Stroller Decision: Update

Ms. Kaz was catching up on the blog the other night, and we were discussing the BabyPlanet strollers, and I mentioned how certain environmentally friendly “features” were no longer mentioned on the site. “Why don’t you ask them?” she said. Duh. Why don’t I?

So, I wrote to them, and Pete Myers, the President of BabyPlanet responded that night. In fact, I had follow-up questions late (for me, at least) that same night, which I was surprised to see a response to early this morning. I bring this up before I go into the meat of the conversation because I’d like to add a plus to BabyPlanet for customer service.

The reason for the omission of previous statements? Well, the MBA in me can certainly empathize — availability and cost, just as I had suspected. Mr. Myers wrote:

“The further we went into sourcing our products and working with our manufacturers, the more we found that the materials we are searching for aren’t as readily available as we had hoped or that they come at a price that really pushes the retails out of reach for many consumers. In effect, we found that if we wanted to produce products that can reach most consumers, we’d have to start out with fairly traditional materials.”

This is not to say their commitment to the environment has wavered — see the recycling program — as they hope to be able to continually improve the environmental friendliness of their products:

We have an ongoing initiative to find and use planet friendly and/or recycled materials, to use materials that are friendlier to baby, to encourage our manufacturers to produce with planet friendly practices and to do all we can to effect post consumer waste.”

And I hope they do, because, based on features and aesthetics, I think they have a good product, and I appreciate their desire to do what they can for the environment. I think more and more manufacturers will recognize that parents, and consumers in general, value these ideals, and we will see not only more environmentally friendly products (and for manufacturers, supplies) at at a reasonable cost. Again, Mr. Myers:

“Over the next few years I believe many more manufacturers will start listening to what consumers, retailers and experts are telling them and more and more will start pushing green initiatives. We will be very vocal, going forward, to encourage our own competition to adopt the same programs we are, as it’s not a competitive edge, it’s just the right thing to do. Eventually the suppliers will come around, but it just takes a little patience to allow for the evolution of things.”

I don’t mean to talk them up too much — I don’t want you to think I’m on the payroll (I’m not), but I do appreciate the time and attention BabyPlanet gave to my questions. And since I publicly created some doubt or questions about how “green” their products are, I thought it was only fair to give them a voice to respond here. And Mr. Myers sums up the change nicely:

Because of this dilemma, we felt it was best to stop promising until we knew we could come through with the promise. I hope you can appreciate the situation we are in and understand that we still plan to continue this trend, but in fairness to all consumers we only want to discuss what we are doing, not what we hope to be doing.”

So, thanks again to Mr. Myers for responding, and allowing me to pass the update on to my readers.

Also, if you’d like to see more of the BabyPlanet strollers, there is a video from JPMA here.

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