Ask yourself the question: where do YOU go if you want to purchase environmentally sound products?
There can be no doubt left in any ones mind that today’s world is at an inflexion point with regards to the use of its natural resources. Since humanity has entered the industrial age in the 1800’s, it has started to use energy sources like coal, petroleum and gas. Before, when wood and other energy sources were used, the mere fact that they could be replenished naturally resulted in a sustainable cycle. Coal, petroleum and gas, however, cannot be replenished fast or easily. Oil reserves are estimated to be depleted between 2050 and 2075, while coal will last until 2100 – 2125 (different estimates depending on the source). There is a general consensus among scientists that the rise of global temperature will be anywhere between 2 – 6° C this century, resulting in a rise of the sea level of 1 to 7 meters. Predictions indicate that al of this will result in draught, famine, flooding and wars, specifically in the southern hemisphere. With the growth of mankind, we have come to realize, in the beginning of this century more than ever before, that our way of life should change drastically if humanity wants to uphold its way of life and its progress.
Pioneers and alternative organizations have been stating this for many years and have started Fair Trade and Green Trade a long time ago. Today, Green Trade and Fair Trade are on the verge of becoming mainstream, being accepted by a fast growing community of consumers with a conscience. In 2008, a year that is known as the year of the financial crisis, Fair Trade volume alone grew an impressive 22% year over year.
When we look at the customer, sometimes referred to somewhat condescendingly as Joe Sixpack, there is not much that he can do but save energy and buy products that are ecologically sound. In the case of electronics and PC peripherals, the availability of ecologically sound products is fairly limited today. Not only do we see a limited choice of Green materials compared to the abundance of plastics, but there are limited engineering solutions for post usage recycling. Additionally, there is a substantial impact of todays manufacturing, transport and packaging on the environment. Lastly, outsourcing of manufacturing to developing countries is usually cost motivated, and does not necessarily have the development of the southern hemisphere as a driver.