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Green Purse Alerts!

Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • « May 2008 | Main | July 2008 »

    June 27, 2008

    Recycling CFLs is Finally Easy to Do!

    Home_depot If you like the idea of energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs but worry about the mercury they contain, now you can worry a lot less. The Home Depot is selling bulbs that have cut the amount of mercury most bulbs contain in half. And when you’re finished with the bulbs, you can recycle them – along with any other CFLs you have – at any of the company’s 1,973 stores.

    Collection_of_cfb Simply bring in your expired, unbroken CFL bulbs, and give them to the store associate behind the returns desk. The bulbs will be handled by an environmental management company that will coordinate CFL packaging, transportation and recycling to maximize safety and ensure environmental compliance.

    “With more than 75 percent of households located within 10 miles of a Home Depot store, this program is the first national solution to providing Americans with a convenient way to recycle CFLs,” said the company’s Ron Jarvis, senior vice president, Environmental Innovation.

    What’s the appeal of CFLs? They  use up to 75 percent less energy, last longer and cost less over time than incandescent bulbs. The average household can reduce its energy bills by $12 to $20 a month by using CFLs. The bulbs were once accused of emitting a harsh, glaring light. But many bulbs generate a softer, yellower light now, increasing the appeal of using them for any room in the house.

    In addition to recycling CFLs, The Home Depot plans to introduce more dimmable compact fluorescents within the year. Home Depot’s bulbs contain 2.3 to 3.5 milligrams of mercury, which is below the National Electrical Manufacturers Association recommendation of 5 milligrams or fewer. It is a small amount, equivalent to the volume of the steel ball in the tip of a ballpoint pen. By comparison, home thermostats contain about 1,000 times more mercury than the common CFL.

    The company says it sold more than 75 million CFL’s in 2007, saving Americans approximately $4.8 billion in energy costs and preventing 51.8 billon pounds in climate-changing greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere over the life of the bulbs.

    The Home Depot is not only encouraging consumers to change their light bulbs. It’s doing the same in its own stores. The company expects to save $16 million in annual energy costs by switching all of its U.S. Light Fixture Showrooms to CFLs by the fall of 2008.

    Home_depot_ecoearthday The CFL recycling program is an extension of The Home Depot's Eco Options program. Eco Options, launched in April 2007, is a classification that allows customers to easily identify products that have less of an impact on the environment. 

    Switching from traditional light bulbs to CFLs is an easy change consumers can make to reduce energy use at home. According to the EPA's ENERGY STAR(R) program, if every American switched one incandescent bulb to a CFL, it would prevent more than $600 million in annual energy costs and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from 800,000 cars.

    NOTE:  Consumers can also recycle CFLs at any IKEA store.

    Thumb_green Thumbs up to both Home Depot and Ikea!

    June 26, 2008

    EcoSearch Surfs the World (Wide Web) and Raises Money to Protect It, Too

    Ecosmall Meet the world's first search engine dedicated solely to protecting the planet.

    EcoSearch.org has partnered up with Google to create a homepage you can search exactly as you would at Google.com. The earth advantage: Google shares a portion of its advertising revenue the same way it does with websites like CNN.com and AOL.com. The difference? EcoSearch donates 100% of its profits to nonprofit organizations like Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council. Talk about an easy way to raise money for earth-saving initiatives!

    David Krasnow, the brains behind the operation, says "EcoSearch was formed because we are dedicated environmentalists who want to make a difference, and believe that, when given the opportunity, millions of people will join us."

    Krasnow notes that, "In the past 3 months, Google paid over a BILLION dollars to advertising partners. Unlike for-profit companies which put all this money into the pockets of individuals (usually already incredibly rich individuals), EcoSearch donates, as required by law, all of its profits to charities."

    Adds Krasnow, "We built this site for you. Without your participation, nothing changes. So please, use us whenever you search, tell all your friends, and if you think of a way that we can improve, please don’t hesitate to let us know!"

    Thumb_green_2  Great idea, David.  Thumbs up!





