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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.
  • March 09, 2008

    Big Green Purse Partners with The Daily Green

    Tdg1com_logo_3 Big Green Purse and The Daily Green are partnering up to give consumers even more of what they've come to expect from both sites: timely, useful, easy-to-follow advice for green living and shopping. Deborah_barrow2_2 Meet Deborah Barrow, the visionary behind The Daily Green and a long-time advocate for a cleaner, greener environment.

    * What inspired you to launch The Daily Green?

    My garden.  Living in the magical Hudson River Valley, which has inspired environmentalists since the days of the Hudson River School painters.  Working as a volunteer at a small historic landscape preservation organization and seeing close-up what suburban sprawl was doing to our communities and our eco-systems.

    *  What distinguishes The Daily Green from the hundreds of other green websites available to the public? 

    Well for one thing, TDG is updated daily with news stories on all the enviro news and weather from around the globe.  Secondly, our feature and service content covers the whole realm of what it means to “go green”  from home to food to lifestyle to politics, from cars to fashion; anything you need to know to go green, we've got it for you.  And thirdly, The Daily Green is geared to the new green consumer as well as the deep green activist whom most green websites tend to service.  These newly green people are starting at step one; they need a lot of help!

    *  Some green websites promote e-commerce. Others are very politically oriented. What do you hope to accomplish with The Daily Green? 

    We hope to make it easy for anyone to learn new ways every day to go green.  We also hope to bring to the greatest number of people possible the single most important element in going green:  being aware of the climate and health issues in the news and voting and working for candidates who have the best  plans to address them. Our Green Your Vote 08 coverage is created to do just that.

    *  The Daily Green is backed by the Hearst corporation, which also publishes magazines like Country Living and O, Oprah's magazine. How does your affiliation with Hearst help (or hurt) your mission?

    Having the backing of a major media company like Hearst Magazine has been instrumental in TheDailyGreen’s rapid growth in traffic, plus its cred and acceptance in the media.  We call it a mash-up between mainstream media and a grass-roots, blog based green site invented on a kitchen table.  It’s magic.

    *  What's the most popular feature on The Daily Green?

    Our daily news channel gets the most traffic, with the New Green Cuisine food channel close behind.  Home and Weird Weather are tied for third.  The 25 bloggers blogging on everything from raising organic children to global warming gardening to toxin-free cleaning all do very well, too.

    *  Are your visitors mostly women, men, or a combination?

    It’s a true combination.  Not easy to achieve, but here we are.

    * You seem to have done a particularly good job building relationships with eco-bloggers and news sources that can enrich your site. How do you create such a diverse network, yet still ensure that The Daily Green maintains its brand identity? 

    Thank you, Diane, for noticing! Well, we carefully vet bloggers and other sources for voice.  We are puckish not preachy in our approach, and we think that’s been key to our success.  We also take a slightly fun-loving and humorous approach whenever appropriate.  So it’s through that lens that we look at potential bloggers, and somehow, we’ve found some wonderful ones with new ones on the way. 

    * Given how much time you must spend managing the site, do you have any time to write for yourself? 

    No.  Ha ha.  But really, here’s the thing.  This isn’t a job: it’s a Second Act avocation for me. I’ve had my big-time media career with the secretaries and the offices and the Lear Jet travel.  I went from being a secretary to being a Group President at a major magazine company (with many stops along the way), okay, so that particular neurosis is checked off the list.  This time, I’m doing this for me.  And to give back a little.  Also, passing the Big Five-O somehow has unleashed a creative wellspring that I can’t quite believe or understand, but I’m truly enjoying it from the inside out.  So time for myself?  This year’s resolution is to get in shape eating the New Green Cuisine from the site, get a weekly massage, and then, jumping right back to morphing TheDailyGreen into a Big, Big Deal.

    • What exciting plans do you have for The Daily Green in 2008?

    More how-to for people battling new economic pressures, new climate challenges:  Water tips for drought ridden home owners.  How to green your house to sell it in a bad real estate market.  The global warming guide to reading your house insurance policy.  Really pushing out our food and recipes to new levels.  And keeping the site new and fresh every single day.  The goal is:  every time you come to TDG, even if you come 2-3X a day, there’s something new and wonderful there for you, no matter where you are on our How Green Do You Want to Be “green-o-meter”!

