Less Bad Does Not Equal Good

I am off to Vermont tomorrow for the first weekend Intensive of the spring trimester at Marlboro College.  Today I noticed this clip of Seventh Generation’s ‘Chief Inspired Protagonist,’ Jeffrey Hollender, at a recent conference in NYC.   Hollender describes his products as less bad:

“We as a society have confused ‘less bad’ with ‘good.’ As much as I like Seventh Generation products, and I think they’re great, they are less bad. All of our products create CO2 emissions. They create garbage, They use natural resources, and they are not good products. They’re better than their competitors, but they’re not good…

If we want to have a sustainable form of capitalism, we have to start creating products that are good.  We have a world that’s so messed up, we don’t want to sustain it. We want to renew the world and repair all of the damage. And we’re not going to do that through products that are less bad.”

Hollender makes a good point that reminded me of John Ehrenfeld’s view, that reducing unsustainability does not equal sustainability.  That being said, I am happy to have a less bad option like Seventh Generation, with their diverse product line.  Obviously though, in order to live sustainably, we will all have to make some sacrifices.  However, you won’t hear many CEO’s describe their wares as “less bad.”

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