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Thinking Green
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MAYBE WE'RE STILL DEVELOPING does a terrific job of covering the greening of mainstream business. As part of their annual State of Green Business coverage, they published an article by Joel Makower on marketing to the American consumer. Makower says it is a challenging situation for three reasons. One is that premium pricing is a "non-starter" for most shoppers in this economy. Second, there is still widespread confusion over environmental terms which tamps down purchasing. His third (and most intriguing) reason is that people must be shown a personal benefit as well as a planetary one in order to make green purchasing decisions, i.e., "products that aren't just greener but better... whether they're cheaper to buy or own, have enhanced features or higher performance, are more convenient, less wasteful, healthier for their families, or simply cool." Makower observes that, in regard to point three, we are more like a developing country than a developed one. He quotes Tim Kenyon of the respected GfK Roper "Green Gauge" consumer surveys who makes a similar point about American consumer behavior: "In a developing economy, there's much more of a personal self-interest involved in making green purchasing choices, and less emphasis on the greater good."

— Gordon Kaye


eu The European Union's new green logo will have to be shown on all pre-packaged organic products produced in Europe starting in July. "I'm delighted that we now have a fresh EU organic food logo," said EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel, as she announced the selection of the green leaf design incorporating the 12 stars of the EU flag. The winning logo emerged from a pan-European contest open to art and design students. Almost 3,500 logo designs were submitted and evaluated by an international jury. The Euro-leaf designed by Dusan Milenkovic, a student from Germany, was the overwhelming favorite. The EU's organic farming regulation will be amended in the coming weeks to introduce the new logo into law. Other private, regional or national logos will be allowed to appear alongside the EU label.


The Biggest Loser
kraft A few years ago, Kraft Foods decided to lose some weight — 150 million pounds from its packaging supply chain to be exact. It has reached that goal two years early. Says Jean Spence, Executive Vice President, Research, Development & Quality: "We've invented a tool to help us design more efficiently. And we're finding smarter source materials, reducing our footprint and thinking differently about packaging end of life. We're sharing ideas, challenging and motivating one another, so this is truly a collaborative team effort." Among the examples: development of a Packaging Eco-Calculator for creating efficient and optimized packaging; redesign of Oscar Mayer Deli Creations packaging with 30 percent less paperboard; and a move of Maxwell House and other coffee brands from steel cans to composite paperboard or refill bags.

Natural Step
Arcadia, the largest publisher of local history books in the U.S. has become the first major book publisher to use 100 percent FSC certified paper across its entire line. This will include 700 new releases in 2010. Richard Joseph, ceo, says this is a natural step for the company. "Consistent with our commitment to help communities preserve history through local and regional history books, we have extended our efforts to improve the impact we have on our environment," Joseph says.

Be True To Your School
school A youth mentoring initiative by Design Ignites Change asks high school students — in collaboration with professional or college design mentors — to reimagine their school as a more sustainable institution. Its called "For School: by Design." Valerie Casey of Designers Accord, a partner in the initiative, explains: "Our goal is to make sustainability relevant and integrated in the lives of our mentors and students. We will do this by using our schools as a canvas, and design thinking as our toolset. We will push beyond the customary notions of green design and eco-friendliness, to the more meaningful aspects of cultural, social and economic sustainability." Professional design organizations, design studios and college programs in the areas of Graphics, Interactive, Industrial and Architectural Design are considered likely source of mentors.

Lead Clients
SPARK and the AIGA/NY are coming together to host a green event for graphic design on April 6. As the current president of Spark and Director of Outreach for the AIGA's Center for Sustainable Design, MSLK's Sheri L Koetting will moderate the panel discussion on "How to Lead Clients Towards Being Green." Panelists are Research Fellow Don Carli from the nonprofit Institute for Sustainable Communication (ISC), Cheryl Heller of Heller Communications, and Hugh Hough of the Green Team. It takes place at Bumble and bumble in Manhattan.

quiznos Quiznos Rolls Green
Quiznos is rolling out new packaging ("Eat Toasty, Be Green") made from renewable or recycled content that will reduce the chain's environmental footprint. Quiznos says the new packaging includes: 100 percent compostable wax-coated paper cups; pulp salad bowls made from renewable sugarcane; plastic lids made of 30 percent post-consumer recycled PET bottles; napkins made from 100 percent recycled material and fibers; and catering lunch boxes made of 100 percent recycled paperboard.


