The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Remember The Japanese A[P]SOTW Assignment?
August 27, 2008, 4:02 pm
Filed under: Comment

If you need a reminder, click here.

Anyway the reason I bring it up is because I’ve just read an interesting story about something Japan’s doing that’s kinda-related to the whole environmental challenge of the last A[P]SOTW assignment.

Of course there’s a bunch of people who are slagging it off … but they’re advertising folk so their opinion counts for nothing!

16 Comments so far
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did I hear anybody say display the hidden costs of stuff?? once u know u can not, not know any more…

They should have made it qr code style so that when u scan all the groceries at the counter the carbon is displayed in the que to others.. work the shame culture of the Japaneses to your advantage, you know make it more social

Comment by n to the h

I get your subtle comment N-to-the-H … OK, I will go and sit on the naughty step! 🙂

As for your queue idea, could it be improved by linking it to a prize as well as social consquence?

What if the person who bought goods with the lowest level of carbon emissions for the day [evaluated by number of items or prize or weight to make it abit more fair] got the amount of money they spent in the store returned to them. Or … because lets face it, some people go in for a packet of Hob Nobs … a prize of significant enough value that it might create consideration of purchase – which intern would put pressure on manufacturers to be more carbon efficient.


I daren’t comment given what I know you’ll throw in my face, ha! [Not like that Dodds/Andy!]

Comment by Rob

*smiling content on top of Mount olympus*

that’s actually a nice idea + link it to a mobile type eco card that universal across all the shops and let’s you get not only discount but convenience. Japanese are time starved so why not get privileged treatment to cultural or entertainment stuff that is of value monetary and status wise (like if you get enough points you could get a advance digital copy of Haruki Murakami latest novel; well read and a eco dude)…

Better than my follow up thougth of having
astmatic grocery packing people sarcasticly thanking the heavy users for their purchase

Comment by n to the h

Why make it difficult for the customer? Set up retail outlets predicated on selling only carbon efficient products. Customers only have to make one decision (not multiple ones) and the stores’ differentiation is built-in. If it becomes successful, other retailers will be forced to adapt.

Comment by John

make the packaging a platform for media; reconfigure the meaning of packaging..

if the value of packaging is digital instead of visual u could do with less frills and clutter (read plastic etc) and more content (digital scaling is cheaper).

it could also create an extra revenue stream for manufactures…think about it: a royalties deal with a singer, that his single can be downloaded via a pack of gum. if those are bought by the millions a week, that could be a nice earner and reframe the way consumers view the brand..

plus people spend way more time in grocery shops than in any other so whay not make it a take-it- all- one-stop that does not clutter the space and time starved peeps..

Comment by n to the h

I am guessing Mr Dodds that would be counter productive at this stage. It requires you to formally declare your position. perhaps in the west easier, in Japan perhaps less so..

Preceeded by a campagne of pop culture icons who choose carbon light it could work. it’s a classic case of “we all want change, but you be the first”.

plus the pop brands would not qualify yet, so the store would be empty..

manufactures will not change without incentive, postive or negative. they got machines and procedures in place…this will not be changed because of the existence of a low carb store, I guess..

Comment by n to the h

Look at Dodds getting all fancy and clever.

Excellent point John, but given the issues raised in the A[P]SOTW assignment interms regarding awareness and cultural habits/expectations … do you think there’s enough companies who make products in Japan that would qualify as being carbon efficient?

I’m not sure, but if that’s the case, wouldn’t the initial set-up costs be prohibative – or at the very least, force such a shop to operate at a very small level?

God we’re becoming serious! Help!

Comment by Rob

Defeatist talk from Niko and Rob. It’s all about declaring a position, taking the plunge and changing the world.

Comment by John

it could be interesting to apply dan hill’s ‘well tempered environment’ kinds of informatics to this situation too.

there could be flashing numbers above the supermarkets to indicate how high/low the carbon/environmental footprint is on the shop, which would be compared to other chains/other stores – almost shaming the stores into reducing/increasing that number compared to others.

Comment by lauren

And, of course, to make your customers’ carbon footprints smaller, you only have to stock the most carbon efficient varieties of each product line (even if initially they’re not very carbion efficient). By buying those products, they are, by definition, being more carbon efficient. In time, the gains will be greater as producers react to the veritable landslide of customers by changing their manufacturing processes.

The stores would naturally be located in existing shopping areas so that no pedantic sod can suggest that travel costs would increase.

Comment by John

Who John? Are you suggesting you’d slag off your own comment. Very honest of you.

Comment by Rob

Hang on John, are you now suggesting we get rid of your new ‘low carbon supermarket’ and just get the existing shops to stock those brands with lower carbon footprints?

Glad you came round to our way of thinking 🙂

And I reckon if Macca’s re-evaluated their packaging [which admitidlly they did quite recently] they could have a massive impact because as much as they have reduced materials quite dramatically, there is still a ridiculous amount of pointless packaging used, but then that’s like most American fast food and drink places.

Yeah, lets blame the Americans – they cop the shit for pretty much everything else so what’s another issue, ha!


Comment by Rob

Given my attitude to Queen, birkies and computer games, coupled with my lack of spielbergian aspirations, I could never come round to your way of thinking.

In any case, your stores stock all the bad stuff and rely on the time-poor customers to do the research and realise they should not buy them – not to mention being assailed with digital packaging and faffing aroud with gimmicky competitions. My stores embody a respect for the customer and, in line with current buzzwords, nudge them towards their carbon-efficient goal.

Comment by John

yeah what moby said 😉

Comment by n to the h

I think the carbon footprint label will only lead to eco-fatigue and agree with John’s point that it makes things difficult for consumers. It reminds me of people who obsessively count calories they consume in an effort to lose weight, but aren’t looking at the content of what they’re eating.
But I do like Rob’s idea of giving away a prize because it would give meaning to reducing carbon footprints in a fun way. To stretch that idea further, maybe the government can do something like the show ‘The biggest looser’ – companies will have to submit the carbon emission from manufacture to disposal of the product and the biggest reducer of carbon per category gets a tax break.

Tesco has done a trial on this label thingy.
It would be interesting to know if it’s making a difference in purchase decisions.

Comment by Naoko

Had you not said how my idea would have worked Naoko, I would have gone into a huff because I don’t need Dodds brilliance being endorsed by others – Christ, his head will grow so big it won’t even get out the room.

Given your heritage, I think you are the most well placed to comment – however I still think Niko’s original comment got us all thinking of how this strategy could be adapted to actually have a real effect so I will sit back and bask in the glow that for once, this blog has a string of comments that actually leads to something interesting and potentially effective.

Can it happen again? I think we all know the answer to that!

Comment by Rob

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