The book Ecological Intelligence by Daniel Coleman sets out to characterise and identify the attitude of the title. He describes ecological intelligence as a purchasing attitude that will inform us all about the benefits and problems associated with the products and services that we buy. This change in the purchasing behaviour will come about as we get a better understanding of these benefits and in some cases dangers. He focusses on food and beauty products as two area where consumer behaviour is already changing. He cites the organic movement and websites such as Goodguide as evidence of this. Examples that he doesn’t cite but are more relevant to an European audience are
- the BRE Green Guide , a rating system for the construction industry
- the ethical superstore, a store whose aim is to supply products which are already highly rated for being environmentally friendly, fairtrade, and/or organic,
- topten , a site that combines information from many european countries on the highest performing products from an energy saving perspective in a number of popular categories.
It can be seen from this short list that there is already a substantial amount of effort underway to provide the information Coleman wishes to see ‘out there’ but it is less clear how this information is affecting consumer behaviour, particularly in an economic downturn. I recommed the book, it is written simply and clearly, and his tone is that of a participant rather than an observer which makes it easier to engage with.