While there have been many “best of 2009″ stories posted recently, I think Joel Makower’s blog this week does a great job of summarizing the key green business trends, the good news and the bad news, over the past decade. It is the perfect warm up for the upcoming GreenBiz.com State of Green Business Forums, to be held in San Francisco and Chicago.
Is the glass half full or half empty? Makower is a bit indecisive, presenting three reasons why he is discouraged and three reasons he has great hope for the decade ahead. I’m going to skip the reasons he is discouraged and jump right to three reasons to see the glass half full.
1. Green innovation is booming: According to Makower, “There’s a revolution taking place that even many of its participants can’t yet see. It involves the confluence of energy, information, building, and vehicle technologies, and the promise of a wealth of impressive new goods and services.”
2. Companies are reinventing themselves: Makower suggests that companies “will continue to find themselves crossing sectoral lines and entering new lines of business.” He notes that a new wave of “old-line companies (think Firestone and Sanyo)” are bringing new energy and momentum to the green business arena.
3. Sustainability is becoming about more than just the environment: I can’t agree more with Makower’s frustration over the fuzzy lines between green, environmental and sustainability. As 3P readers know, sustainability integrates more than environmental responsibility. Yet Makower is encouraged because, “The social side of sustainability — a broad swath of topics including working conditions, community impacts, human rights, product safety, access to education and health care, increased opportunity for all, and more — is beginning to be considered by some large companies.”
As you reflect on your goals and aspirations for 2010, what part will you play in growing these exciting trends?
Deborah Fleischer is president of Green Impact, a strategic environmental consulting practice that helps companies engage employees, strengthen their relationships with stakeholders, develop profitable green initiatives and communicate their successes and challenges. You can follow her occasional tweet @GreenImpact or contact her directly at Deborah@greenimpact.com.