Archive for business

Easier Being Green

So today, I heard Joel Makower of forecast the future of green business. I heard about the importance of communicating green efforts, and the ways in which businesses are good – or not so good – at broadcasting their “random acts of greenness.” 

But that’s not what I want to talk about! Makower displayed a slide of Kermit the Frog, then explained that the search phrase, “Easy being green,” results in millions of results on Google. And yet, if it’s so easy to be green, asks Makower, why are businesses having such a hard time strategically greening their operations and marketing themselves as eco-friendly companies?

Then a scary thing happened. Makower started showing slides of articles and BLOGS called “easy being green.” Thankfully, my “easier” saved me, and my blog did not make it on to the hot seat. I do think, however, the ball is in my court to explain what exactly I think I mean by calling this blog “easier being green.”

When I started writing in the fall of 2007, I was, shall we say, pretty green about the whole “green” thing – as in, I was not an environmental studies major, and I certainly had never protested the building of anything on wetlands. I’d been a vegetarian for years, mostly because I didn’t like the taste of meat, but I left all my cell phone and computer chargers plugged in overnight. As I started reading about “green” for my job, I learned that “green” is a lot of common sense – a different kind of common sense than traditional capitalism, but not much different – just smarter.

My goal is not to gloss over the difficulty in being “green,” or in figuring out exactly what “green” is. Quantifying your electricity, water, waste and carbon savings is tough enough, but that’s not even the whole picture. How sustainable is your product? How toxic are the materials used? What does the supply chain look like? Being “green” is not easy. I know this. In my day job, I call Minnesotan men in greater Minnesota to try to help them green their businesses (I say men because 90% of the women I talk to are secretaries). The ratio of positive responses to angry ones is pretty bad.

I think what I mean by “easier being green” is “I think it’s easier being a little bit more green than you are right now,” and “It’s easier to become a little bit more green than you think.” Green is tainted by finger pointing and claimed by the elite. Green in the past has meant wealthy – activist – Marin. But the tides are turning. A green mindset is easy. Achieving green perfection is less easy. But we human beings are smart. We’ll get there.

In de-mystifying “green” by making it easier, I hope to democratize it. That’s all.


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Go Green, Make Green – The World Sees (again) That Environmentalism is Good for Business

We’re all familiar with the idea that resource efficiency is good for business.  A little over a week ago, Business Week published “10 Ways to Cut Business Costs” (with a nod to Jennifer Kaplan). My little miserly heart beats quickly seeing that #1 is “Reduce energy use” and pay less for utilities. Corollary to that, check your energy bill to be sure they added the right number of zeros.

Green jobs are good for the economy. Green jobs maven Van Jones  joined the Obama Administration Council on Environmental Quality this last week, no doubt to ensure that good, green collar jobs are a priority for the next few years.

Moreover, green companies survive better. Last month, management consulting firm A. T. Kearney found that green companies outperformed others by 15% (with a nod to Olga Orda’s post).

Not only are green companies more resilient, they’re more profitable. With the fading economy, Paul Smith (and others) sees the opportunity for ecopreneurs to make money by chasing consumer demand for green products and services.

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Responsible Shopper!

Responsible Shopper helps you make environmentally preferable purchasing decisions.

image from Horizon Magazine.

A program from Co-op America with business profiles and tips, Responsible Shopper gives you some of the information you need to make more informed purchasing decisions. Look what they have to say about Target, Cub Foods’ Parent Company, Supervalu, or Toyota.

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Does your office have a lot of old office chairs?
Some nonprofit wants it!
Are you near San Francisco or Los Angeles?
iReuse will take it!

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Green Absence Explained

I fell off the face of the planet for a week, but at least I have something to show for it!

Going green, saving green, Mike Coit, (c) 2008 Press Democrat

Your normal blogging service to continue ASAP.

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State of Green Business

Joel Makower and released the State of Green Business report this past week.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the report cites successes in clean-tech investments and reductions in toxic emissions as the biggest environmental achievements – but finds that most of businesses’ efforts haven’t made much of an impact yet.

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