Monday, February 28, 2011

Social Media Marketing and Environmental Sustainability

As we reviewed in a preceding post, social media can be used as a weapon against unsustainable businesses, but it can also be a powerful tool to help companies to engage in conversations with an environmental theme.

Social media sites have changed the way we communicate, not only by connecting people, but by providing valuable promotion opportunities. With research showing that Americans now expect companies to have a social media presence, companies cannot afford to avoid this marketing channel.

Most leading companies employ social media, however, small and mid-sized companies are actually better candidates for social media because they are more agile than larger companies.

Research conducted in 2009 by Minneapolis-based Russell Herder and Ethos Business Law surveyed management, marketing and human resources executives within companies across the US. This survey revealed that the most popular Social Media Channels are Facebook (80%), Twitter (66%), YouTube (55%), LinkedIn (49%) and Blogs (43%).

In association with efforts like search engine marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising (PPC), and online branding, social media sites like the ones listed above can be an important part of green marketing.

Social media sites provide opportunities to network with those with shared interest and link up relevant causes. Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are the largest and best known social media sites, but some social networking sites focus exclusively on green issues (e.g., Greenwala, WiserEarth and MakeMeSustainable).

Posting articles, ads, updates, pictures and videos on social media sites drive traffic. However, such posting does not help search engine rankings because backlinks from sites like Facebook are not given any value by search engine crawlers. For SEO purposes it is important to get sites to post links to your site. This can be achieved by asking site owners to post your link, but one of the best ways to achieve this is to publish organic content.

Join green groups, and explore green apps and events. Check out LinkedIn's events calendar and connect with other green business people. Blog about green issues, customize your profile with green widgets, videos and updates. Join up with causes, on Facebook add a causes app that allows you to raise awareness and help raise funds.

The best social media campaigns avoid over-selling and are focused on organic content. A step by step roll out is usually preferable to an all at once approach. Social media is a conversation not a monologue, so it is best to listen much more than you sell. Successful campaigns employ frequent posts, involving items of interest to a defined target market. These posts should encourage a dialogue through comments and a forum for conversation.

Encouraging participation is one of the keys to using social media effectively. One of the easiest ways to foster participation is to start a contest or offer coupon codes with enticing value. Self interest is always the most compelling reason for people to act, but a social media campaign should also provide incentives to share with others. This can sometimes be achieved by offering an environmentally redeeming message.

It is not enough to be environmentally sustainable, organizations must also effectively communicate this effort. A great example of an organization using social media comes from the Co-operators Youth Conference for Sustainability. Its success can be attributed to several factors including the ability to share stories online, proven learning materials and a high profile partnership with David Suzuki. A survey produced by Hewitt on employee engagement, indicated that 94% of Co-operaters participants believe the company is socially and environmentally responsible.

Enterprises that are using social media promotion to promote their brand and serve the environment include the Pepsi Co. Social media is not only for communicating it is also a powerful technology for market research. According to ReadWriteWeb, in 2011 companies are harnessing the power of the social media to “inform strategic decisions, and execute on the organization’s objectives, marketing plans, product roadmaps and more.”

There are many examples of how Enterprises and organizations are using social media for external marketing, but many are also using social media internally for collaborative learning and/or performance and productivity improvement.

Online social networking is sewn into the fabric of our daily lives, and companies that promote their green initiatives with social media are doing good for the planet while engaging in effective marketing communications.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Growth of Social Media as an Increasingly Important Vehicle for the Environment

The rapid growth of social media has made it a revolutionary force for prosocial change. Facebook is a great illustration of this rapid growth. In less than seven years Facebook has accrued more than 500 million users. This gives Facebook the distiction of having more users than the population of any country in the world except China and India.

Organizations of all sizes are incorporating social media into their marketing programs. According to Kiwano, 9 in 10 organizations use social media in Canada and thirty-one percent say social media plays a major role in public communications around their brand.

