Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Green Opportunities in Volatile Times

Although the current economic climate may appear bleak, there is a silver lining to these dark economic clouds. All sectors are not being effected equally. While some are experiencing difficulties others are enjoying significant growth. A recent AdAge article by Abbey Klaassen reports that despite the gloom permeating other sectors, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft enjoyed earnings of approximately 30% this last quarter.

In difficult economic times, where are the opportunities to be found? Conventional wisdom suggests that higher income earners are better insulated against economic downturns. Lower and midlevel income earners tend to be more adversely impacted by economic slowdowns. A recent Ad Age article by Beth Snyder Bulik cites research that suggests that in the last few years there has been double digit growth in households with incomes exceeding $100,000 per year. But research also suggests that even affluent consumers are reducing spending, as a consequence, some of this group may be looking for bargains which translate to strategies as simple as price promotions. This growing affluent class is more diverse and younger than ever before. In the same article, Bulik points out that there are “some at the rarefied levels of wealth who are still spending at the same or increased levels. It may take more targeting or research, but there is evidence that certain segments are still indulging.” Targeted marketing efforts can be a bulwerk against weakening consumer confidence.

Identifying opportunities amongst the affluent, involves understanding their personalities and traits. Such an approach enables marketers to identify groups who continue to spend when others may not. AdAge has integrated the findings of demographic research and psychographic studies to define the personalities and traits of the affluent:

BUTTERFLIES
This group is made up of baby boomers and has the highest average income of the five personalities. This group is changing from “self-indulgent spenders to more socially responsible consumers.” This group is of particular interest to all who are seeking to market Green products and services.

LUXURY ASPIRERS
Their incomes are below the average, but their spending on luxury goods is above average for the five personalities. This group is highly materialistic and they aspire for even greater upward mobility, they are determined consumers of luxury brands.

X-FLUENTS
This group tends to live in the downtown area of major cities, they want the “best of the best”. They are the youngest of the five personalities (the majority are between 24 – 34 years old). This group will not be deterred by economic slowdowns. Their spending on luxury goods was considerably higher than average.

HOUSE-RICH
Although the sub-prime mortgage crisis has eroded the value of homes in America, the wealthiest 10% of Americans live in homes that hold low or no mortgages. “The spring 2008 study found that those who did have the lowest level of equity in their homes were least likely to make major purchases this year and also more likely to decrease spending on a variety of smaller-ticket” items.

SOCIAL MEDIA-SAVVY
Research from the Society for New Communications Research indicates that when buying new products, households earning more than $100,000 per year use a wider range of more sophisticated internet tools and search options than those earning less than $30,000 per year. The later tended to simply use and believe customer information the corporate website along with popular social sites like YouTube, MySpace and Facebook. Online customer care is very important for this group as it informs their choice of companies and brands.

However, it is important to note that market opportunities for Green products and services are by no means restricted to the affluent. Some reasonably contend that the proliferation of Green will present numerous opportunities for a large Green collar workforce, and in the process, provide a welcome boost to the American economy. Van Jones, founder of Green for All, an Oakland, California based organization that promotes green job training, was quoted in Newsweek saying that most of the new jobs will be in “weatherizing homes and offices, installing solar panels and retrofitting factories with ener­gy-efficient technologies…This is not an eco-elite, eco-chic movement for people who can afford to buy hybrid cars and shop at Whole Foods. The green economy to come is going to be a broad-shouldered, mass movement of American labor." We are moving beyond simple paradigms which ask us to make facile choices. As quoted in the same article, Dave Foster, executive director of the Blue Green Alliance makes the point clearly "It's not a question of jobs or the environment, it’s both or neither."

In the U.S., the two democratic candidates have stated they can add 5 million Green Jobs to the economy. This translates to opportunities in Green job training, and industries that are associated with or contribute to efficiency and alternative energy research and implementation.

In a Newsweek article entitled New Green Jobs, advocates indicate that they believe “green jobs can revitalize whole communities.” Jason Walsh of Green for All says, "With the right investments, the re­sulting green economy can generate a lot of good jobs at a far greater scale than a pollu­tion-based economy."

Successful online marketing of Green products, can be broadly separated into six groups. Specialists who are devoted to Green products or generalists who provide a submenu of Green products. Others serve as Green directories, shopping guides and product search engines.

