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    Does “Green” Sell?

    By Claus Schafhalter | November 19, 2010

    Activist organization Greenpeace publishes periodically a “Guide to greener electronics”. The guide attempts to rank top electronics manufacturers according to their “policies on toxic chemicals, recycling, and climate change”. I have written about this ranking earlier, it showed Nokia as the greenest company and Nintendo on the bottom of the list.

    In October 2010 Greenpeace released their updated ranking, here are some excerpts for some companies including their “green score” (10 is best, 0 is worst).

    1. Nokia   (Score: 7.5)
    2. Sony-Ericsson (6.9)
    3. Philips (5.5)
    4. Hewlett Packard (5.5)
    5. Samsung (5.3)

    16. Toshiba (4.3)
    17. Microsoft (1.9)
    18.Nintendo (1.8)

    Looking at this list unscientifically I cannot see an obvious connection between sales success of a company and “greenness”. The top contenders do well in the markets, but the low ranked companies seem to do very well too. Microsoft is certainly making lots of money, Nintendo is my son’s favorite. So, is it fair to say that being green is an insignificant factor for overall sales success?

    I think so. Availability of a favorite game or ability to play games with friends is important to many kids, sustainability is not. Does this change with the age of the consumer? Apparently not, features and coolness (think Apple’s product line) seem to be more important than qualities like energy efficiency or sustainable  practices  in production.

    There might be exceptions to this observation. Some products sell because they are deemed to be green (think about a Prius Hybrid for a moment). Still, consumers might choose these products more to make a statement than for its green features.

    But I do have one hope: What if there is a company that delivers cool and feature rich products made in a very green way? Will this combo sell?

    Claus Schafhalter, Sunogos

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