There are many social media campaigns that have benefited the environment including 10/10/10, Earth Day, Earth Hour and WWF's Online Event. These events relied on social media tools to facilitate massive public participation.

Nowhere is this growth more evident than during the most recent social media week conference. In 2011, the fourth social media week was celebrated between February 7-11. The two year old social media week conference has become one of one of the world’s most important platforms to explore emerging trends in social and mobile media.

Here are the nine cities took part in the first social media week conference of 2011, Rome; São Paulo; Toronto; Paris; San Francisco; London; Hong Kong; Istanbul; and New York. Around the world there were over 1,800 speakers and 600 events. More than 30,000 participants were present, an additional 80,000 unique viewers watching events live via Livestream.com and nearly 200,000 unique visitors engaging through Socialmediaweek.org. Real-time conversations included more than 75,000 tweets shared during the week, which created almost 300 million impressions in the social sphere, according to social media monitoring company Sysomos.

“This year’s Social Media Week was a truly global phenomenon—showcasing borderless brands and communications, via the power of social media,” said Bonin Bough, Global Director of Social and Digital Media for PepsiCo. “We are proud to have been an integral partner—with PepsiCo employees contributing to discussions and idea exchanges on three continents and there, demonstrating the depth and breadth to which digital media is permeating our company.”

“Social Media Week is more than an event, it’s a movement,” said Nokia’s Craig Hepburn, Global Director, Digital. “Such an innovative event that taps into the human networks of people across the world and encourages sharing and best practice will move us forward faster and more effectively than traditional event silos.”

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.


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Friday, February 25, 2011

The Revolutionary Power of Social Media Driving Corporate Environmental Sustainability

Businesses are increasingly reckoning with the revolutionary power of social and mobile media. New media is impacting our lives and changing the way we connect and communicate. In places like Egypt and Tunisia, social media has demonstrated itself to be a formidable force that is even capable of toppling governments.

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, give individuals and businesses the ability to correspond with vast audiences.

There are many examples of social media's power to change corporate behavior. With the help of social media, environmentalists managed to reduce illegal logging of rosewood and other hardwoods in Madagascar. When a French company called Delmas continued with their shipments of illegally harvested rosewood, thousands of messages were directed at the company and the French government. This forced Delmas to cancel a major rosewood shipment (worth between $20-80 million), they then put an end to their rosewood business a few weeks later.

No one knows the power of social media better than Greenpeace. They have managed to force Nestle to adopt more sustainable business practices that will lessen deforestation in Indonesia. The scope and influence of new media are hard to resist. When Nestle tried to launch a misinformation campaign, social media users unearthed a multitude of Nestle's questionable business practices including the illegal extraction of groundwater in Brazil.

According to a BBC documentary, pressure from individuals is causing big corporations to flex their supply chain muscles. Food and cosmetics manufacturer Unilever dropped Sinar Mas Agro Resources and SMART for clearing rainforests and carbon-dense peatlands. Nestle, Kraft, Burger King, and General Mills have all followed Unilever's lead.

Pressure brought to bear through social media is driving corporations to cleanup their supply chains. Some businesses are responding to this pressure and changing the way they source commodities. Cargill, is now pressuring SMART's parent company, Golden Agri Resources, to clean up its operations. In the summer of 2009, a Greenpeace report on deforestation in the Amazon, caused Nike to make their supply chains more sustainable.

The World Bank suspended lending to all oil palm plantation projects, after the Wilmar Group, was found to be environmentally irresponsible and Cadbury New Zealand stopped using palm oil altogether after consumer complaints. This kind of public pressure has not only arrested the clearing of land in these areas, it has strengthened the market for sustainable palm.

The ability to foster change proves that social media has come of age. Social media is a powerful communication and coordination tool. As long as environmental groups accurately present the facts regarding a companies environmental problems, they are performing a highly beneficial public service.

Individuals now have the power to make businesses cleanup their supply chains, and adopt more environmentally friendly approaches to business. As the targets of these campaigns know, social media can seriously damage a firm’s reputation.

