Archive for April, 2009
Associated Content launched a new Green section in honor of Earth Month. SunChips, a brand of Frito-Lay North America, a division of PepsiCo, is the official launch sponsor of a special “Green Living” microsite within the environmentally focused new channel on Associated Content. Associated Content is giving away eco-friendly prizes in a sweepstakes open to those who contribute original articles and videos about green topics at associatedcontent.com. With more than 250,000 registered users contributing to the collection of one million articles, videos, slideshows and audio clips, Associated Content is one of the fastest-growing, ad-supported sites on the Web and is a leading resource for how-to green information. The new Green channel arranges content into useful categories such as Auto, Home, Apparel, Food and Wine, Technology, Energy and Conservation. Visitors can find everything from eco-friendly building tips to reviews of green cleaning products and coverage of local Earth Day events. Visit Associated Content’s Green section at www.associatedcontent.com/green. “With more than 3,000 articles on green living, Associated Content’s new Green channel is a major destination for people interested in making their lifestyle more eco-friendly during Earth Month and all year round,” said Dan Shanoff, VP of Content. “We are proud to provide a platform for so many individuals to share their knowledge and passion for sustainable living.” Interested participants can log on to www.AssociatedContent.com and register to publish an article, video or slideshow on any topic they choose. All new content published in the Green category will count as an entry into a sweepstakes to win sustainable prizes.
A new MSN Green http://green.msn.com survey finds it’s not always so easy being green. The survey found that overwhelmingly, almost 70 percent of the Americans surveyed say that they would never limit toilet flushes to conserve water or use a kitchen compost. Although half of respondents say they recycle everything possible, the rest of America needs some convincing, or some help. Nearly half (46 percent) say it will take a simplified system for identifying recyclables and curbside pickup to motivate them to recycle all their waste. However, according to the MSN Green Earth Day Survey, almost 20 percent of people still do not have access to a local recycling service, and others do not know what a carbon footprint is. When asked what deed they would do to help reduce their carbon footprint, almost half (49 percent) of respondents said they would either give up air conditioning for a summer or become a vegetarian for a year. However, eco-friendliness has its limits. According to the survey, almost a third of the Americans surveyed say it would take either a tax credit or $1 million for them to recycle or compost all of their waste. Forty percent of respondents believe that most people go green for factors unrelated to the environment. Instead, they believe most do it because of a celebrity role model or because they are a trend follower. So, if all else fails, America can always look to celebrities to lead the green charge — with Leonardo DiCaprio heading the pack among female respondents as the most inspirational eco-celeb and Cameron Diaz among male respondents. From eco-friendly cooking and cleaning tips to the best hybrid cars and gardening tips, MSN Green gives eco-friendly citizens all the information they desire. Consumers can find tips and tricks on how to achieve a more happy, healthy and sustainable lifestyle at http://green.msn.com.
Kohl’s Department Stores recently announced that according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) quarterly listings, Kohl’s is the number one purchaser of green power among retailers, third overall and third among Fortune 500 companies. EPA’s National Top Partner lists highlight EPA Green Power Partners that have completed the largest annual voluntary green power purchases through April 7, 2009. According to EPA, green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources like wind and solar. These resources generate electricity with a net zero increase in carbon dioxide emissions. In 2009, Kohl’s purchased more than 600 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power through renewable energy credits (RECs) in areas such as solar, wind and landfill gas. This is more than double Kohl’s previous green power commitment and enough to meet 50 percent of the company’s purchased electricity use. “Kohl’s recognizes the significant value of green power for our business, our customers and the environment,” said Ken Bonning, Kohl’s executive vice president of store planning and logistics. “Purchasing renewable energy credits not only helps Kohl’s work toward the goal of reducing our carbon footprint, it also helps fund additional renewable energy projects that will have a positive impact on our communities far into the future. We are pleased to support these initiatives and will continue to explore and embrace environmentally sound practices that conserve resources, manage energy use and support long-term sustainability.” Kohl’s further supports its mission of being a leading environmentally responsible retailer through a number of key initiatives that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and maximize energy efficiency. These initiatives and partnerships include an extensive, industry-leading solar program in addition to active participation in EPA’s ENERGY STAR®, Climate Leaders, WasteWise and SmartWay Transport programs, the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED©) program and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Retailer Energy Alliance.
For more information on Kohl’s green initiatives or EPA’s Green Power Partnership, visit www.kohlsgreenscene.com.
