Posted by: suemckee | January 12, 2011

Businesses: How to Dupe Your Eco-Consumer

1.       Source your ingredients from low-wage developing countries and then assemble or produce your products domestically, and claim Made in Canada on your label. Legislation has only just changed and there’s lots of confusion so you’ll be able to get away with it.  FACT: Until July 1, 2010 (with a grace period until Jan 1, 2011) labeling guidelines allowed labels to say Made in Canada if at least 51% of the components were sourced from Canada.

2.       List the food miles on your ‘locally-produced’ food products, however source the food from highly mechanized agricultural operations that have a large carbon footprint but a very low (for the time being) cost.  FACT:  In America, up to 12% of our total fossil fuel use is linked to the food system and more than 35% of our total greenhouse gas emissions are linked to our food system.  And yet, on average 85% of the carbon footprint of our food comes from production, and about 15% from transport.  So “food miles” does not tell the whole story.  Ode Mag article here.

3.       Launch a domestic store chain and stock it with cheap, imported goods.  Consumers tend to support domestically-owned retailers as they believe the profits are staying within the country, eg. Tim Horton’s Canadian Tire, Loblaws Companies, and Giant Tiger.  Who knows if this is true.

4.       Build a new brand with a local marketing proposition or, reposition an existing brand as local, in order to capitalize on the ‘buy local’ trend.  Locavores will love it!  PS. It’s called local-washing. Follow Starbuck’s example if you need help on how to do this.

5.       Spin everyday business practices to present your business as having green practices, eg. cite your cost reductions as resource conservation and put lovely nature imagery on your packaging regardless of whether your products are safe for the environment.  This way you can join the thousands of other businesses successfully green-washing their products.


  1. “unethical, low-wage countries like China”

    I think you are on thin ground with this statement. China does have problems to be sure, who wouldnt with more than 1 billion people to look after, but they have already surpassed the GDP of the USA and they wont be a low wage economy for very much longer. If you go to Beijing or Shanghai for instance you will see a city that makes western cities look pretty obsolite, and a professional person will do better in Beijing than in most western cities.

    Watch out because we are going to be the low wage countries soon.



  2. Thanks Roger. Point well taken. In trying to write this sarcastic business advice, I also made the ethical faux pas of generalizing in an unfair way. We will all be low wage countries in the not too distant future.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: