no marketing please:


We all need to have to stop burning fossil fuels by 2050.  We need to drop our CO2 consumption by 60% by 2050.  This is going to require a  re-orientation of human values and consumption.

  • 3 tonne target limit per year = this is the CO2e allowance per person per year 
  • 3 metric tonnes as apposed to the imperial ton.
  • 1 metric tonne = 1000kg (1,000,000 grams) so the maths is very easy..
  • 10 tonnes of CO2 is currently the UK average...

What is marketings role in CO2? 

Bicycles are a good example of "design for assembly" (or repair).    However what happens when large companies enter the world of globalism and capitalism?   The amount of times I have seen stickers like "Designed in the UK".  What it should also say is made somewhere else exploiting someone or something to make the shareholders richer.  This sadly is global capitalism.   I have worked for a fair share of these types of companies and I had had enough.

Trek are allowed to put "Made in America" stickers on their bikes - if they are assembled in the USA.  

And yet U.S.-made bikes account for only about 1 percent of Trek's total production. 

This is misleading and yet marketing find this acceptable??   In the west this capitalism creates a desire for consumption.  Marketing departments selling you something that is slightly better, but ultimately not needed.   

Marketing are looking for ways to "reinvent the market" or look for gaps.  "Womens geometry" was Specialized's attempt to grow their market.   Women have always ridden bikes so nothing has changed.   My favourite was Cannondale trademarking the word "free-ride" which got a Rocky Mountain started with Fro-riders.

My point is do not buy into the BS.  Look at products that transcend fashions and paint schemes.  Companies large enough to have marketing departments also exploit someone somewhere to get the prices down.  Value engineering bearings without seals exploits you the potential customer - because you do not find out until a year later when they fail.  And manufacturing in the far east exploits both workers and the planet.

Lets have a look at the CO2e effects with this global capitalism market.

This is a typical foot print of something designed in the UK and made in Asia.   Companies cannot design remotely and need to send engineers out to Asia at least once to approve things.  So this is a conservative look at a typical product.

  • 2.2Kg Sample sent from Taiwan to LONDON Distance = 9872km 
  • Airfreight = 0.5kg CO2e per Ton
  • CO2 cost = 10.85kg CO2e

Engineer Approval:

  • Return flight London / Taiwan /London = 19744 km
  • CO2e per passenger 0.1kg 
  • CO2 cost = 1974.4kg

Final shipping based on a container of 100 bicycle frames

  • Shipping CO2e per Ton 0.04KgCO2e
  • Distance Taiwan to London = 9872km
  • CO2 cost = 8.7Kg
  • CO2 total = 1994Kg or 1.9T 

This can of course be am-mortised across a production volume, however this does take the engineers carbon foot print over the 3T per year limit.   Items designed in the USA and made in Asia will have a similar footprint.    Products that are designed and made in the same country have a much better footprint.

I came across an article which sums up human consumption - and companies responsibilities...

"My friend explained she wanted to trust that companies are "not being dicks in relation to materials, processes, supply chain, working standards and the ability to repair."

This rings true, it is hard to judge a company on its products alone.  Marketing is to convince you to buy something that you do not always need.  Product design puts style into something to create the "want" factor..   Ask yourself, do you really need it.  Can you repair or fix it?

Bicycles are on the whole a low impact product, however all companies have a responsibility to be as green as possible.    We need to questions everything.  Rise against the machine.  Go for the simple things, the tried and tested over the next best thing.  Research and fact check. 

Gosh, this sounds boring, but it is important because there is only have one planet that is being exploited by large corporate companies.