Companies must now acknowledge that the revolutionary power of new media make the risks associated with irresponsible business practices a serious threat.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Next: The Growth of Social Media as an Increasingly Important Vehicle for the Environment / Social Media Marketing and Environmental Sustainability


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Thursday, February 24, 2011

China's Green Innovation and the Challenge for America

The United States is losing its competitive edge against an emerging economic superpower. China is on track to surpass US gross domestic product in 2020 and it is increasingly competing with world renowned American innovation.

China has historically been a global leader in innovation. They are the first nation to invent a wealth of crucial technologies including the magnetic compass, gunpowder, cast iron, paper, printing and the wheelbarrow. The Chinese also invented technologies involving mechanics, hydraulics, and mathematics. But that was many centuries ago, and these technologies were used by the West to establish their technological dominance. Now China is using western technology to grow its economy, but they are also re-emerging as a leading center of innovation.

China is advancing its innovative capabilities by employing a uniquely Chinese approach and by looking to advanced countries for inspiration. The Chinese are now dominating the world in wind turbines, solar panels and high-speed rail.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences’ (CAS) goals for 2020 include environmental innovation. China is planning to invest $1.5 trillion in strategic areas. This includes alternative fuel cars, alternative energy, high speed rail, energy efficiency and other environmentally friendly technologies.In the annual report to the National People's Congress in March 2010, Premier Wen Jiabao called for "pushing forward with building a smart grid". Over the next five years, State Grid Corp of China, plans to build an "informationised, automatic and interactive" grid with ultra high voltage power lines.When it comes to energy, China has demonstrated a commitment to hydro, wind, gas and nuclear. China has already surpassed many of the targets it set in 2007. The government is expected to unveil new more ambitious targets for alternative energy in the next few months.

China plans to build 13,000 km (8,078 miles) of high-speed rail lines by 2012, more than the rest of the world combined. The country plans to invest 2 trillion yuan in railways by 2020, while building a fleet of state-of-the-art trains.

China also controls 97 percent of the world's rare earth minerals including lithium, a metal that is crucial to the development of the batteries used in electric cars.

Chinese innovation is not limited to cleantech. China is now the number two patent filer in the world. The Chinese are poised to be global leaders in space and DNA-sequencing. China is also working on the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope. China is emerging as a world leader in everything from palaeontology to nanotechnology and in 2011, China will consolidate its position as the second-largest national source of scientific papers.

As outlined in his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama wants to put more emphasis on innovation and education. Obama is not alone, national leaders like Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan share the view that innovation is the key to economic competitiveness

Adam Segal of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and author of the new book: Advantage: How American Innovation Can Overcome the Asian Challenge, argues that China is rapidly gaining the advantage in hardware innovation, which includes things like papers and patents. But according to Segal, China cannot compete in what he calls software innovation. Software includes the political, social and cultural understandings that help move ideas from labs to the market place.

However, China is also striving to innovate at the political, social and cultural levels. On February 19, 2011, at an event that was attended by the leaders of China's government, military, state-owned enterprises, financial institutions and institutions of higher learning, Chinese President Hu Jintao called for innovations to improve social management.

America is still the undisputed global leader in innovation and Segal argues that America is well positioned to take advantage of global innovation. "I think innovation is clearly at the top of that list and I also think that it is important that people realize this is an area of strength for us. If you look at how innovation is changing, it is becoming more globalized, spread around the world to all of these newly emerging science and technology centers in China and India. And the U.S., in fact, is well positioned to take advantage of those. We have extensive connections to all of those places through alumni networks, university collaboration and corporate networks. I think the U.S. is better positioned than any country to take advantage of this kind of new global system of science and technology. So I think it's important for the president to point to our strengths and some of the things we need to do as we move forward."

However, without federal government support, America is destined to fall behind. China is one of the world’s largest investors in research and development, their spending on R&D has climbed by 19% per year since 1995 to reach US$30 billion in 2005.

