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Is this wave of green marketing for real?

joelJoel Makower, a business writer and consultant, has an interesting post that puts the current surge of “green” marketing interest from firms in context. Back in 1990, there was a surge of environmental interest and a whole bunch of firms jumped on the bandwagon, as Joel describes:

At the time, it seemed like the floodgates of greener products were about to open. Large consumer product companies like Procter & Gamble and Unilever were dipping their corporate toes into the green waters, with the expectation that they would eventually dive in. Big retailers like Home Depot and Wal-Mart conducted in-store promos featuring greener products.

We could smell change coming.

It didn’t come. Many of those early products were outright failures: biodegradable trash bags that didn’t degrade (or degraded a little too quickly); clunky fluorescent bulbs that emitted horrible hues; recycled paper products with the softness of sandpaper; greener cleaners that couldn’t cut the mustard, literally.

But this time around, in his view, this time around, “it’s serious” (read the full post here). And Greenbang thinks he’s right: you can hardly walk through a store any more without spotting something that’s being pitched from an environmental angle. Some of it is obvious dross, of uncertain value, or simply two-faced, but the volume of stuff coming through seems real enough. Let’s hope so.

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