Earthsense LLC, a Syracuse market research company, recently announced a new monthly survey of consumer attitudes about green products and companies called the Green Confidence Index, The index, which will also track consumers’ purchasing decisions, will provide subscribers with strategic marketing information on who buys Green and why, and how a company can position itself and its products to appeal to its customers, using Green to increase its competitiveness and the bottom line.
As a consumer, how can you determine whether you are being Green, or “Greenwashed”? Another company, Eco-Rate, helps consumers choose products and technologies that are Green, based on a rating system that measures efficiency, environmental impact, human health and financial feasibility. This Seattle startup researches thousands of products, and provides comparative rankings on a free online buying guide. The rankings take into account: efficiency of water and energy use; toxicity; lifecycle cost; and location of manufacture. The website also helps architects and builders choose eco-friendly products and processes, and can be used by companies and government agencies interested in greener purchasing policies.
Balancing the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and neighborhoods with those of cars, trucks and thru-traffic is a big part of sustainability. St. Louis is experiencing good results with its ‘Great Streets’ Initiative. Its goal is to trigger economic and social benefits by centering communities around lively, attractive thoroughfares that serve all modes of transportation.
To begin, citizens and local leaders were asked to look beyond the curb when considering their transportation systems, and to think about how better street design can create better connections, sustainable economic activity and an appealing sense of place. The South Grand Street pilot project, which includes eliminating a traffic lane, curb ‘bulb-outs’ to improve pedestrian crossing, and increased lighting and landscaping, has been a total success, with public feedback ten to one in favor. The road better serves the neighborhood and businesses, while still getting cars through safely.
Complete Streets can improve safety, encourage walking and biking, and create stronger communities and more viable neighborhoods and business districts. Local transportation and street design policies that facilitate walking, biking and transit for short trips can substantially reduce the carbon emissions that negatively affect health and that contribute to global warming.