Last weekend after a train ride and a “pedicab” (which I totally had to take because I was so out of breath and sweaty from the walk—which means I need to really quit smoking), I arrived at the 2nd annual Go Green Expo, an event that—according to their website—“invites both consumers and business owners to learn more about what is readily available so they can take steps to purchase earth friendly products and services to make our communities greener, one city at a time.” As you know I am the project manager for Good And Green™-The Green Marketing Conference, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a consumer-focused affair. Let’s face it—I know that I need to make some serious changes in my life—stop smoking, eat healthier, get more exercise—but change isn’t easy and I was really hoping the Go Green Expo would not only inspire me as a marketer, but inspire me to continue taking those steps I need to take to become a healthier, more conscious good and green consumer.
My first stop was to listen to well-known photographer (he’s one of the judges on America’s Next Top Model) Nigel Barker. Who wouldn’t make this their first stop? After all, in addition to being a brilliant photographer and environmental leader, he’s gorgeous! In between people answering their cell phones and walking in and out of the room (in addition to being ‘green’, what happened to being polite?), I witnessed Nigel’s amazing documentary on the birth and violent death of baby harp seals during Canada’s commercial seal hunt. He’s not new to this whole caring for the planet thing—he mentioned his first campaign for the seals happened when he was just 8 or 9 years old. So cool. Although difficult to watch—it’s hard to watch something being born and then being killed three weeks later—it inspires meaningful conversation, regardless which side of the plight you may belong. But, how do you market something like this? How do you attract advertisers and media to take on this type of project knowing even the most caring of consumers would find it difficult to not turn the channel during the end scene when the horrific reality of this event is displayed in great detail?
Frankly, I was stunned when I walked out because it started me thinking about the challenges many companies and brands face as they try and educate consumers without leaving them running scared. It’s more about engaging and inspiring—making the whole “go green” philosophy more about living a better life—not just about making the planet better.
With more than 800 booths and numerous presentations, it would take me way too long to walk you step by step through my expo experience. So, here are a few of my key brand takeaways:
1. Market to Moms. The busiest area was the kid/family area. Not really a surprise considering Moms are one of the leading consumer groups to embrace a more a sustainable lifestyle. Kids are such a big part of the green movement—they are often the ones inspiring their parents to change and calling them out when they aren’t doing their part. Look at smoking—as soon as kids started learning the unhealthy affects of cigarettes, they were all over their parents to quit. Powerful stuff. From organic foods and clothing to interactive websites and eco-friendly toys, this section was packed with people. There was a great little company called Global Green Pals that creates dolls representing different areas of environmental needs—such as Recycle Kyle and Clean Air Kate. In addition to being a fun toy for kids, the company is helping parents teach their kids about the environment and gives a portion of every “Pal” purchase to an environmental organization. Note to brands: Remember that Moms are busy and are looking for ways to take care of their families first—then the planet.
2. Focus on living a healthy lifestyle. Several exhibitors were showing consumers how to live healthier lives that in turn will help create a healthier planet. Eating organic, using all-natural cleaning products—even purchasing dishes that enable you to enjoy waterless cooking. Waterless! The special pans not only clean up with a simple wipe of a cloth, but you can cook everything from pasta to vegetables without using any water. Amazing.
3. Look at the whole process—don’t just stop with the product itself. Brands are going beyond just looking at the environmental affects of their products and are really thinking about how their products will be used by consumers. Just like a company I spoke to the other day about Good And Green™. Pooh in the Park, a Denver-based company, has created containers—which are made from recyclable materials—to be placed on trashcans, buildings, etc. in parks. The containers house biodegradable bags that can be used to pick up—you guessed it—dog poop. It helps people remember to pick up after their pets, allows the parks to create a healthier environment for its patrons and—here’s a neat idea—the containers and the bags are sponsored. This alleviates the need for taxpayers to have to foot the bill on this environmental initiative.
4. Don’t be too quick to judge what is—and isn’t—greenwashing. The greenwashing terminology has made it into the consumer mainstream and is causing quite a challenge for businesses such as Long Trail Brewing Co. The company was promoting its eco-brewery, but when asked for a bottle of its “eco-brew”, they simply answered, “We don’t have an ‘eco-brew’ per say, we are an eco-brewery.” In other words, everything they do to make their product is eco-friendly or in the process of becoming so. And, it’s something they’ve been doing for years. Just like larger brands such as SC Johnson and Coca-Cola, Long Trail has long been a believer in lessening their impact on the environment, but they have never really talked about it. “It didn’t seem like people really wanted to know, it was just something we did as a company.” However, now that people want to know, Long Trail is talking about it and has often been accused of greenwashing. We are so quick to jump on companies, aren’t we? We are so busy putting on the blame on big business that we forget we are the ones who have supported them with our dollars for years—no questions asked. But, now that we’re asking the questions, we sort of expect them to change over night. Let’s stop playing the blame game—it just keeps you stuck in the problem. Instead, we need to realize that these companies need to start their environmental efforts somewhere and give them credit for what they are—or already have—been doing. Note to brands: Tell your story—the whole story, even the bad parts. Consumers want to know what triggered you or inspired you to become more environmentally friendly and what steps, even the very small steps, you have and will continue to take.
