With the success of the 2005 Expo in Aichi, there has been a lot of attention focused on Japanese green building techniques and accomplishments. The latest to make the press is NEC’s “Tamagawa Renaissance City”. The facility boasts rainwater reuse, a compost system, reduced CO2 emissions, and if dismantled, could be 97% recycled. (via Japan for Sustainability)
Adding further clout to the United States’ only marketplace for greenhouse gas emissions, Swiss Re has joined the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). The exchange is a voluntary system whose aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions via a market based trading system. As the world’s largest reinsurer, Swiss RE recognizes the potential impact that climate change may have on society and economy. As a result, joining the CCX makes perfect sense for a company seeking to minimize its long-term risk. (Via Greenbiz)
Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn has announced that all organic produce will be wrapped in biodegradable packaging not derived from petroleum. It might not be as significant as Safeway or Wal-Mart, but the change still represents a fairly major commitment from a fairly major chain.
Personally, I still wonder why people insist on a large disposable bag or any kind for everything they get in the produce section, and it’s unlikely that people’s behavior will change much unless government policies like bag-taxes come into effect. But that’s just my two cents.
As an unabashed meat-eater, I have always loved Niman ranch products and am willing to pay a little extra to have them. It’s not just that they taste a lot better, there is extra satisfaction in knowing that my meat came from free range livestock, raised naturally without a pharmacopia of steroids and god-knows what.
It seems I’m not the only one. Niman, and other free-range meat producers are now selling a majority of some meats to McDonald’s Chipolte Grill brand, as well as major specialty retailers like Whole Foods. (See Chicago Tribune Article – requires registration). With major contracts like these, it’s no wonder that organic and otherwise natural meat will continue to grow in popularity despite the slight added costs to consumers. But will quality and accountability suffer?
That’s a lot of letters, but if you’re looking for some good listening this weekend (or now), check out the PSFK interview with PhatGnat founder DK.
PhatGnat is a marketing consultancy based around bridging the gaps between the commercial sector, government, and youth. They were recently showcased on the 3P Presidio marketing blog. Founder DK has worked on some very interesting community building projects, mostly with youth. PSFK is a collective blog on trends. Together, they make for a fascinating discussion on brands and social responsibility, as well as some insights on blogging.
Do you have any interest in writing about buisiness and sustainability? Are you an MBA student looking for an outlet? I’m looking for some help keeping Triple Pundit going, and improving the quality and quanitiy of posts (especially editorially). As a full time student who somehow works on the side, it’s been really difficult to keep this site fully loaded, and even harder to move it to a new level. So! Please send an email to “tips at triplepundit” if you have any interest in becomming a contributor – either regular or occasional. I would love to have you on board.
Actually, the latest issue of business week is about a lot more than solar energy. It’s about alternative energy in general, and about how the cost for many forms of alternative energy will soon be cheaper than that of fossil fuels. From efficiency to personal power generation, it’s a great expose that goes to the heart of what better energy production and use means to you and your business. Check out the series of articles here.
Thursday is World Car Free Day. There’s no question that the automobile has had a bigger impact on how we build our cities than anything else has. It’s also probably one of the largest players in provking greater consumption of resources, and quite literally, land. Even a petrol-free car culture still has immensely greater impact on the environment than one where walking & biking are still available as an option.
That said, the car is most definitely here to stay. But slowly, especially in Europe, car-free areas, often in central business districts, are cropping up and thriving where once smokey traffic actually hindered commerce. In the future, a transportation network that is not totally exclusive to the automobile will be required if we want to preserve any semblance of quality of life, as well as to conduct business. Car Free Day is a somewhat radical idea, but check out some of the local events, it may provoke some thought.
Solar power is set to become mandatory for multistory buildings in the West Bengal region of India. It’s the first time I’ve seen government mandate such a requirement, and based on what’s in this Calcutta Telegaph article it sound’s like it’s a pretty good idea. Plan backers say that installing solar power will not increase the per-unit price of the housing in question, and it will reduce preasure on India’s power grid, while creating employment at the same time. There is no mention on exactly what percentage of household needs will actually be met by the mandated instalation.
