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Green is Not a Holiday Color

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The Wall Street Journal recently published an article regarding analyst concerns over eroding profit margins for merchants like Macys this holiday season, as they will need to offer free shipping on just about every online purchase to keep up with pure online retailers.

xmas_lights.jpgAfter pausing to reflect on how free shipping has become an expectation rather than a promotional tactic, I thought about all the waste that will be generated from those shipments, and wondered if any retailer is going to honor their commitment to the environment this holiday-most have, after all, pledged to be “more responsible”.

So I did a little website trolling and it seems that zero waste, carbon footprint, resource conservation, and all those responsibility positions that Walmart, Safeway, Kroger and even Whole Foods claim to champion, are significantly diminished in this season’s holiday messaging (I will say that Walmart has a tip on how to make your own holiday cards, but that was about it on the sustainability front for the holidays). The retailer mindset has apparently shifted to Black Friday offerings, layaway plans, indulgent recipes and decorating tips.

It seems someone should be reminding us of how pilgrims lived off what they harvested locally and that they did not get apples and turkeys from China to save a few cents. Like our Founding Fathers, shoppers should take pause to plan for how they will honor the environment and their community this holiday season, and retailers really should keep their commitments to guide us all to a better place.

It appears though that most retailers have thrown their green commitments into reverse this holiday season to focus on not being in the red. This is, in my opinion, a missed opportunity. The holidays should be a time to remind shoppers to buy local, eat fresh, sustainably grown vegetables, recycle and limit packaging. I guess we can all start again in January when the messaging, as always, will be about “New Year New You”!

[Photo credit: Kaitlin Marie]

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