As we will discuss in a forthcoming article, there are many Green investment opportunities. Stellar performers like FSLR earned a return of over 700% last year. But a note of caution is warranted, not all that appears Green is golden. Investors are encouraged to research claims beyond a company prospectus. As reported by LOHAS a new study released by the Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN) indicates that “many company's are doing a poor job informing their shareholders about the market risks associated with their products.” Other investments may be profitable but some are at odds with the ethics of Green. As I reviewed in a previous article, biofuels have spiked the value of agricultural commodities and earned significant returns for commodity speculators, but they have also helped to drive up the price of subsistence food and thereby increase world hunger.

There are other benefits to difficult economic times. In boom times it is easy to ride the crest of the wave, periods of economic slowdown, force companies to focus on what they do best. The Green businesses that thrive will likely be those for whom Green is more than just an effective marketing vehicle.

Green opportunities are an eclectic grouping encompassing both methods and materials, spanning the gamut from energy generation to non-toxic cleaning products. They incorporate goals like sustainability, cradle to cradle design, source reduction, viability and green innovation. Alternative energy and Co2 reduction may be the most important widely known application of Green, but there are many other opportunities including Green building, environmentally preferred purchasing, Green chemistry and Green nanotechnology. Green opportunities add value and successful Green opportunities focus on fundamentals like meeting demand, product quality, and effective marketing.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Profiting from Green

Green’s coming of age is the overriding theme of our times. Green is huge and growing. This is illustrated by the fact that Green received $5.18 billion in venture capital funding in 2007. With $41 billion in assets, collaborations like the Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN) demonstrate that investors are serious about Green.

In her book Green Marketing: Opportunity for Innovation, Jacquelyn A. Ottman says “Marketers that take the time now to court the deepest green consumers with truly innovative solutions to environmental concerns will be the ones who reap the biggest future opportunities… Look at those businesses at the forefront of the green trend and see a deeper characteristic than just greened-up products or ads that makes them at once environmental and societal leaders as well as profitable: green leaders are driven by more than short-term financial goals. They are motivated by a double bottom line, a bottom line that recognizes the potential for business to affect societal change as well as create economic wealth. A business that at the end of the day is measured by profits as much as its contribution to human potential and the harmony of the company's objectives with other living beings.”

Green is more than just an innovative business concept; a Green business considers the implications of its actions in the wider context. Green is not only about the environment it is about beliefs and values. Burgeoning environmental awareness is feeding a cultural identity based on integrity, idealism and compassion. Profiting from Green implies fidelity to Green ethics. Soaring commodities prices may earn returns for commodity speculators, but they have also helped to drive up the price of food, thereby contributing to world hunger. Profit is only one of the goals of a Green business. As part of a cohesive strategy they must strive to reduce their ecological footprint and function in a socially responsible fashion.

According to an Indie Breakfast Club report on talks given at Lohas Forum 11 by Chris Van Dyke (CEO of Nau) and Joel Makower (founder and author of Greenbiz) , Makower was quoted as saying successful Green businesses have “a comprehensive understanding, a bold vision, benchmarks for success and a desire to collaborate." And Van Dyke said successful Green companies seamlessly weave “a triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) into their DNA”

There are many ways to deliver on a Green promise and communicate Green Value, from eco-labeling to a product offering that employs carbon offsets. Each business needs to scrutinize it's own activities and customer base to develop the most effective and appropriate Green strategies. Successful Green businesses must have vision to see the wider implications of their operations. Green marketing takes the long view and requires patience to realize long term strategies. Green companies do not wait for Green legislation, they have the foresight to proactively address issues.

Jacquelyn A. Ottman’s conception of a successful Green business projects the core values inherent in the Green ethic. She envisions a Green future created by visionaries who marry their competitive spirit to social activism. She sees new products and services creating new industries and more inclusive work and management styles. This new generation of Green visionaries will augment quality and profits through increasingly efficient processes, design and marketing.

Ottman's book Green Marketing: Opportunity for Innovation describes it this way: "The most successful green companies operate holistically...they don't risk disappointing their customers or shaking their confidence.”

