Curry: Environmental Responsibility Means Paying More
Being more environmentally â€śresponsibleâ€ť means being willing to pay more for basic goods, according to NBC â€śTodayâ€ť show host Ann Curry.
â€śWhatâ€™s your best advice to me and families like me who really want to be responsible and pay even more, but do the right thing because we know this is an issue?â€ť Curry asked consumer correspondent Janice Lieberman January 31.
Curryâ€™s epiphany revealed a painful truth about the growing â€śgreenâ€ť movement: â€śgreenâ€ť products tend to cost more, from hybrid cars to produce. A hybrid Toyota Camry starts at more than $6,600 more than the base model gasoline Camry, while an organic apple can cost more than 30 cents more than a regular one.
So does an inability to spend more make other Americans less â€śresponsible?â€ť
At the same time Curry called environmentalism â€śresponsible,â€ť she tried to reject personal responsibility for investigating the actual environmental impact of â€śgreenâ€ť products, by blaming business for â€śmisleadingâ€ť marketing.
Curry slammed companies she accused of â€śtaking advantage of our interests and maybe misleading us in terms of what may or not help the environment, but we do want to find the right labels.â€ť
Lieberman said consumers â€śare confused by the new phrases in the growing green vernacular.â€ť Catch phrases like â€ś100-percent natural,â€ť â€ścarbon neutral,â€ť â€ścertified organicâ€ť and â€śenvironmentally consciousâ€ť are vague and often lack official definitions, she said. No kidding!
â€śFrom cosmetics to cars, weâ€™re bombarded with lofty claims because companies stand to profit substantially from environmentally-conscious consumers,â€ť Lieberman said, suggesting environmentally-conscious shoppers might be â€śgetting bamboozled in the name of saving the planet.â€ť
She said the Federal Trade Commission is â€śin overdrive to update their environmental advertising guidelines, which havenâ€™t been revised in a decade,â€ť but an FTC spokesman encouraged consumers to conduct their own research.
When Lieberman suggested to Curry, â€śItâ€™s up to you to do the research, look at the claims, look at the customer service number, call them, look at their Web sites, and if those numbers arenâ€™t available, pass,â€ť Curry complained about how time-consuming self-education can be.
â€śBut can I tell you, thatâ€™s a lot of work,â€ť Curry said, â€śAnd we donâ€™t have that kind of time, so what is the best advice you can give us today?â€ť
Liebermanâ€™s advice was still to research your purchases.