For a variety of reasons, over the last couple of years I started to develop a dislike for the descriptor “green”. This, of course, should seem quite odd. I am a green business owner and I named my business Greenovations, after all. But with the over use and excessive misuse of the term I was developing a sense of snobbery towards it. Like any good thing that gets diluted too much too resemble its original self, green began to feel passe, meaningless and bland. Everything these days is green, after all, and every company has some sort of statement validating their green-ness to the not so weary, typical consumer. In fact, most consumers, lacking the knowledge or motivation to verify claims will fall prey to bogus statements and ambiguous green labels.
So for the most of two years I have been favoring the word sustainable over green. Sustainable had seemed to cover more ground, while at the same time being less susceptible to green washing. And yet, at the same time, the term green has developed a greater meaning and as a result I have learned to appreciate the word again. These days, for those committed to a green lifestyle, the word green has grown to include more factors than eco-friendliness. The term now seems to encompass the additional concerns of human health and fair labor practices. Green is about health when you really think about it; a healthy planet, healthy people, healthy practices – they’re all connected. At the same time, clear correlations between sustainability and labor practices have been identified. Generally, those companies willing to abuse employees through poor working conditions and poverty level wages have been shown to be equally likely to have no concern for the environment and no concern for human health. Just the same, companies committed to the environment have been show to be committed to their work-force, as well. So, I think it’s awesome that green has grown to include issues of fair trade and fair labor. Even concerns of human health were once secondary to eco-friendliness when defining green.
I don’t think this is a new phenomena, however. For a long time now, businesses like Greenovations have required our products to meet all of these criteria, but now the growing meaning of the term green is becoming more mainstream and will need to continue to grow as more people adopt green, genuinely or dishonestly. Every product I sell is produced by companies that provide good working conditions and fair, livable wages, such as EcoTimber and UltraTouch insulation. Even the few import products we have such as Mexican made Premier sinks meet these standards. A lot of that has to do with simply seeking out products made right here in the USA or places like Canada and Europe where working conditions and wages are required to meet a fair standard.
Green is growing in more ways than one. What more can I say.