How do you profit from Green? You profit by having a quality product with a solid demand that has the added advantage of being Green. Green must be sewn into the fabric of your business culture. Green branding adds value and taps into a revolutionary surge, but it should not stand on its own. Profiting from Green entails not only strategies and tactics but beliefs and values. Going Green means going deep, Green business is good for people, planet and profits.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day Special: Green Blueprint

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have estimated that 600 million people will go hungry because of biofuels. To avoid such calamities, a blueprint for change is urgently needed. World food prices are contributing to the crisis of global hunger. Violent food riots are breaking out from Mexico to Pakistan and India, and in Africa, in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, and Senegal.

A recent Time World article reports:“The push to produce biofuels as an alternative to hydrocarbons is further straining food supplies, especially in the U.S., where generous subsidies for ethanol have lured thousands of farmers away from growing crops for food.”

Time Magazine, April 7, 2008, indicated that "diversions [to biofuels] raise food prices so the poor will eat less." That's the reason a U.N. food expert recently called agrofuels a "crime against humanity."

Michael Grunwald’s article The Clean Energy Scam makes the point that "ethanol increases global warming, destroys forests, and inflates food prices. Deforestation results from a chain reaction so vast its subtle: U.S. farmers are selling one-fifth of their corn to ethanol production, so U.S. soybean farmers are switching to corn, so Brazilian soybean farmers are expanding into cattle pastures, so Brazilian cattlemen are displaced to the Amazon. It's the remorseless economics of commodities markets."

From the same article, "'The price of soybeans goes up,' laments Sandro Menezes, a biologist with Conservation International in Brazil, 'and the forest comes down.' The basic problem is that the Amazon is worth more deforested than it is intact. Backed by billions in investment capital, this alarming phenomenon is replicating itself around the world. Indonesia has bulldozed and burned so much wilderness to grow palm oil trees for biodiesel that it is ranked among the worlds top carbon emitters."

"In December, President Bush signed a bipartisan energy bill that will dramatically increase support to the industry while mandating 36 billion gallons (136 billion L) of biofuel by 2022. This will provide a huge boost to grain markets. The result is that biofuels increase demand for crops, which boosts prices, which drives agricultural expansion, which eats forests."

"As stated by Homero Pereira, a congressman who is also the head of Brazil's Mato Grosso's farm bureau: 'If you don't want us to tear down the [Amazon] forest, you better pay us to leave it up!' The market drives behavior, so without incentives to prevent deforestation, the Amazon is doomed. Biofuels aren't part of the solution at all. They're part of the problem."

The growth of biofuels is being driven by inept leaderships and unbridled market forces. As the issue of agricultural commodities demonstrates, without responsible stewardship, free markets can undermine Green and directly contribute to global starvation. Never more than today have we been in need of comprehensive strategic planning that encompasses international standards, legislation, and enforcement.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon put it this way, “More than ever before, solutions must bridge the local and the global. Hunger in Africa will be solved partly by helping farmers get the improved seeds, water pumps and soil nutrients they need for a good harvest. It also requires the traditional U.N. development effort--coupled with a new attention to the environment. Since problems spill across borders, security anywhere depends on sustainable development everywhere."

Bryan Walsh’s article Why Green is the New Red, White And Blue is nothing short of a call to war. He is amongst those who advocate an aggressive, ambitious, and effective plan that would leave the U.S. both environmentally safe and economically sound. "Forget single focus programs like the Manhattan Project or the Apollo program. Think instead of overnight conversion of the world war ll era industrial sector into a vast machine capable of churning out 60,000 tanks and 300,000 planes, an effort that not only did not bankrupt the U.S. but instead made it rich and powerful beyond its imagining and --oh, yes--won the war in the process."

Walsh continues, "[We need a] coherent strategy that mixes short term solutions with farsighted goals, combines government activism with private-sector enterprise and blends pragmatism with ambition, the U.S. can, without major damage to the economy, help halt the worst effects of climate change and ensure the survival of its way of life for future generations. Money will do some of the work, but what's needed most is will."

Ban Ki moon, says "As we embark on this great undertaking, we might recall the historic importance of American leadership in this fight. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy told the U.N. General Assembly, 'The effort to improve the conditions of man...is not a task for the few. It is the task of all--acting alone, acting in groups, acting in the United Nations. For plague and pestilence, plunder and pollution, the hazards of nature and the hunger of children are the foes of every nations. The earth, the sea and the air are the concern of every nation. And science, technology and education can be the ally of every nation.' Let us heed that sound advice."