    June 25, 2008

    Eco-Unity Event Urges Environmentalists to Vote for Obama

    Obama_2  Washington, D.C. "greenies" turned out in droves last night to demonstrate their support for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

    The event was billed as a "unity" event, and former EPA Administrator Carol Browner -- a one-time Hillary supporter -- urged the crowd to follow her lead and get behind the Democratic nominee. The enviros, partying just a stone's throw from the U.S. Capitol building, didn't need much convincing, especially given Republican candidate John McCain's recent flip-flop on oil drilling. The once ardent advocate of protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other sensitive environmental areas from petroleum exploration now says it's time to rush headlong into drilling as a way to reduce the high price of gas. Hmmm, what about conservation? Or getting those auto companies to increase fuel efficiency? (Full Disclosure: I'm on the board of the Alaska Wilderness League, and have helped protect the refuge from oil drilling for almost 20 years.)

    Carol_browner "John McCain will not be good for the environment," Browner, right, told her boisterous audience. "If anyone tells you they think McCain will be a good president, you only need to say one word in reply:  NO!!" 

    Sen. John Kerry, the Massachusetts Senator who was the Democratic nominee four years ago, also took the stage to encourage environmentalists not just to vote for Sen. Obama, but to work for him. His suggestions were seconded by former U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, who minced no words as he held the microphone. "You can make the difference," he said. "We have no time to lose, so let's get started."

    June 21, 2008

    Carrots and Sticks are Greening the Marketplace

    Consumers are showing increasing ingenuity in using their money to protect the planet.

    The original marketplace campaigns revolved around boycotts (think Cesar Chavez, farmworkers, and grapes) -- an effective "stick" if there ever was one, considering the whipping grape growers needed to take before they were willing to treat their employees fairly.

    Carrots_bunch_2  Big Green Purse has been more focused on a "carrot" approach. Too get product manufacturers to reduce pollution and limit their contribution to global warming, Big Green Purse encourages consumers to favor the products that offer the greatest environmental benefit (think compact fluorescent bulbs over incandescents, or organic food over conventionally grown fruits and vegetables). The rationale? Consumers can strategically use the money they spend on eco goods and services to create incentives for companies to produce even more eco options. Though there's been virtually no forward environmental motion in the legislative arena over the past decade, the marketplace has been greening like gangbusters. Consumers -- especially women, who spend $.85 of every dollar - can accelerate the trend by being even more intentional about the products they buy. Choosing goods that are certified sustainable (like lumber made from FSC-certified wood, or tile made from SMaRT-certified linoleum) sends an even bigger, louder message to companies that there is more money to be made in going green.

    (This idea has gained so much traction, it's got its own conferences. Sustainable Brands '08 just concluded - read an excellent summary by Mary Hunt over at In Women We Trust.)

    Carrotmob Another way to dangle the "carrot" is to persuade retailers that their entire business -- not just sales of one or two products -- will increase if they transition to a more environmentally responsible operation. CarrotMob has proven that this approach can be pretty tasty to shop keepers. The organization queried several liquor stores in San Francisco about their interest in saving energy. The one that vowed to save the most - 22% - received not only CarrotMob's blessing, but the benefit of an organizing campaign that increased store sales more than three-fold -- on just one day! Customers could buy whatever they wanted; the store donated 22% of its sales to energy-saving measures that would reduce its own healing and cooling costs, among other benefits.

    As legislators increasingly fall prey to polluting political action committees, or the confounding complexity of dealing with so many different party leaders, it's increasingly apparent that real environmental change can and must be driven by the marketplace. And what makes the marketplace so powerful? All of us green consumers -- and the "carrots" we're dangling.

    June 17, 2008

    Organic Food, Prius Help Businesswoman Become "One in a Million"

    For anyone out there who wonders how your shopping dollars can help protect the environment, look no further than Kat Schon. The co-owner of a small business in Portland, Oregon, Kat has shifted not just one, but thousands of dollars into products that help protect the planet. And she’s done it at work as well as at home.

    Kat_with_flowers_2Simply what Kat does at her company, Portland Store Fixtures, could qualify her for star status in the Big Green Purse “One in a Million” campaign, our effort to engage a million women in shifting $1,000 of their household budget to more eco-friendly options. Portland Store Fixtures sells new and used fixtures for anyone interested in running a retail establishment. The company’s mantra is:

    “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Give those “experienced” fixtures a chance to shine.” 

    Kat and her partner Penney are always on the look-out for gently worn display cases, fabrics, and even mannequins that another proprietor can put to good re-use. Since 1998, they’ve helped hundreds of stores get up and running, often by using recycled materials.