5. People are lazy. Sad, but true. Even looking at myself I realize how lazy people really are. Just the other day I was thinking about going to the grocery store after work. I would have to go home and change my clothes, make a grocery list, find which bus to take, shop, lug the groceries home on the bus, put the groceries away…phew, I’m tired just thinking about it. After all that, I decided to just eat what I had in the kitchen. That’s how people feel about “going green,” they like the concept, they just don’t feel they can put in the effort. So, they abandoned the idea altogether. There is a new show on the Sundance Channel—which is really doing some amazing green programming at the moment–The Lazy Environmentalist, where the self-proclaimed “Lazy Environmentalist” himself, Josh Dorfman, helps consumers easily and effortlessly green their lifestyles. He had a wonderful presentation with great clips from his show that just reinforced my theory that when you are tired it makes it hard to make good decisions. Make it easy for me to get started and I’ll act—I think we all want things to come to us, we just don’t want to go to it!
While I was at the Go Green Expo I certainly wore out my shoes—and the battery for my camera (which was hard to replace since all the booths selling rechargeable batteries were pretty much sold out). I brought along my best guy Mark who ended up purchasing a SodaStream (which, in interest of full disclosure, was a sponsor of last year’s Good And Green™–something Mark didn’t even know until after his purchase) and I treated myself to a beautiful bag made out of the bags used to carry rice from one area to another (http://www.raecyclements.com). No two bags are alike and the $50 price tag—while steep for someone like me (when will there be a Target for green?)–is really reasonable in the world of green fashion.
I have a much deeper understanding of the mission—realizing that how I live my life and how I treat the planet are intertwined. The experience made me realize how I need to start taking small steps to take care of myself if I ever want to make big changes in the world. More than ever I was made aware of my need to stop smoking (can you carbon offset cigarette smoke? That’s spoken like a true “lazy consumer”—Lol). I need to walk to work, ride my bike through the park (I’m really looking forward to buying one of those great bikes with a basket in the front), and eat healthier foods. Before you can change, you need to know what things you need to change and as you take those small steps, you build more and more momentum to keep going. “Going green” is “doing good” and “doing good” is “going green”—it’s all connected–it is certainly more of a journey than a destination.
So, I’m ready to make the serious changes like stop smoking, eat healthier and monitor my water consumption—both internal (I need to drink more) and external (I need to use less). Hey does that make me even? But, I am also looking forward to doing the really fun things–like buying a hot bag that is totally sustainable!
Realistically change sounds good and eventually feels good, but the perils in between can stink. Tell me the good, the bad, the beauty and the ugly of your journey to become a more conscious, healthier, economical, Good And Green consumer. Would love to hear from you! email@example.com
Mary Kay Inc. is celebrating 20 years of recycling efforts during Earth Month this year by completing a reforestation project in a national forest during two days in April, thanks to compact recycling efforts by its nationwide Independent Beauty Consultants and their customers, as well as the company’s employees. Through its Pink Doing GreenSM Compact Recycling program, Mary Kay Inc. exceeded its 2008-2009 collection goal of 200,000 old compacts, succeeding in its pledge to add 200,000 trees to Bitterroot National Forest, the largest expanse of wilderness in the United States, which the U.S. Forest Service identified as in need of replanting. The 200,000 trees donated by Mary Kay fulfill the entire planting need in Bitterroot National Forest for 2009. Mary Kay partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation for the reforestation project. “This commitment by Mary Kay to plant 200,000 trees in a national forest will have a positive impact on the planet for generations to come,” said John Rosenow, chief executive and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation. “These trees will clean the air and water and will restore important environmental benefits to the area. We are pleased to be teaming up with Mary Kay to restore a portion of this forest.” The replanting efforts in Bitterroot National Forest, an estimated 1.6 million acres of forest land across the southern Montana-Idaho border, will begin April 28 and are expected to be completed within two days under the direction of the U.S. Forest Service. “Sustaining the environment for future generations is an active priority for Mary Kay that we take very seriously,” said Mary Kay chief scientific officer Dr. Beth Lange. “We also recognize the importance of working with communities at the local level and the power of engaging our global network of Independent Beauty Consultants. We have already seen success and impact with our Compact Recycling Program on a national scale.” Since initiating one of the country’s first comprehensive corporate recycling programs in 1989, Mary Kay Inc. has been seeking new ways to empower women with opportunities to enrich their lives and their communities. The Mary Kay recycling program has been embedded in all corporate processes and will continue to adapt with the company as its sustainability efforts grow and change. As Mary Kay’s official corporate sustainability program, the Pink Doing GreenSM initiative will strive during 2009 to incorporate environmental improvement efforts that empower women to make sustainability commitments in their own communities. Mary Kay also plans to continue the Compact Recycling Program through July 2009.
