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Are We Moving the Needle? Joel Makower’s Take on the Overall Green Business Picture

Scott Cooney | Thursday February 4th, 2010 | 2 Comments

If the greening of mainstream business is alive and well, despite the bad economy, what is the overall big picture?  Joel Makower of GreenBiz.com opened the State of Green Business Forum with the question:  are we moving the needle?

If someone were to tell you that one of the major food manufacturers had redesigned its packaging to reduce overall waste by 20 percent, and if a major green IT center had opened at Disney World, and if a major utility had announced major cutback goals for greenhouse gases, wouldn’t you say that things are still looking up despite the recession of ’09?  And if that person were to tell you that all of those things happened in January 2010, not in all of 2009, as you might have assumed, you’d guess that things were pretty swell in terms of the world of green business.

GreenBiz.com uses a summary ranking system to gauge the state of green business:  is a particular indicator improving, staying about the same, or getting worse?  In 20 indicators, including green office space, clean fleets, IT, carbon intensity, carbon transparency, clean tech investments, clean energy patents, corporate reporting, e-waste, energy efficiency, and more, GreenBiz, summarizes the current “State of Green Business.” It found that six of the indicators are “swimming,” eleven are “treading” and three are “sinking.”

The six indicators that showed improvement over the last year were clean energy patents, energy efficiency, green IT (which Makower, in particular, was very excited about, and which also represented several of the major sponsors of the State of Green Business Conference in San Francisco), green office space, paper use and recycling, and water intensity.  The ‘sinkers’ were e-waste, employee telecommuting, and carbon intensity. The bottom line, then, is that green business, despite some challenges from the down economy, is alive and kicking, and in the more tangible ROI areas, such as green building, waste reduction, and energy efficiency, actually thriving in the down economy.

The full report is available for download here.

Scott Cooney is reporting live from the State of Green Business Conference in beautiful San Francisco.  Keep your eye on Triple Pundit for more articles on the conference, and send any questions you have to Scott [at] GreenBusinessVillage.com and he’ll try to get them answered.


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  • http://www.transferpod.com/ ipod to mac

    As long as it shows improvement, just continue doing it. And as you said despite some challenges from the down economy, the green business is still alive and kicking, and in the more tangible ROI areas, such as green building, waste reduction, and energy efficiency, actually thriving in the down economy. Job well dobne indeed!

  • http://www.transferpod.com/ ipod to mac

    As long as it shows improvement, just continue doing it. And as you said despite some challenges from the down economy, the green business is still alive and kicking, and in the more tangible ROI areas, such as green building, waste reduction, and energy efficiency, actually thriving in the down economy. Job well dobne indeed!