    To keep her staff of seven fueled, Kat has organized a weekly organic food delivery to the office. “We signed on with a company called SPUD that efficiently delivers food and allows us to pick what foods we will receive every week.  We pick organic, locally grown fruit and vegetables because it keeps the dollar local and out of the gas tank.”

    Plus, says Kat, “We shop organically and have done so for the last two years.  We also buy (personally and for the business) non-toxic cleaners, recycled products and reuse everything!  We sell used store fixtures so we really take the "reuse" part seriously.  Our invoices, letters and faxes are all on already printed on one side paper.  And then we will use them for scrap paper!”

    Kat estimates she’s shifted $28 per week for the local organic food delivery, and $200 per week for more eco-friendly grocery and cleaning products.

    But the purchase that really propelled her into the “One in a Million” pantheon?

    She recently bought a $22,000 Prius, the gas-saving hybrid car that can get as much as 50 miles out of every gallon of gas.

    Thumb_green Thumbs up, Kat! You're really One in a Million!

    June 13, 2008

    How to Find Safe Tomatoes

    Salmonella, the deadly bacterium that has a sneaky way of infiltrating our fruits and vegetables, has struck again. Since April 10, at least 228 people in 23 states have been sickened by the contaminant (the states include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Michigan, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin, though it is not known if the tomatoes were grown in those states or imported.) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Salmonella outbreak might have also contributed to the death of a Texas cancer patient.

    Here’s a quick run-down on how to stay safe from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, as well as a list of reasonable options if you still want to eat tomatoes this summer.

    What You Can Eat, What to Avoid:

    Plumtomatoes_2 Avoid raw red plum, raw red Roma, and raw red round tomatoes that have NOT been grown in the following states:

    Alabama
    Alaska
    Arkansas
    California
    Colorado
    Delaware
    Florida (counties of: Jackson, Gadsden, Leon, Jefferson, Madison, Suwannee, Hamilton, Hillsborough, Polk, Manatee, Hardee, DeSoto, Sarasota, Highlands, Pasco, Sumter, Citrus, Hernando, Charlotte)*
    Georgia
    Hawaii
    Iowa
    Kansas
    Kentucky
    Louisiana
    Maine
    Maryland
    Massachusetts
    Michigan
    Minnesota
    Mississippi
    Missouri
    New Hampshire
    New Jersey
    New York
    Nebraska                                                                     
    North Carolina
    Ohio
    Pennsylvania
    South Carolina
    Tennessee
    Texas
    Utah
    Vermont
    Virginia
    Washington
    West Virginia
    Wisconsin
    Belgium
    Canada
    Dominican Republic
    Guatemala
    Israel
    Netherlands
    Puerto Rico
    * Shipments of tomatoes harvested in these counties are acceptable with a certificate issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

    Eat:

    Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and tomatoes still on the vine appear to be safe to eat. Canned (that is, processed) or bottled foods like grocery-store tomato juice and spaghetti sauce are also safe if they were processed by a commercial food-processing facility.

    Be wary of fresh salsa, guacamole, pico de gallo, and other prepared foods that contain tomatoes. Ask the proprietor of the store or restaurant to verify the source of the tomatoes they use. If you’re unsure that the tomatoes are safe, says the FDA’s food safety chief, Dr. David Acheson, “don’t eat them.”

    Get Treatment Immediately

    People who have eaten food contaminated with Salmonella often have fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Infection with Salmonella also may be more serious or fatal in young children, frail or elderly people, and people with weakened immune systems. If you suspect Salmonella poisoning, seek medical help immediately.

    Know How Salmonella Spreads

    Salmonella lives in the intestinal tracts of some animals, and can survive in soil and water for months. Once Salmonella has contaminated something, it can be spread from surface to surface. A tomato contaminated with Salmonella can spread the bacterium to the hands of a person who cuts the tomato and to the cutting board on which the tomato is sliced, for example. Because Salmonella is very hard to wash off, the FDA says consumers should not try to wash tomatoes that are implicated in the outbreak. Instead, throw these tomatoes out.

    Redtomato_2Consumers should not attempt to cook potentially contaminated tomatoes, either. Handling tomatoes contaminated with Salmonella can spread the bacterium to anything the handler touches, including hands, kitchen utensils, cutting boards, sinks, and other foods. Plus, cooking tomatoes in the home will not necessarily kill Salmonella.

