London, 6th March 2008: CNET Networks UK today launches SmartPlanet (www.smartplanet.com), a new reviews and lifestyle website featuring ethical and sustainable products for today’s consumer – from the hottest organic fashion and freshest Fairtrade grub, to solar gadgets and hybrid cars.
Using SmartPlanet, consumers can compare products for the first time by looking at the ‘complete picture’: the site’s unique review process evaluates green and ethical credentials, as well as more traditional factors such as price and quality, to give each product an overall ‘SmartScore’.
SmartPlanet launches at a time when green and ethical awareness is at an all-time high – the overall UK ethical market is now worth £32.3 billion annually and 2.8 million Brits are committed consumers of ethical products and services*. However, while most consumers want to act in a more green and ethical manner, they are also reluctant to sacrifice quality or value. SmartPlanet makes it easy for consumers to make smarter buying decisions – for them and the planet – by providing them with all the information they need in one place. This saves them hours of research time and gives them confidence that they are making the right choices.
The site is edited by Adam Vaughan, recognised in the field for his expertise on green and ethical living. Adam and the SmartPlanet editorial team report on the UK market, and test products for quality and usability as well as researching them thoroughly – using resources from the manufacturers’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) documents to existing third-party analysis from Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). The team also aim to weed out any examples of ‘green washing’ – where companies make exaggerated green and ethical claims about their products. SmartPlanet is backed by an expert Editorial Board, including representatives from Friends of the Earth, the Fairtrade Foundation and the Energy Saving Trust.
“We all want to be green, but working out how to do it can be difficult and confusing,” Vaughan said. “SmartPlanet isn’t about preaching to consumers or green-guilting, it’s about inspiring and empowering them to make their lifestyle more green and ethical. We want consumers to realise that by making lots of small, smarter purchasing decisions every day they can make a real difference – and it doesn’t have to mean not doing what they enjoy.”
Jon McGowan, Head of Consumer Marketing at the Energy Saving Trust, said: “The launch of SmartPlanet couldn’t be better timed. We have found through our own research at the Energy Saving Trust that although concern for the environment is high, we no longer want to be told over and over again what we should do and be made to feel guilty if we haven’t done it. SmartPlanet brings you ‘green’ news in an inspirational and innovative way so that making the ‘green’ or energy efficient choice no longer means you have to leave style behind.”
Barbara Crowther, Head of Communications at the Fairtrade Foundation commented: “SmartPlanet is a great idea – a one-stop online information shop for anyone wanting to make ethical, green and fair trade choices with their lifestyle. It’s teeming with the most up-to-date news, thoughtful reviews, fun videos and delicious debates. The Fairtrade Foundation is proud to be associated with this smart new website, for smart and planet-wise people.”
WWF has signed up as a launch sponsor on the site for the first month. The sponsorship includes standard inventory and site takeovers.
*2007 Ethical Consumer Report from the Cooperative Bank
For more information contact:
Natalie Godsell / James Ellerington, Brands2Life
020 7592 1200
firstname.lastname@example.org / james.Ellerington@Brands2Life.com
Helen Cooke, CNET Networks UK
020 7021 1237