Alan White from BSR has put out a very interesting read on the future of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) entitled Fade, Transform or Integrate: The Future of CSR. The scnerios that are explored in the article are threefold: Is CSR just a fad that will fade away? Is it something that will be strategically integrated into operations? Is it destined to be truly transformative? [read the article] DK at Phatgnat adds that it is the smaller brands who will likely find embracing CSR to be a positive business experience, while larger companies, suffering from their own inertia will find it more difficult.
There are some great comments on Phatgnat worth reading, which cut straight to the point – “being decent” is not a complex issue, and burying it in corporate-speak mumbo jumbo only muddles the argument.
Is the essence of marketing to sell a dream or to fulfill the dream of society? Is the dream of society the common good, or what the market wants, or what business wants? What role does marketing play in this tension?
My fellow students at The Presidio School of Management will explore these questions in a periodic weblog inspired by current events and readings in newspapers and other media. About 13 students are participating and there should be one or two posts a week for the next few months. Please have a look and as always, comment away!
Without further ado – click here to access the project.
Major pblications from the NY Times to the Wall Street Journal to the Salt Lake Tribune were a flutter last week about the bullish outlook for alternative energy stocks. Some solar manufacturers in particular have seen their stock double in less than a year. It’s all happening for obvious reasons, but hopefully also signals the enduring strength of renewables and will result in more investment in them for the future. (via Grist)
In looking for a topic on Green Marketing this week, I came upon Joel Makower’s excellent wrap up and critique of the entire concept on WorldChanging.
Makower talks about the disconect between polls and reality, mentioning the ‘Green Gauge Report’ as being particularily over-optimistic. That report suggests that 48% of consumers are making purchasing decisions based on some concern for the environment and in response to marketers decisions to label things as “organic” or “environmentally friendly”.
Makower suggests that a ratio known as the “30:3 ratio” may be more accurate. That number was coined by Wendy Gordon who suggests that 30% of consumers say they are concerned about the ethical and environmental impact of the purchases they make, but a mere 3% actually “walk-the-walk”. So what’s the problem?
A very useful form of marketing research is survey taking. Surveys are undertaken by companies themselves – perhaps via a mail-in form that comes with a product – as well as by marketing agencies, telemarketers, non-profit organizations, and a myriad of other groups who are interested in figuring out why people make the purchasing decisions they do, so that they can better meet customer needs.
With regards to sustainability, a survey can be used to find out information about people’s perceptions and demands about sustainable concepts, and related issues. It can also be an effective educational tool, asking people questions about things they might not have previously considered. More so, it’s one way for companies to show that they want to communicate with the markets they serve – this serves to demonstrate that customer input is desirable and that customer opinion is valued – and that, by extension, a real relationship between company and customer can be formed.
As an example – there is a survey currently running on PhatGnat, a consultancy based around bridging the gaps between the commercial sector, government, and youth.
I recently bought an electronic copy of my marketing textbook from SafariX. Despite the obvious environmental benefits, I was skeptical about using it. But after giving it a try, i have to say, it works pretty well (aside from the annoying heat my laptop gives off).
While electronic press will never fully replace paper books – unless we invent truly paper thin electronic media – the area is clearly a growing field. In addition to SafariX, another company to watch is SF based Zinio. They offer “exact replicas” of the printed versions at half the price, with the added benefits of search functionality, digital note-taking, and embedded multimedia.”
There are some major drawbacks to electronic textbooks of course. One is the fact that I already spend so much time staring at this laptop that another few hours makes me feel as though my eyeballs are melting. Also, the only real way to prevent people from copying the book and passing it around is to make it available online-only in such a format that is impossible to download. This means that if you like to study away from an internet connection (on an airplane for example), you can’t. Still, there is a legitimate argument to be made that the process is indeed “greener” and companies in the field are sure to thrive.