Categories
Life

Let’s Talk About Green-Streaming

I came across the term “green-streaming” while I was looking into the connection between Burt’s Bees and Clorox. It refers to the goal of making “green” mainstream. 

I’ll use Burt’s Bees and Clorox as an example of how this can be done well. Clorox bought Burt’s Bees in 2007, right around the time they launched their Greenworks line, as a part of their effort to become a more environmentally friendly company. They run Burt’s Bees as a separate entity keep it true to its original ethics – environmentally friendly, community friendly, cruelty-free etc. At the same time, Clorox itself was bringing their business practices up to similar standards. They do still test on animals, but they only do it when required by the FDA. Greenworks has become a strong mass-market green option, and their products are safe and biodegradable. I can even remember when they tried selling their cleaners as an empty spray bottle with a packet of concentrate, with more concentrate available separately, to encourage people to stop buying a new spray bottle every time and lessen their plastic waste. Apparently people weren’t ready for that, since I haven’t seen them in a while, but it is encouraging to see large companies trying to change the market for the better.

When people called Burt’s Bees a sellout and complained about their beloved small company being bought by Big Business, others pointed out the advantages of the situation. With the larger parent company, Burt’s could have more products in more stores. With more exposure, more people would switch to earth-friendly products and other companies would see that this is what people really want. In theory, we are at the beginning of a great consumer domino chain that will end with the planet being a better place. In the meantime, though, if you buy Burt’s Bees a small portion of your money is still going to a company that uses practices you may not approve of.

On the one hand, I believe this is true. The average consumer is fairly middle-of-the-road when it comes to going green. They think it’s a good idea, but they do not have the time, money or energy to go out of their way to do so. These are the people I’m trying to reach with Consumer Goes Green. It’s my way of saying, “Look! This stuff is in your grocery store. You can go green(er) without going out of your way!” The only reason I can say this is because green has become more mainstream.

On the other hand, the argument kind of sounds like a great big justification to keep buying something you like, now that it is owned by someone else.

I want to know what you think about all this. Do you think that buying from a green subsidiary like Burt’s Bees or Tom’s of Maine (owned by Colgate) gives you a more direct line of communication with the big bosses about what we want, or are you in favor of a complete boycott to show them that we would rather go small and 100% green until Big Business stops harmful practices altogether?

By [E]SaraB

Glass artisan by day, blogger by night (and sometimes vice versa). SaraB has three kids, three pets, one husband and a bizarre sense of humor. Her glass pendants can be found at www.etsy.com/shop/AngryOwlStudio if you're interested in checking it out.

9 replies on “Let’s Talk About Green-Streaming”

I think it’s good when smaller companies are taken on by larger companies and their products are more widely accessible in stores.  It not only introduces the product to new consumers, but it also provides some pressure for competitors to go green.  Companies, in the end, do need to listen to consumers.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I worked for a “green” company that had just been acquired by Giant Corporation, Inc. Part of the buyout agreement was that all policies for Green Company would be allowed to continue (no animal testing, ethical sourcing, etc.), that Giant Corporation money would be allocated to help Green Company further their environmental activism, and that Giant Corporation itself would have a phaseout over [x] number of years for practices that were in opposition of Green Company’s mission (animal testing, manufacturing processes, ethical R&D and sourcing, etc.). Small companies do wield some power when they’re bought out.

I also think a lot of people don’t realize that just because Company X is owned by Corporation Y, it doesn’t mean that the two necessarily share anything but money. 99% of the time, the companies retain separate corporate structures, R&D, manufacturing, advertising, retail, headquarters, executive staff, etc. They don’t merge into one big indistinguishable blob of a mega-corporation.

Mr. B had a similar story when I asked him his opinion. It has nothing to do with environmental practices, but he used to do some work for Delta airlines when they still had Song as a subsidiary. Song got such good customer satisfaction scores that they rewrote all their Delta in-flight training manuals to reflect the Song model. Sometimes supporting a subsidiary is a more direct line of communication to the execs at the parent company.

Mr Mina is wired and doesn’t trust ‘natural’ things or off label things (trying explaining to him that generic wal-a-fed is the same ad sudafed). But he’ll use Greenworks when I buy it because of the Clorox label. He also loves Burt’s Bees Chapstick, because its mainstream. So basically,it’s helped him to be greener!

(ETA I need to stop commenting from my phone. I’ll leave the typos as a lesson to everyone of the evils of the iphone.)

oh how funny- good for Greenworks then!! I will say that I’ve won Mr. Sally J over to storebrands- not an earth-issue, but when we were first married, I put generic cereal in a namebrand box for a few months. After awhile, I broke the news to him. It was kind of funny.

I like the Burt’s Bees is MUCH easier to find these days.

Leave a Reply