eBay announced this week that it will pave the way for eco-conscious consumers with a new marketplace dubbed “WorldofGood.com by eBay”. Designed to help shoppers find green and socially responsible products, the new shopping site will feature items made from recycled materials, organic raw goods and artisan wares produced by people in developing nations.
The partnership between the world’s largest online marketplace and World of Good, Inc., a start-up that aims to bring ethically produced goods to retailers, makes a certain sense.
Much of what is already sold on eBay are used items being launched into a second or third reincarnation, prolonging their life and diverting them from the landfill. Of course, eBay has evolved to include an array of stores selling new items as well, and this move will add another dimension with a bit of irony: Many of the new earth-friendly products on WorldofGood will be first-use products, potentially shinier and newer than that the yellowed, scratched or nicked household gadgets and toys boomeranging around the 24/7 digital garage sale.
Still, eBay, a Silicon Valley Internet success story founded in 1995, will be accomplishing something that may vex other businesses at this time of green growth and introspection: The giant purveyor of personal commerce will be expanding their offerings, but not in an ostentatiously consumptive way.
The WorldofGood site will divide products into “People Positive” and “Eco Positive” items, spreading them around in 15 categories, like jewelry, clothing, food, and offering products increasingly demanded by consumers, such as fair trade coffee and animal-friendly beauty products.
The website also will employ a label for each product – a Goodprint – that helps explain how good it really is and in what ways. It will tag products for empowering local people, conserving energy or being made of recycled materials.
“We created the WorldofGood.com marketplace to enable shoppers to purchase socially responsible products with confidence,” said Robert Chatwani, general manager of WorldofGood.com by eBay, in a news release. “Regardless of the social causes most important to consumers, they can easily shop for items according to a variety of different attributes, allowing them to customize their shopping impact.”
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