3p economic correspondent Bill Roth sits down with Gil Friend, chief sustainability officer for the city of Palo Alto, California, about an intriguing trend: ‘default-to-green’ policies in cities.
Author: Bill Roth
A study just published by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has linked a building’s indoor air quality directly to its occupants’ cognitive function. 3p economic correspondent Bill Roth explores what this revelation could mean for building in the 21st century.
Generation Z is the first generation born in the 21st century, with ages ranging from 2 to 19. They represent about 25 percent of the U.S. population, and have approximately $44 billion in annual buying power. If businesses and governments thought they had to change to adapt to millennials, then they should appreciate this: Gen Z is already working to change their world.
Selling more places the company in the role of the hero. It is a hero for getting the customer to eat more, spend more or burn more fossil fuels. “Selling less” is the radical branding message where the consumer is the hero — and it’s a growing path for winning customers.
Unicef and Target, in collaboration with Disney, are launching a Fitbit-like wearable device for kids that has the potential to be this holiday season’s hottest gift. If it does become the gift sales winner for 2015, it will not because it promotes exercise. It will be a sales success because it is a cool wearable with Star Wars branding that enables Generation Z (those aged 10 to 16) to make a difference.
Climate change economics is emerging as a disruptive mega-trend driven by estimates that the cost of global climate change will reach a staggering $72 trillion. Obesity is now projected to carry a global economic cost of more than $100 trillion during the 21st century. In response to these alarming economic realities, a revolution is stirring in who customers buy from, the way investors allocate funds and the companies set to rise to the top.
Citigroup now projects a staggering $72 trillion global cost tied to man-made climate change during the 21st century. The industrial fast food complex is directly tied to a global obesity and diabetes epidemic that now costs $2 trillion annually. These staggering economic costs don’t even take into account human suffering and premature death.
Too many customers view utility pricing (and its regulation) as skewed toward the utility. And too many customers have invested in energy efficiency without seeing the anticipated savings as utilities raise rates and change rate designs.
Today’s adoption of the Clean Power Plan begs this question: Why shouldn’t a utility customer be able to put solar on their roof, net out their electricity bill and sell any surplus to the grid for a profit? What state allows this? The answer is none.
California is proving to the rest of America that economic success does not require increased pollution. The state recently reached an economic development milestone: At a time when the California economy is growing faster than the U.S. economy, it managed to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 1.5 million metric tons.
By 2016 the price of solar energy is projected to be equal to or even less than utility rates in all 50 states. To remain competitive and relevant, the electric utility industry, and its regulators, will need to place their focus on the sustainably-sourced, guaranteed lower electricity bill.
Getting creative is the next maturation step in sustainability leadership and for winning enhanced CEO commitment. For sustainability leaders, the creative path for winning customers (and CEOs) is to act weird. For example, being “weird,” or outside the product design norm, defines Apple and its success. So, how can leaders get outside the mainstream and deliver a compelling business case for sustainability?
The California solar homeowners I work with are acting pretty “weird” compared to the rest of America. This summer when the rest of America will keep their thermostats set at higher-than-desired levels to avoid the dreaded high monthly electric bill, the solar customers I know will be running their homes at a pleasant 72 degrees with no fear of receiving a huge electric utility bill.
The obvious long-term solution is to reduce human pollution, which has generated the climate change that has intensified droughts in California and the West. It will be interesting to see if the West gets thirsty enough to become a national political force for climate change solutions.