Local 'green' Web portal goes on-line

1st of its kind in Israel, getgreen.co.il provides info on environmentally friendly products, services.

get green screenshot (photo credit: )
get green screenshot
(photo credit: )
In another sign that the "green" trend sweeping the world over the past several years is also taking hold here, two entrepreneurs have launched the getgreen Web site. The first of its kind in Israel, the Internet portal pulls together information on environmentally friendly products and services for the ecologically mindful consumer. Www.getgreen.co.il offers a "business card" sketch of companies or products and a search function either by topic or geographic location. The site is the brainchild of two female entrepreneurs - Hila Rom and Dana Chapnik, both 30. "The portal is a fusion of a commercial endeavor with something that we care deeply about," Rom told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, the day the site was launched. Rom, a lawyer by training, has a background in business development and Chapnik has been heavily involved in event planning and marketing. "After many years of doing business development at various companies, I decided a few years ago just to do projects which are good for me," Rom said. "We believe in practical ecology and the power to choose, or the power of our money. If companies see that people are willing to buy green products, then they'll start making them. When you have the information, you can make the right choice," she said. While the portal also has an online store and discount coupons, it mainly offers information. At present, 60 companies are already listed on the site, "which is certainly not comprehensive, but does represent the leading and best ones," according to Rom. Five or six new companies are added daily, she said. While Rom was quick to admit that their requirements for inclusion on the site were not as comprehensive as a standards institute, they did try and verify the company or product line's claims as much as possible. "We require all potential companies to explain in writing why they are ecological and we try to include as much information about the products as we can on the site - where they were made and other useful information for the consumer," she told the Post. "Greenwashing, where companies try to ride the green trend without being truly ecological, is a serious problem in Israel. The Standards Institute tried to create a 'green standard,' but the plan fell through for various reasons, so it's harder to differentiate what is green and what isn't," she added. One of the site's future features will be a green buying guide and reviews of new products and companies. Getgreen features a mix of consumer products and services. Clothing made from 100 percent organic cotton or a selection of cloth diapers for babies are featured, as are solar energy companies, a consultant who helps people cook healthfully and several vacation spots around the country. There's also an online magazine with articles about living ecologically and a listing of ecological events. "We adopted criteria common around the world: the company or product has to be good for the environment, good for the community, and good for the company's employees. That means that part and parcel of being environmentally friendly is not employing little kids in China to make the products," Rom said. While some environmentally friendly products remain much more expensive than their regular counterparts, more and more are becoming cost competitive. The site took about a year to develop, according to Rom, much of which was spent doing the legwork to figure out what the environmentally friendly options in Israel were. It is 100% co-owned and run by Chapnik and Rom, who invested some NIS 400,000 in putting it up, "because we didn't want to be dependent or answerable to anyone but ourselves." There's an in-house staff of graphic designers and Web designers who continually improve the user-friendly site, a staff of about 15 freelance writers and a marketing staff, Rom said. While some of the companies listed are completely environment-friendly, other products are lines offered by a larger company that isn't necessarily ecologically friendly. "The vision is that every company in Israel, if it doesn't go green entirely, will at least offer a green product line. In other countries, like Denmark and the Netherlands, 90% of products already have to comply with an environmental standard," Rom said.