Green movement followers are just anti-SUV, organic-buying, hemp-wearing bleeding heart liberals that rarely shower and shun non-vegetarian diets. That was once the stereotype of those individuals that began their eco-friendly lifestyles by using only dishtowels and cloth napkins at home and bringing cloth bags to grocery stores. Now, the green movement has everyone from politicians to vegans pushing corporate America and its consumers to do their part to conserve energy, live healthier lives and spread a bit of the wealth outside the developed nations.
Enter LOHAS or Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability. By no means was LOHAS the first to spotlight emerging and growing green trends for businesses, but it secured its place in the marketplace by becoming the middleman or mediator of sorts, between the many earth-friendly companies. The idea behind LOHAS is that those aiming to create sustainable products should work together and become partners, rather than viewing other companies as competition.
Today living a green life should not be a fad but a new way of life, with every individual thinking of how he or she can contribute to preserving the environment. That can be anything, big or small, including using energy-efficient bulbs, bringing reusable bags to grocery stores and pharmacies, installing timers on light switches and thermostats, starting a compost pile or even starting a company whose products eliminate the need for exterior packaging, such as boxes for skincare items.
In the beauty world, creating sustainable products can mean going beyond the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations to detail what percentage of ingredients come from organic soil. Take the latest addition to the Barney’s beauty counter, Amala, as an example. The company’s packaging includes cork and recycled paper and details what percentage of the ingredients has “natural origin” and what percentage of ingredients are produced by organic farming. They also meet the high European organic standards set by ECO CERT. The care it takes to determine such elements shows that Amala recognizes and wants its consumers to understand that a product must come from ingredients grown in clean soil to truly be organic, as it takes years to rid soil of pesticides used in years past.
On a mass scale, earth-friendly may mean Sun Chips’ plan to introduce compostable bags by Earth Day 2010 or Ingeo’s technology that enables the production of plastic without petroleum. Ingeo, a division of Nature Works, uses sugar from plant starches, such as corn, to create biopolymers that replace the use of petroleum when making plastic. This can be applied to products including food containers and gift cards.
But, let’s not forget our new favorite tee. Germany’s Hessnatur has been using organic cotton for years since founder Heinz Hess discovered the amount of pesticides and fertilizer required to make a regular cotton tee. HessNatur is hosting a contest with Planet Green to give Americans a chance to create a t-shirt with an environmental statement. The winning design will made in Bangladesh thanks to a partnership with Grameen Knitwear, a subsidiary of the Grameen Foundation started by Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Muhammad Yunus. Like all its textile partners, those workers making the tees are paid above Fair Trade prices, and 50% of the sale of each tee will go to the Grameen Foundation. Be sure to check out Hessnatur’s line by designer by Migeul Adrover (pictured above), for great work-friendly summer clothing made from sustainable materials and produced in healthy working environments. We tried his signature “the world in your hand” tee and found the material soft and the shape a perfect fit, thanks to a scoop neck and cap sleeves.
While we are all struggling to survive amid a recession, we must ask ourselves, how can I live differently, within my means, but help save energy, paper or lives, by buying Fair Trade products, supporting local farmers, helping parent the community’s children, and supporting foundations in need.
Where: For more information on LOHAS, visit the LOHAS website. For more information on Amala products, visit the Amala website. To view a video on the degradable Sun Chip bag set for 2010 release, click here to watch. For more information on Ingeo’s eco-plastic formula, visit the Ingeo website.To shop for Hessnatur clothing, visit the Hessnatur website. To learn more about the Grameen Foundation, visit the Grameen Foundation website. We also recommend the Oregon-based nonprofit magazine, World Pulse. Check out the social networking microfinance site, Kiva.