green10percentcostmore_032908Most visitors to are willing to pay more for a green business product.

In the ad hoc poll, 60% of visitors agree that they would be willing  to pay 10% more for a green product, showing that being green does represent an opportunity for margin improvement (assuming that the cost of producing the green product is not much more than the the non-green product). Of course, this sets the stage for what the Canadian advertising regulatory agency has determined is an important policy objective – to define the standards for which a marketer can claim a product as a 'green' product.

This is a bad idea.

Leaving regulation of being green up to the government is a silly intervention into the marketplace. Instead of dictating these standards, marketers should justify their claims and let the consumer, the investigative press and the competition keep the competition honest. How much regulation can Canadians, or any healthy market sustain, anyways?

At some point, consumers and businesses have to be responsible for making good buying decisions. Of course for drugs and securities, the two most highly regulated industries in America today, these factors don't apply in that the company is particularly liable for misleading statements. That's because people can loose their lives and their life savings and the class action lawyers will be on your backs so fast, it would make the marketer's head spin!

In all other industries, marketers have a little breathing room, because lives and lifesavings aren't usually at stake. If consumers make flaky decisions because of questionable science, shouldn't the threat of lawsuit for damages, the ever-watchful eye of the competition and the investigative press who are always looking for fodder, sanctions from existing regulation and the blogosphere work to keep marketers honest?

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