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CLMN | In the name of real sustainability

18/09/2012

Sustainable. Green. Environmentally-friendly. Words that used to signify progress, forethought and responsibility. Words that, today, years after their first introduction, have become little more than labels used to make products attractive to the market, dodge the inquisitive public eye, or used haphazardly to pass laws and gain supporters.

They are becoming this generation’s superlatives and neon colors. It is said that if a word is repeated over and over it ends up losing its meaning, which in this case is very true indeed. It may come across as a rather bleak look into the future of “going green”, but it’s nothing but a minor speed bump.

After all, we can take back those words. Their meaning can be restored, amplified even. If companies can’t simply slap an ISO label on their products or services, why shouldn’t these words that convey such a strong message of self-conscience and respect be regulated as well? Granted, there is an ISO standard for sustainable practices, but since it is neither strongly encouraged nor enforced worldwide, it falls on deaf ears at worst and strikes a chord with the progressive at best.

If, say, governments and NGOs were to go after said labels with the ferocity with which Apple goes after every company whose products feature rounded corners, for example, perhaps the market would treat these words with the care they not only deserve, but require. After all, didn’t prefixing an ‘i’ to all Apple’s gadgets work wonders, too?

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