For the United States to maintain its edge in innovation, Segal believes the US will need to keep investing in institutions like the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. But these investments will need to survive Republicans who seem intent on cutting into the fabric of American innovation. If the US is to compete with China it will need to ward off Republican cuts.

Source: Global Warming is Real

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Fate of the Democrats is Tied to Green Jobs

Obama laid out his clean energy plan in his State of the Union address. The President indicated that he would like to see 80 percent of US power coming from “clean” sources by 2035, including renewables.

Federal incentives help renewable energy to grow and creates jobs. In the US, government incentives would enable the country to compete against Europe and China, where governments have provided lavish incentives and strong financial support.

The federal government along with many state governments see green technology as an engine of economic growth and job creation. There are millions of jobs and trillions in revenue emerging from the green economy. Fast-growing clean technology is the only sector that can offer such a significant number of new jobs.

As President Obama said, "there is perhaps no industry with more potential to create jobs now and growth in the coming years, than clean energy."

State regulations have helped the renewable energy industry in California and other states helped the industry establish itself.

As China and other nations are investing massively in renewable energy, it would be disastrous for America to ignore this colossal opportunity.

The Democrats need to see an improvement in the jobless rate for political reasons. Like the Democrats, Obama's political future is tied to green jobs, as no President has ever been reelected with an unemployment rate above 8 percent.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

State Green Jobs Initiatives Need Federal Legislation

Green jobs are an important part of the President's strategy to get people working all across America. Regional initiatives demonstrate the effectiveness of capitalizing on the growth of green jobs. These initiatives have created jobs in states like New York, California and Missouri.

A program called Green Jobs/Green NY has the goal of retrofitting 1 million homes to make them more energy efficient. This program offers incentives to homeowners and provides free home-performance energy audits through approved contractors, a value of around $400, and up to $13,000 in low-interest loans (3.49 percent) to finance improvements. These improvements offer projected savings of roughly $1.20 for each dollar spent.

The cleantech industry is also providing green jobs throughout California, even in places like the San Joaquin Valley which has not benefited from previous booms. According to a new study [PDF] from by UC Merced Professor Dr. Shawn Kantor, renewable energy projects could bring more than 100,000 jobs to the area in the next few years. In California employment in clean energy grew 36% from 1995 to 2008, while San Joaquin Valley employment increased by 48% over the same period.

The San Joaquin Valley is expected to produce 10% of California’s renewable energy within the next ten years. According to Tom Cotter, Central California sales manager for Real Goods Solar and member of the California Business Alliance for a Green Economy, “These jobs are coming to California because of clean energy policies that make us a leader in the nation,”

Missouri is trying to combat high unemployment rates with green jobs. Over the last few years, as the overall unemployment climbed, green jobs kept growing across Missouri.

However, states need federal action to capitalize on the growth of the green economy. A new report from the Apollo Alliance shows that green jobs could proliferate if the US implemented strong clean energy and climate change policies. The “How to Keep Creating Clean Energy Jobs in Missouri” report finds that the right energy policies could create up to 88,000 jobs in Missouri alone by 2030.

The report indicates that the federal government needs to enact the right policies. This begins with a bill called the Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology (IMPACT) Act, which would support domestic manufacturing of cleantech and provide good paying jobs.

An energy standard of 25 percent renewable energy by 2025 could create up to 23,000 manufacturing jobs in Missouri by 2025. The report finds that improved vehicle efficiency standards paired with investments in domestic advanced vehicle manufacturing could create up to 6,000 new jobs in Missouri by 2020.

A cap on carbon emissions combined with strong energy-efficiency standards would create more than 7,000 more jobs by 2030, including building retrofitting.

The Appollo Alliance report indicates that success stories like ABB, Lost Creek Wind and Exergonix could become even more commonplace if the US implemented strong clean energy and climate change policies.

