Staff members of a one-stop directory aiming to include all eco-friendly businesses, Páginas Verdes, say they hope the pressure to be green will motivate even more companies to participate.
Two representatives, Diana Vega and José Domenech, spoke with The Tico Times on Thursday about the directory.
“The advantage for Costa Rica, in front of many countries, [is that it] has earned a green reputation,” Domenech said. “Because Costa Rica has a green image, everybody wants to be a part of this.”
Páginas Verdes’ directory ranges from the obvious eco-friendly products to the more obscure. In their directory, consumers in Costa Rica can find organic coffee and food producers, alternative energy providers, recycling and green transportation.
The pages also include artists, musicians, beach hotels, nature tours, cleaning products, makeup products and even environmentally friendly yoga.
In addition to the website, Páginas Verdes publishes a print edition. Currently the edition is only available in Spanish, but it does include numerous English-friendly businesses.
The directory started in 2008, launching the website in 2009. Domenech and Vegas said the next plan is to create smartphone apps, in an attempt to expand its reach.
“It’s been on the market for four years, but only people in the green market know about it,” Vega said.
In addition, Domenech and Vega said Páginas Verdes worked to consult with businesses to make them more eco-friendly, as well as pushing for the Costa Rican government to improve sustainable practices.
The two said combating “green-washing” was one of the main goals of Páginas Verdes. Domenech said that some companies, in order to appeal to eco-friendly consumers, will change one superficial aspect of their product. Domenech used the example of a coffee producer who might package beans in a recycled paper bag, but who still use pesticides and chemicals on the plantation.
Páginas Verdes instead said they take a holistic look at a company, whether it’s selling products, services or is a nonprofit organization.
Vega said she came to environmental causes from a love of nature.
“It’s not a love for business, I know this is not lucrative,” she said.
Domenech, who studied sustainable development in his home country of Spain, laughed in disagreement, and said he hoped it will be profitable.