Archive for green 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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Minneapolis Green Business Expo

This is my Earth Day plug for a fun evening at the Mill City Museum.

Minneapolis Green Business Expo, 4/21/09, 5:00 - 7:30 p.m. at the Mill City Museum

Come to the Minneapolis Green Business Expo! It is April 21, 5:00 – 7:30 p.m.

* Free admission if you pre-register online by April 20.

* Delicious appetizers; door prizes; cash bar.

* Eco-bags full of goodies and information.

* Your friends and mine will table (50+ exciting vendors tell you how their products will help you go green). Come visit me!

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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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On Being Green at Work

My colleague and I discussed green teams on our way home from a training today – how it’s really important for employees to own “greening” the workplace and come up with their own ideas about ways to save resources.

This green suit by Stacy Adams came from

Today, I discovered three ways work today was not conducive to being green:

1. Having to go to a meeting at a coffee shop that does not serve things in “for here” cups. It’s awkward not to buy something…
2. Having to drive places.
3. Having to pay to park places with exact change. Having to procure said exact change by buying things. Like Kit-Kat bars. Which I eat. And then dispose of the remains.

Of course, there are three ways work is conducive to being green:

1. Paying for a good portion of a bus pas as an employee benefit.
2. Having a refrigerator and microwave in the break room.
3. Providing reusable cups, silverware, and dishes in the break room.

There are others who have thought about this a lot more than I have:
* Jill Velez from Whole Foods discusses ways to green up the workplace (thanks to Regi for the link!)

* Robin from Green Options shares 5 ways to green your coffee.

* Stephanie Rosenbloom and Michael Barbaro for the NY Times chart Wal-Mart’s rise to the top of the (green business heap?)

In other news, don’t forget to shop at thrift stores. You may just find an $8000 work of art.

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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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Green My Cuisine!

Looking for a certified green restaurant in Alameda, Berkeley, Castro Valley, Emeryville, Fremont, Livermore, Oakland, or San Leandro? Look no further than

“Bay Area restaurants become Certified as Green Restaurants by committing to the following “earth-friendly” environmental and conservation measures:
First, they bring their restaurant operations into compliance with all environmental regulations.
Second, these restaurants adopt pollution prevention and resource conservation practices that are designed to reduce energy and water consumption, reduce food waste, and employ more environmentally-friendly products in their operations. “

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