Despite meaningful efforts on the state level, there are no substitutes for comprehensive climate and energy legislation. America's high unemployment rate could be significantly reduced if Republicans in Congress would support the President's policies.
¸
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Republicans Dethrone Czars and Defund the President's Policies

House Republicans are using their powers to declare war on Democrats, public health and the environment. Despite warnings that tightening the belt too much too soon could harm the economy, the Republican-controlled House voted to drastically cut spending and defund the President's policies.

After five days of debate, the spending bill passed a divided House at 4:40 a.m. on Saturday February 19, 2011. Without any support from Democrats, the House approved several Republican amendments to deny funds to federal agencies including the EPA.

Health care was also under assault. Democratic Rep. Sander Levin said, "Instead of searching for common ground, this amendment intensifies warfare," Levin continued, "The Republicans have become a wrecking crew."

Republicans have also targeted Obama's czars as undemocratic even though many previous presidents have used them. On February 17, 2011, House Republicans voted to strip congressional funding for nine executive branch czars. This was the first raid in a much larger Republican war against the President's policies. The amendment to the continuing resolution funding government operations identifies nine czars and orders that no money goes to pay for them or their staffs.

One of amendment's top targets is US Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern, Obama's chief treaty negotiator at the UN global warming talks, it also defunds Obama's climate adviser. Other czars whose funding would be eliminated under the amendments include the green jobs czar, and the auto manufacturing czar. The amendment also proposes eliminating two czar slots that are unfilled including the energy and climate-change czar. Democrats called it a political attack masquerading as a principled spending cut.

Either by refusing to increase the cap on federal spending or through gridlock, the Republicans appear determined to shutdown government. Even if things do get moving again, the Republican war on the environment is far from over. Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Tex.), chairman of the Science Committee, indicated that he plans to use tax payers dollars to hold hearings that examine, yet again, the basis of climate science.


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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Video: EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's Address at the Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference



EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson's opening keynote address at the Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference on February 8, 2011. Jackson explains how facing environmental issues provides economic benefits and good green jobs. Jackson goes on to illustrate how Environmental health and economic growth go hand in hand. Environmental protection has created 1.7 million jobs as of 2008 and between 2000 and 2008 the environmental protection industry has netted 300 billion in revenues. These facts are important as special interests try to gut America's safeguards like the clean air act, while trying to find loopholes so that big polluters can skirt common sense protections.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Republican Opposition to Obama's Clean Energy Standard

Republicans who once favored clean energy are now opposing President Obama's “clean energy standard.” Many Republicans appear intent on burying the President's plan by equating it with the failed cap-and-trade bills which conservatives falsely claimed was costly and a job-killer.

The Republican point man on the war against renewable energy is House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton. In a Wall Street Journal column, Upton said Obama’s plans “smell like cap-and-trade all over again.”

Lisa Murkowski is the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, she reiterated the Republican refrain that the low-carbon energy plan would raise consumer costs.

The White House claims the clean energy standard will help bring "tens of billions of dollars each year in new investment," and it will “give utilities the flexibility to generate clean energy wherever makes the most sense.” The clean energy standard not only creates jobs it positions the US as a leader in expanding green energy economy.

To gain Republican support for "clean energy" the President has adopted a very liberal standard that includes nuclear, natural gas and even clean coal. Although Republicans had previously shown support for these power sources, they have shown very little interest in working with the President.

Obama warned resistant Republican lawmakers that inaction threatens jobs, increases American dependence on foreign oil and puts the US at a competitive disadvantage.

Despite the President's sincere bipartisan efforts, Republicans are virtually unanimous in their bid to bury the President's plan.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.


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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Republican Cuts Target Green Jobs

President Obama's 2012 budget plan slashes the deficit by $1.1 trillion over 10 years, but House Republicans want to see at least $60 billion in cuts this year. Obama indicated that the budget he sent Congress will help meet his goal of cutting the deficit in half by the end of his first term.

