Amazon is launching a new shopping website that will exclusively sell green products ranging from cleaning supplies and baby accessories to clothes and beauty products. The marketplace, called vine.com, has its own unique formula for what qualifies as “green” and thus, all their products must fall into at least one of the following categories: they must be designed to remove toxins, energy-efficient, natural, organic, powered by renewable energy, reusable, made of sustainable materials or water-efficient.
If you think any product with the word “natural” slapped on the label will be featured on the website, think again! According to the NY Times Bit Blog, “Vine has asked vendors to verify that their products meet certain standards and has scanned ingredient lists to make sure they do not contain banned substances.” Vine will be greening the shipment process as well by transitioning to 95 percent recycled shipping boxes and using software that calculates the right size box based on the dimensions of the products in your order so that there is no wasted excess packaging. What’s more, Vine will also be “catering to other civic-minded shopping trends, too, with sections stocked with fair trade products or products made within 100 miles of a shopper’s home.”
“This is a site that is not necessarily about saving the planet, though we feel the products are useful in that regard,” said the site leader, Josh Dorfman, to the NY Times Bit Blog. “It’s really saying to mom, ‘If you care about raising safe and healthy kids and you feel green products without chemicals can help along the way, we’ve figured out ways to help you do that.’”
Vine–which is owned by Quidsi, the company that also runs sites like Diapers.com (baby stuff), Wag.com (pets), YoYo.com (toys), and other e-commerce sites–promises to deliver in one or two days courtesy of robots that will pack boxes in the warehouse within minutes after a customer places the order. Additionally, the website will be placing an emphasis on customer service and easy returns.
While skeptics may, appropriately, point out that warehouses consume a huge amount of energy making this green endeavor counterproductive, it is important to acknowledge and applaud Amazon’s effort to provide the environmentally-friendly consumer with the convenient option to purchase products online. In fact, Dorfman admits to the environmental impacts of e-commerce: “It’s a fair point that no matter how you’re going to engage in commerce, there’s going to be an environmental impact. We’re not promising to be the greenest company right away, and we’re owning up to the fact that it’s not the way we operate across the entire company.”
That’s more than what can be said for other e-commerce shopping sites.