Is it for profits? Is it for the environment? Does it matter?
These days you can hardly turn on the TV without seeing a commercial for some new environmentally friendly product, whether it is a new hybrid car or detergent that helps you use less energy. Does it matter what the motivations behind these products are? In an ideal world companies would produce green products because they want to improve the environment, but we don’t live in an ideal world and business is all about making a profit. The companies that broke into the “green market” first had the competitive advantage; they were able to supply those environmentally conscious consumers with products that met their demand. As the demand grew so did the wide variety of products to choose from. These products are made available to buyers whether the company is trying to protect the environment or not, so it shouldn’t matter to us as consumers why companies chose to produce “green products”. I don’t think we should focus on the motivations behind environmentally safe goods, we should appreciate the fact that we have the option to choose from so many.
I want to clarify one point; I don’t think consumers should become complacent with green products out on the market today. We are the driving force pushing companies to come up with better products. If no one demanded free trade coffee, there wouldn’t be numerous kinds to choose from at Safeway tuna. If no one demanded a more efficient car that was safer for the environment there wouldn’t be multiple models of hybrids on the market. If you don’t buy from a certain company because they don’t meet your “green” standards, you help force them to become more environmentally friendly. As consumers we should keep demanding better products and reward those companies who are changing and growing to meet our demands, whether the company is changing to help the environment or just to make a profit.