According to Walsh, putting a charge on carbon emissions (cap and trade system) is the most important part of a blueprint to contain climate change. "The effect is the overall carbon levels fall, and there is even money to be made by being greener than the next guy. That drives investment and research dollars into renewable energy and efficiency. Put a price on carbon and suddenly the alternatives look a lot better."

The Lieberman-Warner (bill) destined to reach the floor of the US Senate this spring, "calls for cutting carbon from most sources to 2005 by 2012 and then 70% below 2005 by 2050...The principal rap against cap and trade proposals is that they would be a drag on the economy. A new study by the National Association of Manufacturers, an industry trade group, estimates that Lieberman-Warner would cost the US up to 4 million jobs by 2030 while eroding US GDP by up to $669 billion per year. It's true that there will be costs associated with any carbon pricing plan; 'You want a clean environment you have to pay for it' says Peter Fusaro, founder of the green investment group Global Change Associates."

"An EPA study found that US GDP would grow just 1% less from 2010 to 2030 under Lieberman-Warner than without it--and that doesn't take into account the potential economic benefits. In an April study, the International Monetary Fund concluded that smart carbon-cutting policies could contain climate change without seriously harming the global economy."

"More than half of American states are committed to or considering mandatory carbon caps. To see why a serious cap and trade system doesn't have to come at the expense of economic growth, take a look at California. In 2006 Governor Schwarzenegger signed the most aggressive carbon regulation in the country (law AB 32), which mandates that the state's greenhouse gas emission be cut to 1990 levels by 2020, a reduction of 25%. A 2006 report by the University of California, Berkeley, concluded that the law would actually boost the state's GDP by $60 billion and create 17,000 jobs by 2020 as the state's entrepreneurial tech culture churns out new companies to meet the need for energy efficiency."

"While energy intensive industries like cement-making may indeed be driven out, they could be replaced by clean-tech start-ups like Solar-city, which has become in a couple of years the state's fastest-growing solar installer. Nationwide, the American Solar Energy Society estimates there are already 8.5 million jobs in the clean-tech sector, which it projects could grow to 40 million by 2030 with the right projects. Past predictions that environmental laws like the Clean Air Act would decimate California's economy, however, proved false. Darbee of PG&E estimates that the state's green policies have eliminated the need for 24 power plants over the past 30 years--a process called 'demand destruction.' or cutting carbon before it's even born."

"Recent research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) shows that the US could slash the projected growth in the world's energy demand by at least half by 2020 just by taking advantage of existing opportunities to cut waste. Think of simple, costless changes like turning off the lights in offices at night--'that's money on the table,' in the words of efficiency guru Amoryo Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute."

"MGI says annual industry wide investments of $170 billion per year in improvements like green buildings and more efficient cars could yield an additional $900 billion per year in savings by 2020. More important, the emissions cuts resulting from better efficiency could deliver up to half the carbon reductions needed to keep warming at no more than 2 degrees Celsius hotter than the present--considered to be an upper safe level."

"Japan's Smart Top Runner program takes the best model in the marketplace and sets its performance as the industry requirement. Similar rules could be applied to architecture. Since nearly half of US greenhouse gas emissions channel through buildings, there is a sizable opportunity for savings if the government mandated green design rather than depending on architects and builders to adopt it voluntarily. And if utilities were able to institute variable pricing--charging customers more for power during periods of peak demand--there would be enormous improvements."

Ban Ki-moon expressed his faith in innovative solutions when he said "We have begun to appreciate more fully how the world’s dazzling know how can solve the seemingly unsolvable when we view our problems through the right perspective. 'What we need to do over the next 10 to 20 years is redesign our relationship with nature and energy.' says Nicholar Parkere, chairman of the Cleantech Group, a green research organization. Venture capital funding in the clean tech sector hit $5.18 billion in 2007, up 44% from the year before.'There are staggering things that technology can do, but we need to make this happen in as short a time as possible' says Jack Newman of Amyris Biotechnologies. "There may be nothing like free enterprise to unleash innovation, but there's nothing like government to put a whip hand to the process."

