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Saturday, March 7, 2009

What is eBay's Greenteam?

To put it simply, eBay's Green Team is an internal group that works to make the company more environmentally friendly. The team became public on March 4. The business model of eBay, according to the Green Team, is to encourage people to resell items instead of throwing them out, and buy used merchandise instead of purchasing new products.

The Green Team began in 2007 with 40 eBay employees and now has over 1,000 employees involved. The Green Team's website contains a forum called Green Team Talks where people can exchange tips about "sustainable shopping."

eBay worked with the environmental consultant ICF International to green their facilities. Their newest building in San Jose, California is LEED Gold certified. It features an utomatic dimming system which adjusts electric lights to make use of natural light, results in estimated 39 percent energy savings. It is made of 95 percent recycled structural steel, contains 38 percent recycled carpet tiles and 100 percent recycled fabric. The campus contains a smart irrigation system which is a more efficient way to irrigate.

eBay's San Jose North facility has a 650 kilowatt solar energy system (3,248 panels on the roof) provide 18 percent of its energy needs).

A bit of greenwashing?

Michael Brune, executive director of Rainforest Action Group questions eBay's environmental creds. He pointed out that many of the items eBay sells are new. 

“It’s fair to say that buying used goods on eBay is better for the environment, but let’s not get carried away and say this is the greenest thing since recycled paper," Brune  said.

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