Boost Local Shopping Streets by Going Car Free

Berlin wants to support its local businesses by banning cars, and historically this has worked well for other cities. Cities the world over are converting streets built for cars into places that people can enjoy to help their local economies. Berlin joins in on this people-friendly trend and the results already look friendly. The city wants to go a step further and use some of the land cars suck up for relaxing areas for people – why park a car where you can just have a park?

This summer, the German capital has announced plans to pedestrianize some vital central streets starting in October. One experiment will ban cars from the main section of Friedrichstrasse, a long, store-filled thoroughfare that, before World War II, was considered the city’s main shopping street. Another will test daily closures on Tauentzienstrasse, another key retail street, with a view toward going permanently car-free in 2020.


At Tauentzienstrasse, the street is wide enough for a more radical makeover. If it’s fully closed for good, it could accommodate cafés and what Germans call “lying meadows”—lawns intended for lounging and sunbathing—in its median. Such changes probably make as much sense commercially as they do environmentally. While some stores may worry that restricted vehicle access could deter shoppers, in the age of online shopping, it pays to make the location of your store pleasant enough to lure people who simply want to hang out.

Ship Slowly for Greener Online Shopping

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It’s that time of year when people buy objects for others because of social obligations or religious practices. When purchasing goods we obviously need to think about the story behind the things being bought (who made it, where it comes from, etc.). If you’re buying stuff online then you should also think about shipping methods beyond the quickest. It turns out online shopping can be the greener option as long as you don’t use the fastest shipping option. Of course, like many environmental issues this one can also be solved by not buying useless stuff.

A 2013 study from MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics calculated that the carbon footprint of a traditional shopper purchasing a toy in a store is higher than that of someone who buys the same thing online with regular shipping (more about that later).

That’s because parcel carriers use a more efficient delivery system than you driving to the mall, and the carbon footprint of a website is smaller than that of a brick-and-mortar store.

Read more.
Thanks to Delaney!

Green Store

The other day a promotional email from Green Cricket landed in my inbox wanting to me to blog about their store. I’m not keen on providing what is essentially free advertising to sites, but this one is local to me (Toronto) and they have a stringent measurement of ‘green’. It’s good to see retailers strongly embrace the environment.

There are many green stores out there and I suggest you find one that’s near you so you can bike there. Of course, the most obvious way to be a green shopper is to not buy anything you don’t need and be conscious of your purchases.

Green Cricket assesses every product offered on our site against our own quality criteria, and provides full transparency of “what’s green” about each. Our Green Rating System uses a range of environmental factors that span the product lifecycle. We have grouped this System into five main criteria to evenly assess each product. Part of this evaluation includes the extent to which these products have obtained third-party certifications from government or standards organizations. We have chosen only those products that, based on this assessment, are consistent with our commitment to bringing the best in green products to you.

Green Cricket

Cruelty Free Shopping Made Easy

Happy New Year! To celebrate 2010, I got you a website that makes it easy to find out which cosmetic / toiletry / household good companies don’t test their products on animals.

Here’s the site, and here’s why:

In cosmetics and household products research, painful experiments are carried out on hundreds of thousands of animals every year in the UK, including dogs, rabbits, pigs, mice, rats, guinea-pigs, fish and birds. This includes tests for skin or eye irritation, skin sensitisation (allergy), toxicity (poisoning), mutagenicity (genetic damage), teratogencity (birth defects), carcinogenicity (causing cancer), embryonic or fetal genetic damage and toxicokinetics (to study the absorption, metabolism, distribution and excretion of the substance).

Every year is a good year for ethical consumerism!

54% of Consumers Care About Product Sustainability

Some of you might read this and think “only half of shoppers care?” while some of you might read this and think “that’s more than I thought!”. What I find most captivating is that this statistic is from a survey done by marketers to find out if people truly care about the environmental sustainability of a product. Just think, twenty, or even ten years ago people would’ve laughed at you if you mentioned how bad some products are for the environment.

Today half of shoppers will choose the more environmental product and now 95% of shoppers are willing to shop green. Here’s the press release on the survey.

“We found that for most shoppers, sustainable considerations are an important tie breaker when deciding between two otherwise equal products and they are a driver in product switching,” said Brian Lynch, GMA director of sales and sales promotion. “But it’s not enough to just put green products on the shelf. We have to better educate consumers and leverage in-store communication to make the sale.”

Most shoppers surveyed, 95 percent, are open to considering green products, 67 percent of shoppers looked for green products, only 47 percent actually found them and 22 percent purchased some green products on their shopping trip, highlighting the need for better shopper marketing programs to close the gap. Sometimes concerns about product performance and credibility of the environmental claims are the reasons shoppers opt not to buy green products, but more often communication and product education are the biggest obstacles. The study also found that a significant minority of committed and proactive green shoppers will pay a premium for sustainable products; however, the larger potential population of shoppers that lean toward green want price and performance parity for sustainable products because it is not their dominant purchase driver.

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