Will You Pay to be Green?

Everyone is hopping on the ‘Green’ train. Business, Schools, People, all want to be ‘Green’. Well, actually that’s wrong. They want to Say they are Green, but do they have the will and desire to actually pay for it? I think not….

What will people actually spend to be Green? How much more will they pay, especially in this time of tight spending? Let’s talk about veggies first.

Organic vegetables have been around for a long time but until recently at a very high price premium. Even though studies showed they were healthier and better tasting, people would not pay double for that assurance. But once the prices approached ‘A little bit more….’ than regular vegetables, the sales soared. So that showed people would pay more for healthy, but not a lot more.

So let’s take a consumer item, like a dvd player. Do you buy a $50 dvd player, cheaply made in China, that will die in one year? Or do you buy a $500 dvd player that will last longer? You could say that the $50 dvd player is good enough and that when it breaks you’ll just buy another one. Simple math; ten $50 dvd players will last longer than one $500 player. But that ignores the actual costs of the cheap player. You will need to dispose of nine dvd players. What is the environmental cost of that? Was that even a consideration?

For most Americans, the disposal costs, both monetary and environmental, are never even thought about. So the actual costs to the customer, is in his or her eyes, just the immediate outlay of cash. Long term effects are nothing to the consumer.

But if we want to be Green, then the long term costs MUST be considered on everything we buy and eventually throw away. Once you factor in all the ‘Green’ costs for consumer goods, the prices start to dramatically increase.

The age of cheap consumer goods is coming to a end. Prices will start a steady climb upwards once total costs are factored into the actual selling price. We knew this was never going to last. It was a fun run, but when China and other exporters start charging ‘Real’ costs, the world will see the true price of goods.

How long could the world have survived with prices for goods so unevenly set? How long could we have ignored the total costs of goods, both monetary and environmental? The answer is ‘Not that long’.

-Mark

mark (at) wiredinc (dot) com

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