Will carbon-free status give LG appliances an edge?

Company plans line of 'CarbonFree' products -- including a television and washing machine -- for release to the U.S. market early in 2012.

Consumer electronics and appliance giant LG Electronics is touting a new line of products that it will market under the "CarbonFree" certification label.

The products are slated to hit the U.S. market in early 2012. They include an LG television, a monitor, a washing machine, a refrigerator, an LED lamp and the company's solar panel products. Certain of the product will also bear the Energy Star certification for good measure.

How can LG make this claim? Each of the six core products that will be included as part of the line underwent a life cycle analysis to figure out their carbon footprint. The analysis looks at everything from raw materials extraction to production metrics to disposal implications. Once that footprint is figured out, CarbonFree certificates can be purchase against the impact.

Think of the process as sort of like corporate carbon offsets, except these are product-specific.

Said Wayne Park, president and CEO of LG Electronics USA:

"As part of our goal to become the most sustainable consumer products company in the world, LG is thrilled to partner with Carbonfund.org in this groundbreaking effort. Achieving the CarbonFree label for these products both validates the efforts we have made to reduce our carbon footprint and provides consumers important information they can trust."

So, having gone through the appliance-buying process just a few months ago when we redid our kitchen, here's what I am wondering: How much will the salesperson at the average appliance or department store understand what this label is all about? Based on my personal experience, I didn't hear word one about energy-efficiency during our appliance buying process even though I made sure that we were buying something that had an Energy Star rating.

No matter how much I applaud this effort and really appreciate what LG is doing, I have to wonder: Will carbon-free mean something to the average consumer? Both LG and Carbonfund.org are going to need to invest in some serious marketing to pull this one off.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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