Amazon and Universal News will run ongoing online promotions highlighting magazines that use recycled paper, under a major push by Green America’s Better Paper Project and Next Steps Marketing. The “Better Paper for People and Planet” promotion will feature a diverse range of magazines that print on post-consumer recycled paper. Both Amazon and Universal News have extended premium placement and unique pages on their sites to highlight and promote these magazines, in conjunction with Earth Day. Twenty eight magazines that use recycled paper — including, Shape, Mother Jones, ReadyMade, Body + Soul, Nickelodeon, Make, Natural Home and Everyday with Rachel Ray — now are also featured on a special “Recycled Paper Magazines” section on Amazon. In addition, Amazon asks their consumers to make their “commitment to the Earth a year-round affair, and support magazines printed on recycled paper”. Please view special page that is accessible via this abbreviated link: http://tcp3.com/lpsi. Twenty-six titles are featured on www.universalnewsondemand.com, a site owned by Universal News in New York City, dedicated to selling online single copy sales. Moving forward Universal News will host an ongoing green page to help build awareness and sale of these magazines. “Everyday is Earth Day for these publishers. In tough economic times, they continue to show leadership by printing on recycled paper. We are thrilled that we able to continue to reward them for their efforts by partnering with Amazon, the biggest online retailer. Through this partnership we have greatly expanded their reach and awareness among consumers,” says Maire Walsh, director of client sServices at Next Steps Marketing. “This step by the biggest online retailer is a crucial component of rewarding those magazines that are taking very real steps to reduce climate change and deforestation by using recycled paper,” says Frank Locantore, Director of the Better Paper Project of Green America. In addition, to these online retailers Barnes and Noble, Hastings Books and Music and Universal News continue to demonstrate their leadership with in-store promotions that highlight members of the Better Paper Project. These retailers are running special in-store promotions in April to celebrate these magazines.
NativeEnergy recently announced the opportunity for businesses, organizations, and individuals everywhere to help build the Greensburg Wind Farm in Kansas. The wind farm will generate energy for the town and carbon emissions reductions that the company markets to individuals and businesses to balance out their global warming pollution. On May 4, 2007 an EF-5 tornado leveled the town of Greensburg, Kansas, destroying 95% of the homes and leaving a path of devastation two miles wide. The community voted overwhelmingly to rebuild and to do so in environmentally responsible ways that would leave a legacy for future generations and serve as an example of a sustainable American community. This commitment has captured attention and support across the nation. “We are very excited and honored to play a necessary role in helping build the Greensburg Wind Farm by engaging our clients. The rebuilding of the Greensburg community is an inspiring example of the new green economy,” says Tom Boucher, president & CEO of NativeEnergy. NativeEnergy’s unique “Help Build” carbon funding model brings critical revenues to new renewable energy projects and other projects that reduce carbon dioxide (CO2), a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Electricity generated by the wind farm will displace fossil-based energy and reduce CO2 pollution by hundreds of thousands of tons that otherwise would enter our atmosphere. Individuals and businesses can help build the Greensburg Wind Farm by offsetting their carbon footprints online at www.NativeEnergy.com/greensburg.
“We greatly appreciate NativeEnergy’s role in helping Greensburg to be the ‘greenest town in America’, and we cannot think of a better partner to help engage people everywhere to participate in helping build this wind farm,” says Steve Hewitt, Greensburg city administrator. Several of the company’s clients, Greensburg Charter Supporters, made significant early offset purchases from the Greensburg project. Charter Supporters include: Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar &
Company, Green Mountain Coffee, and Stonyfield Farm. These Charter Supporters are joined by Clean Air – Cool Planet, an environmental non-profit partner of NativeEnergy that is responsible for the retirement of carbon offsets from the project. “These partners show time and time again their leadership in social and environmental responsibility, and we look forward to continuing our partnerships with them and with other responsible organizations helping to build a cleaner energy future,” says Boucher. NativeEnergy has, through the aggregated support of its clients, helped build 34 new projects that are tribal, farm and community-based clean energy projects like the Greensburg Wind Farm.