Adhesives Magazine

Editor's Memo: The Green Stuff

Developing successful green products is much trickier than most people might think.

May 1, 2014

Wouldn’t it be great if doing the right thing automatically brought big rewards? For example, if your company is willing to spend the extra time and money needed to develop a “green” adhesive or sealant that’s better for the environment, people should be more than happy to pay for it, right? That product should fly off the shelves at a premium price, prompting the development of additional, even more sustainable green products that are made from all bio-based raw materials, include no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to speak of, reduce CO2 emissions by 1,000%, and be fully recyclable/reusable! Sadly, this is not a perfect world. Far from it, in fact.

It turns out that developing successful green products is much trickier than most people might think. Consumers far and wide broadcast their desire for sustainable products, but they almost always balk at the price. “Only about 5% of buyers in the consumer market would be willing to pay more for an eco-friendly solution just because it is eco-friendly,” writes James Swope of The ChemQuest Group.

Selling to businesses is even more difficult, as product designers are forced to jump through increasingly stringent ROI hoops in order to justify their materials choices. The good news is that, despite multiple challenges, producing successful sustainable products is not a lost cause. Ranging from raw materials through to finished adhesives and sealants, green products are indeed making headway. Read Swope's column entitled “Selling Green” for some tips to effectively market your green products.

From bio-based materials and formulations to sustainable packaging options and new low-emission dispersions, this issue of ASI highlights several green products and strategies. I’d love to hear from you! How does your company reconcile green product development with the need to maintain a strong bottom line? Please contact me at (330) 336-4098 or suttons@bnpmedia.com to share your story.