    June 01, 2007

    The Friday Interview: Mary Hunt on Keeping Green Goods Honest

    Hunt_t230 Mary Hunt is an advocate for environmental sustainability standards and the unique voice behind the "In Women We Trust" blog. She’s just become the Communications Director for Channel Logic, a newly formed rep firm and resource for sustainable furniture. Here's why she thinks environmental standards are so important. In Part 2 of her interview, we'll hear her predictions for how fast the industry can become sustainable.

    1. Everyone seems so focused on simply buying the next green product. You seem to have homed in on making sure those products meet standards that keep them "honest" from a green point of view. Why are standards so important?

    It’s all about honesty and trust.

    Consumers aren't stupid, especially women consumers who have been comparison shopping their whole lives. Frankly, they can see the green smoke and aren't "buying" the message that companies are selling. Part of that comes from living through the last 40 years of environmental activism. They've seen laws ignored over and over. The other part comes from the majority of the population having high speed Internet access. In seconds they can tap thousands of product review sites and millions of bloggers voicing their opinion. That puts consumers in control and companies in the position of having to prove themselves way beyond where they ever had to before.

    Channel_logic_5 Credible standards give companies the guidelines and rules that everyone can literally live with as we struggle to dial back global warming. The best standards conduct a Life Cycle Assessment on products. That means that they measure the environmental impact of the entire product life from raw materials to production to reuse. To keep LCA's honest and believable, they need a third party to audit them.

    As they say, you can't manage what you don't measure. If companies don't measure the CO2 coming from the entire life cycle of a product, whether it's made at one location or 10, how will they know if they are being green or brown?

    2. How did you get so excited about standards in the first place? Where did you see the possibility, the potential impact for standards to make a real difference?

    I worked as a media sales rep for Thomas Register of American Manufacturers during the late 80s and early 90s. My job was to help manufacturers with their print ads, catalogs, and websites. TR was industrial yellow pages, which means everything starts with a key word search.

    The process the industrial buyer went through then is exactly the same process the online consumer is going through now. First a buyer used a key word or phrase to "search" for the product or service. Then they would select 3-4 ads to evaluate. Those 3-4 usually came from being biggest on the page, or the top of the list in the case of the online version.  It was pretty much a gut reaction pattern that we saw repeatedly. Bigger ads or top of the list received the most attention. Once the buyer located choices, then they refined the search by the competency factor: Which product/service could back their trustworthy first impression? Who would they call first?

    This is where it got interesting from a social experiment point of view.

    The biggest company didn't always win. When it came to job shops, the “standards” drove the quality cut. The first standard or qualifier was SPC, Statistical Process Control. Did the company use the process to ensure a higher percentage of quality parts? It was interesting to watch the peer pressure happen. As soon as one company claimed SPC on their ad, the next year almost everyone had it.
    That was followed by TQM, Total Quality Management. Not only did the part have to be in spec, but the entire management of that product line had to be done a certain way. The same thing happened. One company would take the leadership role and soon they rest followed.

    Then the global market opened up with ISO, the International Standards Organization. If a company was certified to ISO 9000 standards, it met the demands of a global market. ISO became the top benchmark, but it was tough to get. The certification process was long and expensive. Some companies couldn't play at that level and they lost market share because of it. Yet, sure enough, one by one the serious players got certified.

    ISO has since branched out to include other environmental certifications. That’s the ISO 14000 series. Like the other ISO standards, it's anchored in processes. It doesn't measure issues that affect irreversible and dangerous climate change, however.

    The point is, every time the bar was raised via a stamp or a standard, market peer pressure brought the other companies in line.

    3. In the end, can we really put any hope in "standards," per se? If they require government action to be implemented, won't we be waiting forever? After all, look how long it took for the organic standards to be passed. 20 years? 30 years?

    That's the beauty of this, we don't have to wait decades for the government to implement standards. The government didn't mandate that manufacturers become SPC, TQM or ISO certified, the market drove that. In the same way, the sustainable standards like FSC, SMART, LEED and many more all are being driven by consumer demand and peer pressure among market leaders.