    What About Tomatoes from Farmers’ Markets and Other Locally Grown Sources?

    Before you buy tomatoes from the local farmers’ market, make sure the tomatoes were indeed grown locally. Farmers' markets get their tomatoes from a variety of sources that are not necessarily limited to local farms. These other sources may include the same ones that provided the tomatoes implicated in the Salmonella outbreak. Ask retailers at farmers' markets where their tomatoes come from to be sure they haven’t been grown in a state where salmonella is present.

    That being said, chances may be higher that tomatoes grown at your local farmers' market are safe. Find the nearest farmers’ market at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s website.

    To find farmers that sell direct to consumers look here.

    To find food grown in your community, check with Local Harvest here.

    Want to grow your own? There’s still time to plant and harvest tomatoes. You can put them in big pots on your porch or patio, or in a backyard garden. Get organic gardening tips here.

    And if you want to plant a garden but have no room at your own home or apartment, try a community garden. If it’s too late for this year, get on the waiting list for this fall or next spring.

    June 10, 2008

    Save $20-$50 Per Month on Gasoline

    Gas_pump When it comes to global warming, burning less gas has always made sense. Now that gasoline costs more than $4.00 a gallon, reducing our consumption at the pump makes "cents," too. These ten tips offer the fastest, easiest ways you can save gas - and money.
    1. Drive smart - Avoid quick starts and stops, use cruise control on the highway, and don't idle.

    2. Drive the speed limit - Remember - every 5 mph you drive above 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.10 per gallon for gas.

    3. Drive less - Walk, bicycle, use a scooter or moped, combine trips, and telecommute.

    4. Drive a more fuel-efficient car - Consider one of the new hybrids; at the very least, choose from among the EPA's "Fuel Economy Leaders" in the class vehicle you're considering.

    5. Keep your engine tuned up - Improve gas mileage by an average of 4.1 percent by maintaining your vehicle in top condition.

    6. Carpool - According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, 32 million gallons of gasoline would be saved each day if every car carried just one more passenger on its daily commute.

    7. Use mass transit and "Ride Share" programs (here and here)- Why pay for gasoline at all?

    8. Keep tires properly inflated - Improve gas mileage by around 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Replace worn tires with the same make and model as the originals.

    9. Buy the cheapest gas you can find - Buy gas in the morning, from wholesale shopper's clubs, and using gas-company rebate cards. Track neighborhood prices on the Internet, at GasBuddy.com.

    10. Support higher fuel-efficiency standards and the development of alternative fuels - Ultimately, our best hope for beating the gas crisis is to increase fuel efficiency while we transition to renewable and non-petroleum based fuels. Endorse efforts to boost average fuel efficiency to at least 40 mpg. Support programs that promote research and development of alternatives to transportation systems based on oil.

    NOTE: For more ways to stop global warming, don't miss the Green Moms Carnival at OrganicMania.

    June 07, 2008

    Eco-Gadgets That Deliver a Good Workout, Too

    Bruce Hathaway, an editor at Smithsonian magazine and eco-tech guru par excellence, wrote this guest post on cool home energy saving gadgets for Father's Day or any day (NOTE: add shipping & handling to all quoted prices). Thanks, Bruce!

    Bogogeneral2t Bogo (Buy One Give One) Solar Flashlight This well-made orange (or pink) light throws a nice even beam over a wide area, so it's better than most flashlights as a reading or task light. And if you buy one for $25, the SunNight Solar company will donate the same flashlight to someone in need. You even get to choose from a long list of charitable organizations and countries. Notes the SunNight Solar Web site, "Two billion people living in the developing world rely on kerosene lanterns, candles and single-use battery flashlights for light at night. [These] options are expensive, dangerous and harmful to the environment.” The Bogo light helps solve the problem. A new improved solar flashlight called the Super Bogo is also available, for $30.

    Radio Freeplay Summit handcrank/solar-powered radio I listen to the radio a lot, sometimes all day. Listening through our stereo system uses about 60 watts an hour, quite a bit of power. This little radio has terrific FM reception and excellent sound quality. And you'll get excellent upper-body exercise crank-charging it, especially if you hold it above your head when you crank. It takes about 45 minutes to achieve a full charge. I crank my radio while on my exercise bike and even carry one along and crank it while walking; it boosts my pulse rate by 15 beats a minute, often just enough to get up into all-important aerobic levels.  This radio also has a solar panel on top so you can charge it in the kitchen window. Freeplay sells several radios; in my experience, the Summit offers the best reception and sound. $79.00, or $64.75 at Batteryjunction. By purchasing Freeplay products you’ll be supporting the Freeplay Foundation, which distributes radios and other hand crank devices to people in need in developing countries. Freeplay is also the company that developed the hand-crank power supply for the One Laptop Per Child program.