Walsh continues "A sustained battle against climate change will hit wallets hard, absorbing perhaps 2% to 3% of US GDP a year for some time, according to energy expert Henry Lee at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, though unchecked warming could end global prosperity. But think of it as an investment: that money, if matched by action internationally, can reduce emissions radically over the next half-century, contain warming and lead to a postcarbon world. Think tanks and war colleges have shown that the outcome of any crisis is usually determined by one dominant global player that has the innovators who can churn out the technology, the financiers who can back it, and the diplomatic clout to pull the rest of the planet along."

The rising cost of fossil fuels spur greater energy efficiency and increase the viability of alterative energy sources. However, without appropriate guidance and stewardship, market forces can drive commodity prices and contribute to starvation and deforestation. Comprehensive blueprints for managing environmental policies must factor market forces if Green is to be sustainable.

Balancing environmentalism with economic growth requires the right mix of environmental measures, scientific research, and entrepreneurial culture. A viable Green blueprint is an overwhelming and ambitious project requiring government research and development dollars, judicious farsighted legislation, efficiency standards, and rigorous enforcement.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Communicating Green Value

As reported by LOHAS, the 2008 Green Gap Survey conducted by Cone LLC and The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship indicated that 39% of Americans are preferentially buying Green, but only 22% understand key concepts employed in environmental marketing.

GREENBUZZ executive editor Joel Makower says, “[C]onsumers are confused about shopping green, and aren't willing to pay more or otherwise sacrifice to do so.” Some of this confusion can be attributed to the specialized Green nomenclature that has emerged. For example, ESA reports the word "biodiversity" does not resonate with the general public, and many people confuse it with a government program.

According to the ESA's Ecoservices, “Most believe that we have a responsibility to maintain a clean and healthy environment for our families and for the future generations…[However] recent focus groups indicate that the public underestimates the degree to which human actions are responsible for the rapid loss of species and their habitats blaming nature instead.”

An effective communications strategy responds to the needs of consumers by providing informational resources in the most commonly used modalities. The Green Gap Survey demonstrates that many Americans are accessing product information online. 54% access information directly through company websites; 51% go through a third-party website; 48% employ a search engine; and 45% access information via product packaging. Despite broad commonalities within the Green buying community, it is crucial to know your target demographic and tailor your message accordingly.

Be precise, use accessible language, and explain terms. Concentrate on clearly communicating key messages. General claims like ‘environmental friendliness’ should be replaced with specific claims and quantitative impacts. The Cone LLC Survey indicates that "70% of Americans say quantifying the actual environmental impact of a product or service is influential in their purchasing decisions."

The Green Gap Survey indicates that 38% of Americans say they feel informed by Green messaging. Only 14% say environmental messaging makes them either feel cynical or overwhelmed. These findings also indicate that approximately 30 million Americans “feel empowered or inspired to act.” A Green marketing message must be hopeful and empowering. Give consumers a reason to care, and motivate them to take personal and political action.

This can be accomplished by elucidating the connection between buying into Green and the future stability of the earth. Green offerings afford the consumer an opportunity to make a buying decision that helps to save the planet. The Cone LLC study reveals that "74% of Americans say providing a clear connection between the product/service and the environmental issue (i.e.,a hybrid car and lower emissions) influences their purchasing decisions."

As I discussed in Green Ethics, communicating an ecologically friendly product offering places a premium on earning consumers trust. Enhance credibility by researching the veracity of any claims made. Research conducted by The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship indicates the public is most responsive to marketing messages that are consistent and realistic. “Don't let marketing images send a signal that contradicts the carefully chosen words and facts you use. There are always more environmental improvements that can be made to a product or service, and they are but one piece of a much larger environmental journey for society. Communications that include some sense of context, as well as a ‘work in progress’ tone, will be more credible and less subject to criticism.”

Communicating Green marketing initiatives entails making precise claims, providing quantitative impacts, and explaining the connection between a product or service and the environment. Effective and credible Green communications should be presented as an information resource, with consistent and realistic usage of images, promises, and claims.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Green Marketing Legislation

Companies are being held accountable by an increasingly well informed public. In response, governments are enacting laws to protect the environment. Under these laws corporations are being successfully prosecuted.

In Canada, the Competition Bureau and Canadian Standards Association are planning to release new guidelines on the use of environmental terms. In the wake of a plethora of consumer complaints, eco-friendly statements will have to be supported by data. In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission is reviewing its guidelines for environmental marketing (Green Guides). And the E.U. has adopted a substantial and diverse range of environmental measures aimed at improving the quality of the environment.

