The Green Agenda
Over the last decade, arcane concept such as ‘global warming’, ‘greenhouses gases’, ‘carbon footprints’ and ‘sustainability’ have loomed ever larger in the public consciousness. Mankind has woken up to the havoc it has wreaked since the industrial revolution and protection if the environment has become the overriding issue of the 21st century.
Manufactures as well as individuals are under increasing pressure to demonstrate their eco-friendly credentials and sign up to Green Agenda.
For most householders, the garden is their most tangible point of contact with the environment, so the £5bn garden-supply industry finds itself in an excellent position to promote green practices among consumers. The task is made easier by the fact that most people genuinely want to do something about depleted water and energy resources, reduce the reliance on carbon fuels and slow the spread of the landfill sites. However, recycling, water conservation and the use of organic products are still often perceived as burden – and an expensive one at that. Reducing costs, particularly in the organic market, is a key challenge for the sector.
Other firms are using innovative techniques to bypass the use of timber products entirely. Vinyl Fencing, based in Peacehaven, produces maintenance- free fences made of recyclable material that requires none of the protective chemicals – such as arsenic, lead and creosote – associated with wooden structures and has a lifetime of between 50-60 years. “We are protecting the forest” says Managing Director Sasha Dragojevic. “It seems irresponsible to use such a limited natural resource for something that has a better alternative. Timber fences last only 5-10 years before being replaced, which means cutting down more trees. That can happen many times during the lifetime of only one vinyl fence”.
Ultimately, the future of the planet depends on how much we as individuals are prepared to pay for our environmental conscience. Manufacturers must step up their research and keep looking for creative ways to reduce the damage we cause to the natural world. Retailers must seek to lower the cost of green products, even at the expense of increasing the price of more harmful goods. Government has a vital role to play in educating adults and children, as well as giving companies financial incentives to devise eco-friendly solutions. As fossil fuels begin to run out, we must re-evaluate worldwide transportation methods, shorten supply chains and prioritise alternative energy resources, such as biomass. Business is all about making money, but the colour of money has to be green.