The Obama budget is said to have used a scapel to make cuts while at the same time increasing spending in areas deemed vital to America's competitiveness. The budget proposes tax increases for the wealthy and some businesses, and increased government investments in elementary schools and clean energy. They also integrated some interesting green ways of saving money. The State Department said it expected to save $5.3 million in energy costs over the next three years by painting the roofs of its offices in a heat-reflecting white. And the US Agency for International Development projected hundreds of thousands in paper savings by reducing the font size in its documents.

Republican cost cutting measures have been put together in the Continuing Resolution (CR), they also proposed almost 600 amendments. Many of the proposed amendments are designed to cut spending and defund policies including the Democrats green agenda. The two most important amendments for anti-environmental conservatives include Amendments No. 198 and No 149.

Amendment No. 198 seeks to block Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforcement. This amendment was introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R.-Tex.), it would prohibit any CR funds for the EPA to “implement, administer, or enforce” requirements pertaining to the emissions of greenhouse gases, such as the permit requirement under the Clean Air Act. With this amendment, House Republicans want to undermine the EPA's efforts to limit global warming pollution from new power plants and factories.

Amendment No. 149 wants to defund the Climate Change Panel. This amendment was introduced by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R.-Mo.), it would block any CR funds from being used for “contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).”

Other environmentally harmful Republican amendments include ending protection for wild lands and mountaintop removal mining. Republicans also want to take the Northern Rockies gray wolves off the endangered species list, reduce river water levels which will threaten salmon, and expedit offshore oil drilling approvals by ignoring compliance with environmental and safety measures.

The Republican track record on the environment is woeful. The League of Conservation Voters scorecard of 2010 illustrates just how unfriendly Republicans are to the environment. Now Republicans want to eliminate Obama's proposed investment in clean energy, as well as deprive the EPA and the Climate Change Panel of funding.

Democrats control of the Senate and Obama's veto powers, may be able to stave off the CR bill, but Republicans have threatened to shut down government even though this may anger Americans. According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, most Americans would not react favorably if Republicans shut down the federal government for a few weeks.

If we ignore Republican's knee jerk obstructionism, the issue comes down to whether the benefits of government spending outweigh deficit spending. Governments around the world seem to share Obama's take on the importance of government investment to help the economy and create jobs. This is particularly true for green spending which provides jobs while helping industries grow so that they can be competitive.

Republican law-makers need to be reminded that unemployment is one of America's greatest challenges and green investments create jobs. While the rest of the world is investing in employment, Republicans are trying to divest America of its ability to compete in the growing green economy.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Energizer Gets Greener with LED Lighting from CRS

Energizer has partnered with CRS a manufacturer of light-emitting-diode (LED) technology. On February 14, 2011, CRS Electronics Inc. (TSX-V:LED), an inventor, developer and manufacturer of LEDs, announced an exclusive agreement with Energizer Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:ENR).

With rapidly growing demand for energy efficient lighting, this new partnership is causing investors to take notice. Energizer says the move will help expand its portfolio, and CRS stock surged 46.94 percent on Monday.

According to a 2011 report from Pike Research, energy-efficient technologies are expected to make up over 75 percent of the US lighting market by 2020. Strategies Unlimited has predicted growth of 28 percent in the LED lighting market from 2008 to 2012. The LED market was forecasted to exceed $5 billion in 2012, corresponding to a compound annual growth rate of 28 percent between 2008 and 2012.

Energizer has a long-standing commitment to environmental preservation. They have taken steps to minimize the environmental impact of their products and their manufacturing processes. The company has led the industry in eliminating heavy metals like Mercury and Cadmium from their batteries. Energizer's packaging is 100% recyclable, and they have dramatically reduced ozone-depleting agents from their production process and their supply chain. The battery giant is also one of the largest supporters of the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC). Energizer continues to proactively reduce the environmental footprint of their manufacturing operations ahead of governmental mandates. In the US, the EPA modeled its battery effluent standards on Energizer's achievements.