In response to these changes and to add value and protect the integrity of their brands, corporations are increasingly implementing Green protocols that meet or exceed the requirements of environmental legislation. However, this can be an involved undertaking, particularly for small business. The complexity of compliance issues related to the U.S. Clean Water Act effectively illustrates this point. Adhering to environmental legislation can prove daunting, and the costs of compliance can be burdensome.

In the U.S., Canada and the E.U., present and forthcoming environmental and marketing legislation provides basic operating guidelines and product standards. These legal guidelines and standards protect and reinforce the integrity of Green brands. But there is a cost associated with compliance. In the U.S., it is estimated that the cost of clean air compliance is between $25 and $50 billion each year. However, compliant corporations can leverage a sustainable marketing position with a broad consumer appeal.

For more detailed information and specific legislation see the COMPLIANCE section in the newly expanded GREEN LINK LIBRARY.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Green Ethics

Green currently has an almost messianic appeal, and for some, as Kinan Malik points out, environmentalism appears to have taken the form of a system of belief:

"...the act of saving the planet has become almost a religious undertaking, and carbon offsetting a form of penance for our fleshly sins. It's a way of assuaging your guilt..."

However, Green is about more than assuaging guilt or reducing carbon footprints. It is a lifestyle associated with high standards of morality, integrity, and trust. This is the essence of a sustainable Green ethic. Conversely, misleading ecological claims dilute the integrity of all Green commerce, and this can be very damaging to an industry that markets its ethics.

Deep Ecological Ethics value all living beings and their ecosystems. This view holds that Green ethics should be post-secular in the sense that they are open to various forms of spirituality, and pluralist in that they encompass the reality of different perspectives.

Despite our differing political and ideological agendas, there is a virtual consensus when it comes to ecological stewardship. Concern for the earth transcends individual experience because the ethics of environmentalism apply to people around the world and across political and religious cultures. At its core, the morality of Green speaks to compassion, and here religious and secular ethics converge.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Green Branding

Like all brands, Green must communicate its promise and then deliver upon it. In addition, branding products with a higher agenda imposes the demands of conforming to rigorous standards. Green Brands operate under the implicit assumption of environmental accountability. Mission driven brands draw upon shared morality, and Green brands connect with their audience through core values like responsibility, honesty, and fairness.

Green brands must support quality products, and environmentally friendly business practices should be positioned as an added benefit rather than a central message. It is important to remember that despite the overwhelming growth of Green, the majority of consumers are not necessarily loyal to eco-labels. Some of those that are interested will make buying decisions based on product quality rather than on eco-friendliness. Therefore, the Green brand must communicate qualities beyond the core values associated with the Green message.

The list of products that benefit from Green branding is extensive, but not all products benefit equally from eco-branding. Although the rewards can be considerable, the commitment required to fulfil the promise of a Green brand is onerous and should not be undertaken lightly.

Consumers punish brands that do not address their values, or that make promises they do not keep. Successful Green brands remain true to their core values.

Regardless of how well customers know or relate to Green, everyone can appreciate an approach that is authentic and genuine. A well articulated Green brand should evoke ties like those with trusted friends and family.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Green's Coming of Age

In 2007 there was unprecedented growth in all things Green, and in 2008 consumer hunger for Green products and services is an ever increasing economic driver. Environmental concerns are stealing headlines and leading the nightly news. With the big box office appeal of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and his Nobel Prize, Green has emerged as the salient theme of our times.

Green business offers consumers an opportunity to buy into the social mission of helping the planet. Green purchases help consumers feel good, assuage fear, and communicate core values. Green business espouses a market identity with broad appeal that capitalizes on widespread social momentum. This is a powerful and persuasive value proposition.

Powered by Baby Boomers, a large and growing customer base is driving the new Green economy. This trend is likely to continue as subsequent generations, Generation Y and Millennium Kids, are even more environmentally aware than their predecessors.

Going Green can improve profitability simply by cutting energy consumption, and companies have a vested interest in communicating business practices and values that appeal to consumers. The rising tide of eco-press amounts to free marketing and reinforces the Green message.

Green has become a global social phenomenon. Green industries are now tapping into multibillion-dollar markets, and the potential for growth is staggering.