-wearing (and environmentally-friendly) garden decking.