    The EPA set marketing guidelines in the 90’s. Those don’t measure CO2. They just try to help companies know when they are crossing the line and creating “greenwash.” Most people know “Energy Star” as a label they can trust. Energy Star covers only energy expended in your home, however, not the energy expended to make the appliance.  It was created before we knew what caused global warming.
    USDA Organic is taking off as a standard because thanks to sites like yours, women are learning that organic clothes and foods are not only good for the body, but also low on CO2 production as well.

    As long as consumers demand and buy the current labels, companies will follow the money and use standards to become more competitive. We don’t need all consumers to do this. As little as 1% can set off a tipping point of action.

    April 18, 2007

    Teresa Heinz Kerry Supports Marketplace Change

    Teresa Teresa Heinz Kerry, chair of the Heinz Family Philanthropies, is poised to kick off the annual Women's Health & Environment Conference in Pittsburgh, PA April 20. I caught up with her on her blogtour to ask her opinion on the way women can use their big green purse to protect the planet.

    DM: How important is the marketplace as a venue for environmental change?

    Teresa: The market can change the status quo overnight, and it can either help or hurt the environment.

    For example, when CEOs decide to change their purchasing or investing practices to be more environmentally friendly, it can have an immediate impact on both the environment and how other businesses respond. And, when a CEO is prepared to encourage their workforce to think creatively, to accept a challenge to find ways to cut costs and do it in an environmentally sustainable way, it can result in a win-win outcome.

    Kerrybook In the book John and I just finished, This Moment on Earth, we share the story of Alice Waters, who founded the restaurant Chez Panisse. As Susannah Abbey reports,

    "To supply the restaurant, Waters bought only food grown in accordance with the principles of sustainable agriculture. Since it opened in 1971, the fixed-price menus offered nightly at Chez Panisse have consisted only of fresh ingredients, harvested in season, and purchased from local farmers.

    "By pursuing one goal, Waters has accomplished another: she has successfully established relationships with local farmers and become an integral part of the agricultural community (she serves on the board of one of the farmers' markets). In this way she has demonstrated how a restaurant can thrive while contributing to the general welfare of a community."

    Teresa continued: The markeplace can also be very important for driving change. Purchasing locally grown and organic products drives demand for those products, allowing the producers to thrive and expand, and encourages more producers to enter the market, thus making healthier products available to more consumers.  For the environment, that means lower transportation costs (less pollutants) in the air, and for the consumer it means fresher food.

    DM: What steps can women take in the marketplace to protect themselves from the most serious environmental threats that impact their health?

    Teresa: Understand what you are purchasing by becoming an informed consumer. Check specific websites that can be helpful, such as the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the Environmental Working Group regarding their work on the body burden, and the Nature Conservancy for their Zero Emissions program.

    Next, combine your purchasing power with that of other women and men. In other words, if we are going to successfully bring more environmental, organic and other products into the marketplace, it will take the financial clout of millions of Americans purchasing together. Remember, numbers times dollars equals green power.

    DM: What role can students play?

    Teresa: Take a look at a book that Alice Tepper Marlin produced called Students Shopping for a Better World.

    It's a do-it-yourself guide on how to exercise your power as a consumer to protect the environment, promote equal opportunities for women and minorities in the business world, prevent cruelty to animals and reward corporations that act responsibly.

    I happened to grow up in  real jungle. With the information provided in this book, you will be able to clear a path through the jungle we call the consumer marketplace.  Our goal is to get companies to march to the same tune as their customers and understand the reasons we have for buying their products. Such consumer power will force responsible social and environmental behavior through economics - for a future we can all afford.

    DM: Women seem to be the victim of many ingredients in cosmetics that have the potential to harm our health, from nanoingredients to parabens to phthalates. What advice do you have for women who want to use cosmetics but still protect their health?

    Teresa:  We all need to know what we are using and whether it is safe. Check with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics as well as Environmental Working Group. And, as you are doing that, ask your member of Congress why there is no federal agency responsible for monitoring the ingredients in cosmetics, personal care and household products! Then ask them what they are going to do to help!!

    DM:  Any final thoughts?

    Teresa: As John Heinz said, standing on the steps of the Capitol on Earth Day 1990, "Remember that green is magic...and the color of your money is green.  Use your green magic as if the fate of our planet depends on the decisions you make every day.  It does."

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