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Better for the environment- hummer or prius?

October 31, 2007

Nathan Shedroff is a graduate of the Presidio School of Management’s Sustainable MBA

He presented recently at the  International Council of Societies
of Industrial Design conference where he highlighted the problem with design and designers. His presentation highlights the massively complex challenge involved in creating products that are better for the planet, because the definition and proof of what constitutes “better” is hard to come by and hard work to generate. He does however suggest some solutions that designers should be taking and suggests that consumers may soon have the tools to understand if one product is truly “better” for the environment than another.

He uses the example of the Prius and the Hummer to illustrate his point.
Which is Better for the Environment-the Hummer or the Prius?

The consumer is clearly looking for a simple solution and explanation to define what is better. They have no concept or understanding of “cradle to cradle” thinking and don’t have the time to work it out for themselves. This makes it easy for brands to “sell” only part of the story and to convince the consumer that they’re a better alternative.

Nathan suggests new ratings systems and evaluation tools might change this and make it tougher for brands to make claims they can’t prove. However, these systems are currently in their infancy.

His complete presentation can be found here

Posted by Ed Cotton

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