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Consumption With an Eye on Environment

Posted December. 19, 2005 03:04,   


Lifestyles of health and sustainability (LOHAS) are replacing well-being as Japan’s mainstream consumption pattern. Well-being and LOHAS have one thing in common, however: attracting consumers.

“It made me realize once again that the environment is the key to the 21st Century. Businesses will only be popular when they produce sophisticated and attractive products that are also environmentally friendly,” said Choi Yeol, head of an environmental foundation, after attending a LOHAS exhibition.

Fresh LOHAS Ideas-

“We decomposed 400 milk cartons and made a desk. Although the desks are a bit expensive, we plan to supply them to schools,” said a Japanese furniture company spokesperson.

An exhibition booth of Itoki, a Japanese furniture company, had a big banner up that said,” Milk Furniture.” This office furniture manufacturing company gained attention by making tables and desks out of decomposed milk cartons and straws.

The company contends that their desks are more expensive than ordinary desks, but that they are popular among environmentally-aware LOHAS consumers.

Coca-Cola and other food companies advertised that they could reduce carbon dioxide by decreasing the weight of cans and increasing their packaging units.

When reducing the weight of plastic bottles from 26g to 20g, only 20% of carriers that are currently used will be needed, leading to reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Also, companies will be able to cut back on plastic use when they sell large bottles instead of small ones.

“It would be a good idea to sell environmentally friendly products such as clothes, food, and shoes in one place, like the highly popular composite departments that carry various brands under a specific theme,” said Park Sang-Ho of Lotte Shopping.

Nurturing Future LOHAS Consumers-

“What is the forest that our company made to produce clean water?” asked a beverage manufacturing company.

“The nature forest,” the children answered.

This exhibition was special in that it had many programs that enabled children to learn easily about corporate environment management. Each company had an event for children, including giving out presents when winning a quiz or making New Year’s cards with milk cartons.

These programs and events are useful because they help enhance children’s images of eco-aware companies.

“My class came on a field trip with our teacher. The exhibition is fun and I am glad that I can learn about corporate environmental activities,” said a fifth grader from a Japanese primary school.

“Parents, the actual spenders, are important of course. However, more programs and events targeting children, the key LOHAS spenders, are needed,” explained Yoon Ji-yeong of Daesang Corp.

“Even if a corporation wants to invest in the environment, it will give up if there are no consumers that acknowledge its efforts. Expanding the environment-friendly market by fostering LOHAS consumers is important,” said Kim Min-joo, representative of Lead and Leader, a marketing analysis company.