December 31, 2007, 12:00 AM

Giving root to the ‘green’ retailing movement

Evo.com is bringing a new face to the online retailing of environmentally friendly products, channeling sales of some 100,000 products ranging from organically grown cotton apparel to solar panels from more than 1,200 retailers including HomeDepot.com and Macys.com.

What do electric scooters, solar panels and apparel made of organically grown cotton have in common? By the same token, what do Macys.com, HomeDepot.com and enviro-friendly lifestyle retailer VivaTerra.com share? The common thread is Evo.com, a site that aggregates the sale of “green” products and services from these and more than a thousand other online retailers.

Launched in the fall by CEO Dan Siegel, who also founded retail portal StudentAdvantage.com, and chief operating officer Mark Eastwood, a former web site designer from eBay and eToys, Evo links to about 1,200 e-retailers selling some 100,000 “green” products and services.

Hardcore enthusiasts

“There are about 30 million hardcore green enthusiasts in the U.S., but another 100 million who have taken some green steps, including about 50 million who are interested in figuring out how to live their lives in a sustainable fashion but don’t know where to start,” Siegel says.

Robert Perkowitz, co-founder of VivaTerra.com, a retailer specializing in selling women’s apparel and home furnishings that cater to an “enviro-friendly” lifestyle, says Evo can play an important role in pushing the nascent green retail market.

“Many retailers sell a few organic or sustainable products, and put them on the front of their site to ‘greenwash’ their company, adding confusion to the difficulty of selling green products,” he says. “Evo.com is new and exciting. If they can provide a clear guide to green products, and market their program well, it will be of benefit to consumers, truly green companies and the planet.”

Evo, which charges retail partners referral fees ranging from 5% to 25% of the purchase price, has developed spider software for crawling partner sites for green products and an online ratings system that displays from one to five green leaves to show the degree of a product’s environmental friendliness, such as its amount of organic material or carbon production. So far, Evo has reviewed about 2 million products and accepted only 100,000, or 5%, to display on its site, Siegel says.

paul@verticalwebmedia.com

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