Let’s go green

Lots of talk about the environment, climate change, etc these days.

What’s been interesting to watch is how companies respond to the green issue. Something which grabbed my attention last weekend was Nike Considered – Nike’s upcoming Air Jordan XX3 which will be the brand’s first truly green sneaker. According to the design team behind the project the Air Jordan XX3 must adhere to the following criteria:

1. Must be made from recyclable materials. (i.e., 100% recyclable plastics or veg-tanned leathers.)
2. Zero Toxins. Zero chemical adhesives. (no glue.)
3. Mechanical vs Chemical. (using mechanics and engineering to put the shoe together instead of chemical solutions.)
4. Closed Loop Technology. (the shoe must be able to come back 100% as another shoe or something else. Nothing goes to waste.)

What I found surprising about the project was the first thing that came to my mind was the negative connotations associated with the brand.

Going green is seen as a good thing to do. Surprising to see how a company’s efforts can be turned on its head.

By creating product lines in a bid to create a halo effect, sometimes it can slightly backfire. For example, the New York Times discusses some problems Toyota recently ran into because of the company’s green credentials:

Toyota’s … green credibility was damaged by the introduction of the Tundra, and even by the ultraluxury LS 600h L, a performance hybrid with the equivalent of a V-12 that even environmentalists frowned on.

Toyota executives admitted they did not anticipate the force of attacks on the company over the last year from environmental groups. “We took a lot of hits,” said James Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales, the company’s American sales arm.

The barrage began when the Tundra was introduced early last year. Another volley came when Toyota joined the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a lobbying group, in opposing an increase in federal fuel economy standards.

Toyota’s participation “struck a lot of environmentalists as the ultimate in hypocrisy,” said Jim Kliesch, a senior analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental group.

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Piaras Kelly
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