Jan 7, 2010

All that and a bag of chips :o)

Imagine walking into a store to buy a bag of potato chips and seeing not only how two competing bags of chips compare on price but also how they compare in terms of green house gas (GHG) emissions. Then, imagine the ramifications if both bags of chips cost the same, but one bag had twice the GHG emissions clearly identified next to its price! Get ready, this path toward price/emission competitive comparison officially begins on January 1, 2010.

The EPA’s Final Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule took effect on December 29, 2009. As stated by the EPA, “Under the rule, suppliers of fossil fuels or industrial greenhouse gases, manufacturers of vehicles and engines, and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more per year of GHG emissions are required to submit annual reports to EPA.” The gases covered include not just CO2 but also methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and other fluorinated gases including nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and hydrofluorinated ethers (HFE). The monitoring period begins January 1, 2010.

Suppose there were two identical products (like potato chips) being offered at the same price but one was manufactured by company #1 using electricity from a coal fired power plant while the other bag of potato chips was manufactured by company #2 using a combination of electricity produced from a natural gas fired power plant plus an onsite roof top solar system. Market research suggests that many of today’s consumers will almost always buy green if the competing products are at pricing parity.

The idea of enabling consumers searching for price competitive “green” products through a credible “sustainability ranking” posted next to a price could be a major competitive advantage for green manufacturers and retailers.  It could also end up resulting in a negative economic impact to those companies and states that are not as green.  This is the type of open market issues that I can support.  We need to put our money where our mouths are!


  1. That's very interesting! Does this apply only to products manufactured in the US, or imports as well? Seems like it will be hard to enforce and police!

  2. Like it.
    But, um, we don't eat chips!!???!?!

  3. Sounds like a new business model is in the offing. Perhaps social consciousness can be made profitable, because that has been a major obstacle, that you can't make money going green.

    It would put the consumer in the role of determining what is best for the environment, if the study holds. And I think it would also make for new industry and subsquently new jobs.

  4. Wow, that is surely interesting. I never thought of that if purchasing a bag of chips!

    I try to go GREEN with just about everything I can within reason for me.

    Hugs, Rose

  5. I saw this as a big win Ken. Anything that makes it easy for people to see their impact, is an important step to bringing environmental awareness to consumers.

  6. This would probably sway my purchasing decisions when I think about it, even if there happened to be a cost difference, more and more I try to buy local if I can, and would have no problem spending a a bit more if I knew the impact of what i was buying on the earth was a bit less than the next product.

  7. i think it will also get people to support smaller businesses as a byproduct of people who dont want to try to decipher the information.



Tell Me What You Think, Don't Make me go Rogue on you :o)