"Sustainability is part of our brand value. Our customers really care about the issue. We see increasing our sustainability as a necessity, not an option."

— Jim Weber, president and CEO of Brooks, explains why the running shoe company is increasing the sustainability of its running shoes and has introduced "Green Silence," a sustainability concept shoe.


aida March 18 (postmarked) is the deadine for the 2010 American Inhouse Design Awards. It is, quite simply, is the premier showcase and recognition program for outstanding work by inhouse design / marketing / communications departments. You can request a printed from by emailing Or you can download an entry form immediately at...


AIGA Education Conference
aiga This AIGA Design Educators Conference, respons_ability, is set for May 15-16, 2010 in Toledo OH. The conference aims to foster an ongoing dialogue and debate about design ethics, sustainability and design education. How can teachers create students who feel a responsibility to their world? How can they instill the capacity for our students to become thinking, ethical designers? And can educators translate the ideas of AIGA's The Living Principles in the classroom and beyond? These questions and more will be explored through a series of group discussions, workshops, lectures, speakers and learning sessions.

Picturing Climate Challenge
IDEO, the global design and innovation firm, has teamed with Design 21, an online platform which promotes design for the greater good, to launch the Living Climate Change Video Challenge. "Living Climate Change is an open invitation to designers and non-designers alike to think creatively about an issue that impacts us all," says Jennifer Leonard, IDEO designer. The Living Climate Change Video Challenge calls for an original video that envisions how climate change will impact life on Earth over the next 20 to 30 years. IDEO and Design 21 are looking for new thinking and thoughtful ideas on a sustainable future and are particularly concerned with which behaviors need to change or be preserved. The deadline is May 25.

Smoking Babies
smoking has produced several controversial advertisements which attack moderate Democratic Senators Mary Landrieu, Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln for supporting a Republican plan to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The television ads, which will amount to a six-figure buy and run in Arkansas, Louisiana and Nebraska, feature unsettling images of Americans, and especially children and babies, smoking so as to highlight their exposure to air pollution.

Toys Get Serious
Last month's Toy Fair featured a "green" pavilion that showcased environmentally-friendly toys for the first time. This year's winner for The Toy of the Year in the category of specialty toy was Captain Owen's Dolphin Explorer Boat, by Sprig Toys, made with earth-friendly materials. At the show, it was clear that big industry players like Mattel and Hasbro are increasingly "green" in choosing their packaging material. As an example, Mattel is working to reduce the size and amount of materials used in its product packaging, to raise the recycled content, and to incorporate sustainable packaging into the design of new products. As for Hasbro, the toy maker topped the Climate Count's survey last year on the toy industry's actions to reduce its impact on climate change.

Cartonless Care
bayer Bayer Consumer Care is introducing its products in new packaging with several points of difference. Designed for Genuine Bayer aspirin, Bayer Low Dose aspirin and Aleve products, the shape of the bottles are now a larger, sleek oval, they are topped with an easy-open/easy-grip cap covered with a soft-touch, rubber-like thermoplastic elastomer, and tehy are color-coded to match the graphics for each SKU. Most noteworthy, however, is that this is Bayer's first venture into cartonless bottles in order to minimize packaging waste associated with cartons.


See great products from leading designers...



AIGA response_ability

Joshua Onysko
Pangea Organics

Rick Valicenti

Rick Poyner
Writer, Educator, Teacher

Nathan Shedroff
Designer, Speaker, Teacher


Sheri L Koetting

Don Carli
Institute for Sustainable Communications

Cheryl Heller
Heller Communications

Hugh Hough
Green Team