Favorite Green Brands Like Apple Not So Green

Last Updated Aug 1, 2008 6:43 PM EDT

rotten-apple.jpgOutlaw Consulting, a coolhunting shop here in San Francisco, put out a report on the favorite environmentally-friendly brands of 100 "trendsetters" aged 21 to 29 in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of the top brands are admired more for sleek design than for Al Gore-approved green practices. While some of the list deserve the mention, such as Toyota's drive to bring hybrid cars to market, others, like Apple, are hardly helping out the planet.
This isn't the part of the blog where I get outraged about this type of thing, though. Indeed, Apple is to be commended for its savvy marketing and design that give it the gilt of Gaia without expending the vast resources it really takes to make a company green. Other companies should take note. From the Outlaw report:
We're not saying you can be environmentally irresponsible as long as your packaging and advertising features minimal design, but aesthetics are important, and can be an important first step in reaching a consumer who is shopping for green. "Minimalist packaging without too many colors = green, in my head. If it doesn't look like a comic strip or like an 80's ad, which most products do, then it's well on its way to looking like a green product."
That said, I'm very much skeptical of the power of greening a brand to truly drive sales numbers. While eco-boosters may point to the success of companies like Whole Foods or Toyota as signs that people are using their wallets to save the icecaps, I think consumers will continue to be motivated by what they've always been motivated by: price and percieved value. People shop at Whole Foods because they feel organic food is a healthier alternative. People buy hybrids because they feel that gas is getting expensive and want to buy less of it. People buy Apple products because it denotes a certain social status and the design is aesthtically pleasing -- being green has nothing to do with it.