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Editor's Notebook

What is ‘Green’?: We May Be Seeing Red Without a Clear Enviro-Definition

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For the tire industry, its products and services, and its face to the eco-consuming public, exactly what is “green”?

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This is a very valid question for the enviro-age.

Is it oil-free tires or those substituting citrus oil? Tires made from recycled crumb rubber? Dandelions or cornstarch?

What about retreading or making better use of existing products? Lower rolling resistance for greater fuel economy? Earth-friendly cleaning compounds or eco-friendly processes?

Does it lie in not-yet-developed technologies and not-yet-considered ingredients? Is it reduced emissions and carbon footprints? Low/no pollution vehicle fuels?

What about planting trees or maintaining green space or smaller business cards or using recycled paper?

So what is “green”? The answer is all of them. Maybe.

There’s a lot on all our plates right now, and the only green of interest these days is the spendable kind. Anxiously watching our global financial structure crumble to our ankles occupies our attention. So defining “green” may be sidelined for a later date. But that date, like King Harvest, will surely come.

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Fairly, though, as the tire industry has wrapped itself in the noble “green movement,” nudging each other for favorable consumer notice, one should ask for a clear definition of “green.” In future days, this will be a significant issue.

Faced with so many possible eco-friendly options, how can Jane and John Greenearth make an intelligent, reasoned choice?

As you can see by the long list above, there are dozens of ways the greenness of this industry and its tires can be considered. With so many “measures,” consumers stand to be confused. Then they get frustrated and start complaining. To the government.

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Green confusion is already claiming victims. In Europe, some clothing and boot makers are trying to out-green each other with their own individual grading systems, producing nothing but confounding, unexplained measurements. Department stores there have added their own “green” factors to advertisements.

It’s a highly competitive marketplace, one where consumer anointment is earned by clearly definable measures – treadwear, braking, traction, etc. Imagine, as dealers, having to compare and contrast the greenness of tires or companies based on difficult to measure – let alone explain – things like carbon footprints.

Man has established ways to measure and compare all types of characteristics. In our little corner of the universe, we can track sales and profits and marketshare (sort of), and traction and treadwear and so many other tangibles.

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At some point (soon, I hope) the industry must devise an agreeable, legitimate and universal measuring stick for greenness. And it must be consistent and transparent, as technically bulletproof as you can make “warm and fuzzy,” and scalable to meet the expanding visions of researchers.

Failing that, I’m sure the government will be happy to oblige. It has before.

* * * * * *
The new year brings renewal and resolution, and thus it is with your magazine and your Web site.

Renewal comes in new ways to maximize your Tire Review experience. Resolution brings broader, richer content online and in the magazine, a wealth of information and insights not previously offered.

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These changes are all a part of our longer-term plan to deliver a broader array of highly focused information and resources to help you and your business prosper.

Beginning with this issue, you will see some subtle changes in the magazine. For example, our Industry Report section will now focus on the most important news from the past 30 days. Breaking industry news and analysis will be available each and every weekday at Tire Review Online.

Expanded versions of all of our regular columns and features will now be available in the new Tire Review PLUS section of our Web site. In addition, Tire Review PLUS will carry all-new content – from vehicle service marketing and how-to features to columns by noted aftermarket observer Mitch Schneider to additional commentary from industry notables and readers to a wide range of vital information to help you run your business.

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Just as there are only 24 hours in the day, the amount of information we could deliver each month was limited by the number of pages we could print. Today, technology gives all of us the opportunity to do so much more, and we intend to leverage that power for your benefit.

We know your future visits to tirereview.com will be rewarding.

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