    Blender GSI Vortex hand-crank Blender Agent 007 would no doubt agree that a martini--or a magarita--made in an off-grid, hand-crank blender tastes a lot better than one made in an on-grid electric blender. And being out of breath from the cranking will heighten the booze buzz. The GSI Vortex Blender does the job, and again you'll benefit from good upper-body exercise turning the crank. It is noisy, though not much noisier than many electric blenders. You can buy the GSI Vortex for $79.95 at rei.com, or $59.95 plus at rvtoyoutlet.com.

    Fan Caframo 797 battery-powered Compact Desk Fan Ultra quiet, variable-speed, this fan runs on four D cell batteries. $28.50 at Wholesale Tool. I bought a half dozen of them for various places around the house; the nice breezes allow us to turn off the energy-hog AC when we don't really need it.

    Sundancesolar_2004_5562557_2  Rechargeable Battery Charger  The off-grid way to use these fans is with rechargeable batteries, charged in a solar charger. My favorite solar charger is the Universal Solar Battery Charger, which charges multiple cells at once; it is waterproof and has a convenient carrying handle. $24.95. Several models of D-cell solar chargers are available, some with light meters and charts telling how long it will take the batteries to charge. See the options at batteryspace.com or Google "solar battery chargers." For rechargable batteries, go to batteryjunction.com and buy Tenergy D-cell 10,000 mAh Ni-MH rechargables; the more you buy, the better the price.

    Watt_monitor Kill-A-Watt Power Use Monitor You’ve likely heard of vampire power loss, the electricity that appliances like TVs, computers, plug-in blenders and fans, and remote controlled stereo receivers waste, even when you’ve turned them “off” with the remote. This little device will tell you how much that vampire is costing you as well as the planet. In our case, two TVs and a stereo receiver were draining away a total of about 75 watts a day, every day. My wife and I staked that vampire dead by putting the TVs and receiver on power-strips which we can manually turn off without losing station presets.  Buy a Kill-A-Watt Monitor online for as little as $17.99.

    Crank_light_2  Freeplay SherpaXrayLED Clear Body hand-crank flashlight In one respect, this is the geek-giddiest green gadget of all. The transparent case lets you see the crank gears, wires and generator circuit board in action. It also emits a nice even light, so it's good for various tasks or reading. It features both a high beam and a power-saving beam that will shine for 20 hours when the flashlight is fully charged. That takes about 40 minutes of vigorous cranking—another good upper-body workout. Available from batteryjunction.com for $22.95. For a more powerful hand-crank flashlight, try the Freeplay Jonta, $42.95. For a cheaper option, consider the Garrity Power Lite 3 LED Crank Light (Titanium Silver/Black). You can buy one at many hardware stores or at Amazon for about $9, and it has a lifetime guarantee. That’s important because several of the solar and hand-crank flashlights and radios on the market are cheaply made and likely to fail or break. REI and L.L. Bean guarantee the reliability of the products they sell.

    Moon_spot_2Hollywood Moon Spot This is the niftiest little table spot lamp I’ve ever seen, and incredibly its LED bulb uses only 1.2 watts. That’s just another indication to me that LEDs, even more so than compact fluorescents, are the energy-saving lightbulbs of the future. Unfortunately, the Moon Spot costs $96. You can see it and other nice lights at coastportland.com.

    Pedal Powered Prime Mover Remember how nutty it seemed when you heard about the guy who powered his TV and cooked his pancakes by a generator hooked up to his exercise bike? Well, nutty it’s not, although a very little girl once asked me, "When you’re watching a Western and you pedal a little slower, do the horses also run slower?" A very interesting inventor in Los Gatos, California, David Butcher, sells plans for a do-it-yourself, power-generating exercise bike. $50. (NOTE: If you have trouble with this link, search "David Butcher" or "pedal powered" on the Internet.)

