Keeping green new year's resolutions in Turkey got easier just in time for 2012 with the English-language debut of the country's first online directory of eco-friendly products and services.
Created in 2010 by two new moms, the Turkish edition of Yeşilist -- a Turkish-English mashup meaning "greenie" -- draws 15,000 unique visitors a month, a not-insubstantial number in a society where eco-consciousness is hardly mainstream.
Building The Organic Market In Turkey
"Most organic food, textiles, and other products being produced in Turkey are for export," Yeşilist co-founder Ergem Senyuva told TreeHugger recently, citing a combination of limited demand and information behind the lackluster local market. In her work giving presentations on global warming with Al Gore's Climate Reality Project, she likewise found a dearth of local examples to which Turkish people could relate.
One of the key goals behind Yeşilist, which launched its English edition last month, is to boost the market for eco-friendly goods -- and consumer trust in reliable claims and certification.
"Every shop in the Spice Bazaar says its products are 'natural," Senyuva said. By contrast, those listed on Yeşilist have to be certified by an independent certification company or produced using other quantifiable sustainable practices such as solar power or greywater recycling.
In addition to its searchable directory of green clothes, personal care products, household and gardening supplies, baby goods, restaurants, organizations, and more, both of Yeşilist's editions feature news and commentary on eco-friendly living, from pollution in the Sea of Marmara to the loneliness of the Turkish vegetarian. Before the holidays, the Turkish version of the site also ran a gift guide of adorable baby clothes, chic purses, and tantalizing edible treats -- all green as can be, of course.
"Green has to be a feel-good thing," said Senyuva, who's also the host of the Istanbul branch of the Green Drinks networking event. "You have to feel good about what you're buying."