March 01, 2015

Chasing Hazards: Toxicity, Sustainability, and the Hazard Paradox

Charles Franklin

Despite the fits and starts of the U.S. economy over the last twenty-five years, consumer demand for “greener,” “safer,” more “sustainable” products and services has grown from a small, niche market, to a potential market driver for many companies. “Environmental branding” promises something for every stakeholder niche. Enterprising manufacturers and retailers see the opportunity for market differentiation and premium pricing. Government regulators see opportunities to incentivize behavioral change that would be impossible to mandate under current resource constraints and statutory authorities. Environmental nongovernmental organizations (ENGOs) see opportunities, using the Internet, press, and social media, to drive consumers, retailers, and ultimately, manufacturers away from disfavored products and technologies and toward those deemed “preferable.”

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