What makes this deal noteworthy for investors is the fact that this is a partnership between two well placed complimentary players. CRS is a leader in high efficiency LEDs, the company's main motto of is "to reduce energy while maintaining quality." Energizer is one of the world's largest manufacturers of primary batteries, portable battery-powered devices, and portable flashlights and lanterns. Energizer manufactures the "Ultimate Lithium," the longest lasting battery for high-tech devices and CRS manufacturers some of the most efficient LEDs including the MR16, PAR 20, PAR 30 and PAR 38. This partnership enables Energizer to benefit from the growing LED market, while CRS gains access to the Energizer brand.

In a recent press release from CRS, Jim Olsen, Vice President of Marketing for Energizer North America, said, “CRS was selected for their commitment to excellence in LED lighting technology capabilities and their history of innovation in the LED lighting industry.”

“We are honoured to be working with the Energizer® brand name. Partnering with a premium, trusted brand validates our efforts and gives us a competitive edge in the marketplace,” said Scott Riesebosch, President, CRS Electronics. “This agreement expands our product reach from the commercial space to retail, and from one product line to four, representing a significant growth opportunity for the Company. We are thrilled with the opportunity and will continue to develop new LED products to support our relationship with Energizer.”

LED lighting is destined to play a central role in efficiency efforts because LEDs are more efficient than incandescent, halogen and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). According to a study titled, Advanced Lighting to 2013 - Demand and Sales Forecasts, Market Share, Market Size, Market Leaders, US demand for advanced lighting is forecasted to grow 10.9 percent annually through 2013. The study predicts that CFLs and LEDs will grow the fastest. However, CFLs contain mercury and are therefore difficult to recycle.

There are other problems associated with CFLs. As reported in Popular Mechanics, CFLs do not live up to their Energy Star ratings while "LEDs have a quality of light superior to all other types of lighting—and they deliver it more efficiently."

Around the world less efficient lights are being replaced. In the US, the growth of LEDs will be driven by 2007 legislation that banned the incandescent light bulb. This legislation is scheduled to come into effect in 2012. By 2014, all lights must use 25 to 30 percent less energy, and by 2020, lights must be 70 percent more efficient than they were in 2007.

Energizer's new CRS LED lighting products will be well positioned to take advantage of the trend towards more efficient lighting solutions. CRS is an Energy Star and Lighting Facts partner and a well-established LED lighting supplier in North America, including providing LED replacements for halogen lights.

LED lighting will increasingly replace both incandescent and halogen lighting. LED lighting uses approximately 75 percent less energy than a halogen light bulb. LEDs can last up to 50,000 hours while halogen light bulbs last between 2,000 and 6,000 hours. LED bulbs last up to 10 times as long as CFLs and far longer than incandescents. LED lighting extends battery life 10 to 15 times longer than with incandescent bulbs. LEDs use only 2-10 watts of electricity or 1/3rd to 1/30th of the energy needed for incandescent bulbs or CFLs.

Although LEDs are more expensive than either incandescent bulbs or CFLs, the cost is recouped over time in energy savings. The cost of LEDs will also decrease as the market grows and production increases. LEDs offer great value, particularly in commercial settings where maintenance and replacement costs are expensive.

Halogen bulbs convert about 90 percent of the energy to radiant heat. While LED lighting converts only a fraction of the energy to wasted heat. By producing 3.4 btu's/hour compared to 85 for incandescent bulbs, LEDs do not cause heat build up and this reduces energy costs associated with air conditioning.

The low power requirement for LEDs also make them ideal for use with small scale renewable power generation like solar panels.

The CRS partnership fits seamlessly with Energizer's continuing environmental efforts. CRS LED lighting products are consistent with Energizer's new marketing campaign that goes by the title, Now That’s Positivenergy. The campaign's central message is power plus responsibility.

CRS manufactured LED lighting products bearing the Energizer brand will be available to commercial and retail networks in the second half of 2011. With LEDs rapidly becoming the standard, the new Energizer branded LEDs are poised for explosive growth.

For more information about CRS, contact Debbie Bamforth debbieb@crselectronics.com or Al Hussey ahussey@crselectronics.com.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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