    Solar Powered Firefly Magic Firefly Lights These come on and go off slowly and really do look like fireflies. Seven electronic fireflies cost $67.95; get twelve for $87.95.

    Does it make a diff? Even if hundreds of millions of people use all these off-grid gadgets, the resulting reduction in greenhouse gasses will only be a fraction of what it needs to be. But using them has raised my awareness of more important things to do. For example, each night before I leave my office I go around for one minute and turn off photocopiers and lights in the reception area and the office kitchen. During the day, whenever I leave the men's room or the printer room I turn off the lights. I’ve also pointed out to the manager of the ten-story building where I work that hundreds of lights burn unnecessarily evenings and weekends.

    But more than that, I’m realizing that the most effective energy-saving gadget I have is my keyboard. I can use it to write to companies like Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) and L.L. Bean to let them know there’s going to be a huge market for exercise equipment that also generates power, or solar and wind-powered appliances. Most important, I can write to my U.S. Senator and Congressperson and ask them to enact legislation that will promote mega energy-saving technologies. That means more than solar and wind. Turning the wasted heat that comes out of industrial smokestacks in the U.S. into electricity could replace more than 400 greenhouse- gas-emitting coal power plants! Denmark already generates more than half its electricity by using this wasted heat. A big problem, however, is that complicated Federal laws stand in the way. For more information, see Recycled Energy Development.

    June 03, 2008

    Manufacturers Must Tell Consumers to Buy 20% Less; Sustainable Certification Key

    [PRESS RELEASE - 6/3/08] MONTEREY, CA -- Best-selling author and international environmental lifestyle expert Diane MacEachern today said that manufacturers that aspire to be green must start telling their customers to consume 20% less. MacEachern also said that companies must certify the entire environmental lifecycle of their products and services if they are to be trusted as sustainable businesses.

    Speaking to representatives of more than 500 national and international companies, MacEachern said it was critical that producers and retailers acknowledge the connection between consumption and such serious environmental problems as global climate change, air and water pollution, exposure to toxic chemicals and rainforest destruction.

    "Any company that wants to honestly wear a green mantle must tell shoppers to buy less first," noted MacEachern, publisher of www.biggreenpurse.com and author of Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World."

    MacEachern laid down her 20% less challenge during a plenary speech to the 2008 Sustainable Brands conference in Monterey, CA. The 20% less recommendation is the cornerstone of a five-step approach that also urges companies to submit their products and services to lifecycle analysis (like the SMaRT standard being spearheaded by the Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability) in order to reduce environmental impact from the beginning of the production process to the end.

    "Consumers need a way to distinguish a green brand from one that merely "greenwashes" in order to make a buck," MacEachern noted. "Companies that undergo lifecycle analysis by an independent party and ultimately get their products certified sustainable will not only become more environmentally responsible. They'll also enjoy substantial marketplace advantage, as certification will make it easier for consumers to choose them over their competitors."

    MacEachern said this will be especially true among women, who make 85% of all retail purchases and who are essentially the CEO's - the chief environmental officers - of their households and the CPO's - chief purchasing officers - of a growing number of companies. Though a recent survey indicated that at least 50% of consumers want more green choices, additional studies show that many shoppers question whether green purchasing will really help protect the planet, given eco-benefits that manufacturers claim but don't prove.

    MacEachern's Green Purse Platform includes:

    • 20% Less: Urge customers to consume 20% less
    • Lifecycle Analysis: Submit products and services to life cycle analysis to verify product eco claims
    • Walk the Walk: In addition to marketing green products to consumers, companies must reduce the size of their operational footprint in meaningful and measurable ways, such as using wind power, eliminating use of dangerous chemicals, and maximizing use of recycled materials
    • Tell It Like It Is: Companies need to be more honest with consumers about the environmental benefits their products offer. Companies will never be perfect, and they mislead consumers when they imply that they are.
    • 2% for the Future: MacEachern proposes setting up a transition fund capitalized by contributions of 2% of a company's profits. The fund will provide much needed capital to businesses that are eager to transition to more sustainable products and services but receive no government support to do so. For example, MacEachern noted that the recent farm bill includes no money to help pesticide-dependent farmers transition to organic agriculture. An independent fund could help underwrite such activity.

    MacEachern says that consumers love the idea of a 20% less campaign. "It reminds women of the movie, "Miracle on 34th Street," she says.

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