Aug 7, 2008


I'm starting to see it in the scrapbook industry. Some of our manufacturers are starting to take on a "green sheen". Let's define these terms:

a term used to describe the perception of consumers that they are being misled by a company regarding the environmental practices of the company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.

The term Green sheen has similarly been used to describe organizations which attempt to appear that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The use of greenwashing consumers is increasing at lightning speed in the world of business. I even see that CHA's "theme" for the winter trade show is "It's Easy Being Green". I wonder if Kermit will be wandering the floor. Oh wait, he said it WASN'T easy being green. How is crafting NOT environmentally friendly? I mean, come on, I've TOUCHED paper made from Elephant Poop. Mr. Ellie Poo (who bless, his heart endures way too many lame jokes at the trade shows) wins my vote for environmentally friendly crafting. Unfortunately, I just can't ever see myself matting a photo with elephant poop paper - unless the photo is from the zoo. I know, I know - it's acid free (they must give the Elephants Zantac or Prilosec with every meal), etc., etc., etc., but still...

But, I'd say crafting IS green for the most part. It's people at home making products for personal use or as gifts and not driving their carbon burping, gas-guzzling cars to the mall to shop for meaningless trinkets that no one really wants anyway. So, just what does "green" mean?

I'm always cautious about "buzz words". It's like when everything was "low carb" 5 years ago. Everyone scrambled to say their product was "low carb". The same could be said for the phrase, "No Trans Fats". It's everywhere now - often on products that never contained any in the first place. It's a shameless marketing ploy designed to take advantage of the latest craze. Trans fats are bad for you, but if you understand that, you're already reading the labels looking for products that don't contain them.

"Green" or "Environmentally Friendly" has now entered the scrapbook industry. But, I am sort of confused as to what it means. What WASN'T environmentally friendly before? Were patterned papers printed with toxic inks? Did we test our adhesives on animals? (insert photo of bunny covered with Herma tabs here). Were our scissors made of lead? Do we need to pay "carbon offsets" to Terra Firm to plant trees in exchange for running our Cricuts? And, most scrapbook stores I've been to already pack my stuff into a paper sack. Just what WAS contributing to "Climate Change" in our industry that needed to be "greened up"? I didn't realize that I should feel guilty for scrapbooking.

Okay, a large percentage of our products are made in China. China definitely has a pollution problem. But, as a nation of factories, I believe it's really their responsibility to "green up" their factories. And, due to higher transportation costs and a weak dollar, some in our industry are moving manufacturing back to the states.

According to environmental marketing company, TerraChoice, there are 6 sins of Greenwashing. Basically, I'd call it a "Green Baloney Detector". Learn to separate the truth from the hype.

  1. The Sin of the Hidden Trade-Off: So, the paper is made from recycled material but if it's printed in China or at a printer that is not "green", then what's the point? A truly "green" company would green up the entire process from start to finish.
  2. The Sin of No Proof: Just slapping the label on means nothing. Read number 3 - we've never had any proof, have we really?
  3. The Sin of Vagueness: What does your claim REALLY mean? It's like the whole "Acid Free" thing. It's really rather vague. Does it mean the product has been certified as truly acid free by an independent laboratory or does it mean, "The printer told us the paper he used was acid free"? Very vague, indeed.
  4. The Sin of Irrelevance: Remember the "CK OK" label? I never could figure out what that meant and why it was relevant. It meant nothing.
  5. The Sin of Fibbing: If you don't absolutely KNOW that your product is environmentally safe or friendly, then don't make that claim just to get buzz.
  6. The Sin of the Lesser of Two Evils: Un-Do comes to mind. It was apparently toxic in it's former form. But, hey, we all used it by the buckets full to get stickers off our page. So, a toxic product with a good use is what this sin is all about. Sort of like cigarettes with lower tar. How about you don't smoke in the first place...
So, as these claims start popping up more and more in our industry, don't be fooled by them if they are nothing more than a claim slapped across a package. Will scrappers REALLY buy paper that's made from post-consumer recycled waste over paper that's not? What if the "green" paper is ugly? Would you buy it and use it anyway - just to "save the planet"?

By the way... this blog is 100% Green. I produced no carbon emissions while writing it. Oh wait, my computer was on - DANG. Okay, then I'm turning the font green.

No comments: