Ecofriendly

The Spa Industry Looks Well and Good

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 by

ispaAfter attending the 2013 International Spa Association (ISPA) annual conference, it certainly was apparent to me that all is well and good in the wellness industry.  From my observations, the $14+ billion U.S. market looks to be growing at a steady and healthy pace. “Things certainly are looking up.” Said Roberto Arjona, General Manager of the legendary Rancho La Puerta Resort and Spa. “We have not seen reservation bookings for our resort like this since before 2008 and we are now over one hundred percent capacity going into next year.”  Rancho La Puerta is not the exception. According to ISPA’s 2013 research, people visiting day spas, hotel and resort spas, and destination spas are all on the rise from 156 million in 2012 to 160 million in 2013 and spending has increased to an average of $87 per visit ; almost a two percent increase over the previous year. ISPA organizers said conference attendance was also back to pre-2008 numbers with packed educations sessions, and a busy expo floor showcasing interesting new products and services. I have been coming to this show for several years and here are some of the major observations I see trending in the wellness space:

Going deeper

It appears that spa product companies are becoming more intelligent and in touch with ingredients that promote healthy-aging rather than anti-aging. In previous years it was sometimes difficult to find truly natural and organic brands that were not greenwashing.  Labeling is a tricky thing and not many brands carry certifications such as USDA organic, Ecocert, or Natrue to verify their claims of being organic. This is because many are small boutique brands and find certification expensive. I did see a lot of companies claiming to be eco-friendly or natural and when questioned further most had intelligent responses and provided a deeper back story on sourcing and manufacturing.  

Evidence and Earth Based

I saw a lot of brands promoting benefits of natural ingredients such as seaweed, oils, stem cells and anti-oxidants. Although these ingredients have been used in spas for years if not decades, it seemed that there are more or perhaps I am just now beginning to recognize them. The science and evidence based elements of research as it relates to natural and organic based skincare regimes is more apparent and bringing about a new products that are very interesting including brands like OSEA, Dr. Hauschka, and Pino. However, with the FTC green guidelines recently released it is important that brands be aware that any eco claims that cannot be backed are subject to fines.

Bathing popularity

Kniepp claimed their sales of salt bath products have doubled in the past year due to the growing awareness of the ability to re-mineralizing the body through salt mineral bathing.  Salt products harvested from salt mines of the Himalayas or from European seas such as Kerstin Florian seemed to be more prevalent. I love salt baths and think they are a great component of a healthy regiment. But hearing that salt demand is on the rise globally is concerning. I hope the purity is maintained while the mining of this is also environmentally conscious.

Oil overflowing

It seemed like every other vendor was promoting essential oils which I think is a good thing.  For years many aromatherapists have claimed the healing benefits of essential oils.  I ran into an old friend Michelle Roark, the founder of Phia Lab, who was a professional skier, engineer, and now perfumer. She is doing energetic measurements of essential oils in kilojoules. She claims she has scientific proof of the calming or energizing qualities of oil frequencies. Here reports should be public soon and will demonstrate scientific proof of health benefits in using essential oils which is quite exciting and I am sure will be welcomed by the aroma therapy community.

Wellness Tourism on the Rise

My favorite session was on the growth and expansion of Wellness tourism presented by Suzie Ellis of SpaFinder. She spoke on “Why You Should Care About Wellness Tourism: Latest Research on the Global Wellness Tourism Market - And How Spas Can Benefit.” She covered the distinctions of medical tourism vs. wellness tourism. Susie said medial tourism focuses on reactive, symptom based medicine that people travel to another state or country to fix and heal. This includes cosmetic surgery, cancer treatments and organ transplants. Wellness tourism promotes a more proactive and less invasive approach that promotes a healthy lifestyle focusing on physical activity, diet and personal development or mind body experiences.  This has become a $439 billion dollar global market with major potential. It encompasses not only spa but alternative medicine, active lifestyles, yoga and mind body fitness which are all overlap the LOHAS market.

I was very impressed at how far the industry has not only grown but also how LOHAS values on wellness have become more integrated.  It appears that spa goers have become more conscious of how they surround themselves in spa settings and what type of ingredients they are putting on their skin and the spa companies are responding.  The recession has made brands and properties smarter in their decisions as it relates to communicating their mission to consumers and property greening as it relates to dollars and cents.  Although work still needs to be done, I look forward to what the industry has in store in the coming years.

 

Six Reasons Why I Love the Green Festival

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 by

Green FestivalWhen the organizers of the Washington, DC Green Festival approached me this past spring about becoming their regional director,  I wondered if an event like this still resonated with consumers. Even though the event is widely recognized as the nation’s premier sustainability event, I asked myself if there was enough demand for an actual event in today’s age of virtual this, "there’s an app for that” and hash tags becoming part of our ever day lexicon.  Especially in a sector where green events have come and gone. Well, I found out that the resounding answer is YES! If my experience in September is any indication, while technology may have taken on a prominent place in our daily lives, there is absolutely a place in consumers’ lives for good, old fashioned face-to-face events.  We crave community and in-person interaction now more than ever. Technology hasn’t lessened the demand for this type of interaction. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  It has increased.  People want to talk with others, gather information and look someone in the eye while doing it.  They want to touch and try out products, taste samples and see for themselves what resources are available to them.  Most importantly they want to be part of a like-minded community and participate in that community.

As my colleagues working on the San Francisco Green Festival gear up for the last event of the year November 9 & 10 at the San Francisco Concourse Exhibition Center, it seems like a good time to  reflect on some of my favorite elements of the Green Festival.

1.       At its core the Green Festival message is about celebrating what is working in the community and providing consumers easy-to-use, actionable solutions they can take home with them and implement right away. Whether it be delicious vegetarian recipes from  Washington Post Food Editor Joe Yonan’s new book ‘Eat Your Vegetables’  to DIY ways to repurpose furniture courtesy of Habitat for Humanity, to tips on bike commuting, composting, gardening, energy efficiency and so much more, there truly is something for everyone.  Kids too.

2.       The opportunity to connect with and learn from inspirational businesses, organizations, nonprofits and other like-minded individuals who believe in making a difference, leaving our planet in better shape then we inherited and finding ways to live an eco-friendly life.  The Festival routinely features well-known, national change agents like Ralph Nader or Amy Goodman, as well as locally-based leaders like Bernadine Prince, co-founder and co-executive director of FRESHFARM Markets, yoga teacher Faith Hunter of Embrace DC, who lead free yoga classes all weekend long in the Yoga Pavilion  and Fashion Fights Poverty, which curated a green fashion show .

3.       The event talks the talk and walks the walk.  Organizers actively encourage attendees to bike or take alternative transportation to reach the Green Festival. Anyone who bikes to the Festival receives free admittance.  Over 90% of waste generated by the Festival is diverted from landfills. There is even have a dedicated team of volunteers who sort through the trash making sure nothing is missed.

4.       As consumers are increasingly interested in where their food comes from, who prepared it and how it was made, that evolution has been reflected in the programming at the Festival. Food as a topic was addressed from every angle imaginable from the control of food production by a handful of large companies, to vegan baking tips from ‘Cupcake Wars’ veteran Doron Petersan, to growing gardens and food in small spaces, to leading area farmers markets and nonprofits showcasing how they are making it easier for consumers to have access to fresh, healthy and local foods.  Exhibitors offered healthful options for mom’s and mom’s to be, fair trade chocolates, juicing and smoothies, raw foods, and organic products just to name a few.  There were panels on how food creates opportunities for conversation about the environment and more.  Food is such an integral part in allowing us to live full lives, and there is so much going on behind the scenes that the average consumer has no idea about, so it’s important to provide opportunities to entertain, educate and inspire change all under one roof.

5.       The creativity and diversity of the exhibitors and sponsors.  They ranged from larger companies like Ford Motor Company test driving their fuel efficient vehicles and Equal Exchange Fair Trade Chocolates sampling and selling their tasty chocolates to small mom and pops like Karmlades selling environmental friendly cleaning products that smell wonderful and clean naturally without chemicals. I fell in love with one-of-kind scarves from a local clothing designer that were designed in the DC area and made with bamboo, an eco-friendly and super soft material.  Other exhibitors whose creativity caught my eye included a woman who used old scarves, jackets and other materials to make home goods, including a pillow made out of a World War II Army uniform, as well as the exhibitor who made bags, wallets and iPad covers out of old football and basketballs. Talk about reusing and recycling!

6.       Organizers are committed to reaching out to the community and making the event accessible to everyone. Complimentary tickets to the event are handed out at events throughout the area, can often be found online and through special social media promotions.

I think the most powerful take away for me was that there continues to be a thriving community, whether they be consumers, speakers, businesses or nonprofit organizations, who are devoted and committed to creating change.  To steal an oft quoted phrase from Ghandi, the Green Festival gives me hope that we will be the change we want to see in the world.

Hope to see you at the San Francisco Green Festival!

17 Ecofriendly Ways to Clean With Baking Soda

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 by

baking sodaAlthough all of us probably have a bright yellow box of this common baking ingredient in our panty most of us do not know the wide variety of uses baking soda has. From keeping your refrigerator smelling fresh to scrubbing away tough stains this multi-purpose powder is a great addition to your arsenal of eco-friendly cleaning products. Here are some ways you can get your home smelling and looking great with baking soda:

  1. Remove grime from pet toys and bowls! To get off dirt, mud, leftover food or just drool baking soda works great. Make a paste with four tablespoons of baking soda and one tablespoon of water and then scrub away with a small brush or just your fingers. Rinse well for smooth and clean bowls and toys for your pet without any harmful chemical residue.
  2. Deodorize baby bottles safely by filling the bottle with warm water and adding a teaspoon of baking soda. Swish the combo around and let it sit for a minute or too. Then rinse well and it is ready to use.
  3. Cleaner hair is just a step away with the addition of baking soda. Sprinkle a dash or two into your daily shampoo to remove residue build up and keep your hair smelling fresh longer.
  4. Clean stuffed animals without water! Dust a handful of baking soda onto the animals and let it sit for fifteen minutes. Then dust or vacuum it off. The animals will look and smell better!
  5. Short on denture or retainer cleaner? Use backing soda as a natural alternative. Fill a glass with warm water and mix in two teaspoons of baking soda. Let the dentures or retainer sit for a few hours or overnight to get clean.
  6. Stinky shoes? Sprinkle the inside of your shoes with baking soda to remove odor and wetness. Let it sit overnight and then knock out the extra powder for fresh smelling shoes.
  7. Oily hairbrushes and combs? Let them soak overnight in a solution of warm water and baking soda. Fill the sink with warm water and add a teaspoon or two of baking soda. In the morning let them dry and they will be as good as new. Make sure you remove the hair before you let them soak!
  8. All over natural car cleaner. Clean your whole car, inside and out, without a scratch or scum build up. Mix a quarter cup of baking soda with a quart of warm water and wash chrome rims, vinyl seats, floor mats, upholstery, tires, windows and everything else!
  9. Oil or grease stains on cement, such as in the garage or on the drive way, can easily be cleaned up with baking soda. Cover the stain with a thick layer and scrub with a wet brush. The stain should come right up.
  10. Too tired to give your dog a bath? Use baking soda instead. Sprinkle a bit of baking soda and then brush it in. This will help your dog smell great and stay looking freshly washed.
  11. Too late to take a shower? Keep your hair looking great with baking soda too! Sprinkle a bit on the crown of your head and work in as you comb or brush your hair. Helps to keep away the oily look and deodorizes.
  12. Keep outdoor furniture looking great with baking soda. Use a damp brush and sprinkle on some baking soda to remove stains and keep your furniture looking great. Add a bit of vinegar to this scrub before storing for the season and you will have mildew free, new looking furniture when the warm days roll around again.
  13. Remove scum from pool and bath toys with baking soda. A quarter cup of baking soda in a quart of warm water can scrub away slime and gunk and keep your pool toys ready for next year. Use for baby’s bath toys too to keep them naturally squeaky clean.
  14. Cleaning grills is a pain. However a great solution is baking soda. Create a paste of four pats baking soda to one part water and scrub the grill with a wire brush. The gunk should fall off easily. Rinse well before firing it up again.
  15. Keep clothes brighter and softer with baking soda. Add a cup to your wash to keep your clothes looking, smelling and feeling great, no chemicals required!
  16. Remove stains from coffee and tea pots. Soak the pot in a solution of a quarter cup of baking soda in a quart of warm water overnight. The stain should be gone by morning. Also works great for stained coffee mugs!
  17. Want sparkling dishes without added chemicals? Add two tablespoons of baking soda to your dishwashing soap and it will cut through tough grease and food with no problems.

Author Byline:

Blogging for was a natural progression for Allison once she graduated from college, as it allowed her to combine her two passions: writing and children. She has enjoyed furthering her writing career with www.nannyclassifieds.com. She can be in touch through e-mail allisonDOTnannyclassifiedsATgmail rest you know.

20 Ways to Use Vinegar to Clean Naturally

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 by

cleaning with vinegarWhite vinegar is a great all around ecofriendly cleaner and a natural way to deodorize, remove stains and sanitize your home! White vinegar can be purchased in large bottles for very little money and has many uses around your home. Here are some of the ways you can use vinegar in your cleaning routine:

1.      Remove pet stains from carpets, upholstery, or bedding by soaking with vinegar. It not only removes the scent but kills the germs too. Blot up and sprinkle with baking soda for an extra scent removal blast. Then just vacuum it up and let dry for a good as new scent and color.

2.      Remove stickiness from a variety of surfaces with undiluted vinegar. Just rub with a vinegar soaked cloth to get off sticker residue, tape or other sticky messes.

3.      Clean and disinfect baby toys by mixing in vinegar with soap and water. You can also use diluted vinegar for just disinfecting already grime free toys.

4.      Remove film from glass bottles, jars, and cups with vinegar. Let the glass soak in vinegar for at least an hour and then rub off the foggy residue.

5.      Clean your coffee pot and have it running like new with vinegar. Just add pure white vinegar to your coffee pot instead of water and run it through two times. Then run plain water through it until the vinegar taste is gone. Vinegar also helps with hard water build up and clogged parts!

6.      Clean your grill with aluminum foil and vinegar. Spray the dirty grill well with vinegar and then let it sit for a few minutes. Take a wadded up sheet of aluminum foil and scrub away. Then toss when you are done for an easy grill cleanup!

7.      Clean your sports equipment and remove stains and mud with vinegar. Scrub the stains with a baking soda paste and then rinse with vinegar for a bubbly and effective stain removal system!

8.      Get paint off hardened paint brushes without the use of toxic chemicals. Let the brushes soak in the vinegar for an hour and then bring the vinegar to a simmer. Let simmer until the brushes are no longer hard and then drain and rinse clean.

9.      Prepare concrete for painting with vinegar. Clean off the area to be painted with vinegar and then let it air dry for a great painting surface.

10.  Kill germs on hard surfaces by spraying with full strength vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe clean. DO not use vinegar on marble surfaces however or it can damage the marble!

11.  Clean your fireplace glass doors with vinegar. Spray it on and let it sit to remove soot and smoke build up. Then rinse off for shiny and sparkly doors! You can also use vinegar to clean out your fireplace and remove smoky odors.

12.  Have you ever sat a wet glass down on wood furniture? Then you know what a pain those white rings can be. Remove them with a mixture of half vinegar and half cooking oil. Rub with the grain and watch the white go away.

13.  Remove wallpaper easily with vinegar. Mix equal parts white vinegar and hot water and then brush or spray on the wallpaper until it is soaked. Let it sit for a minute and then peel off the paper.

14.  Clean wood paneling with a solution of half a cup of vinegar, two cups of water and a fourth of a cup of olive oil. Use a soft cloth to apply and clean the wood.

15.  Substitute baking soda for oil to clean walls and baseboards. Make sure you only dampen the rag and do not get the wall too wet. This also helps to kill the smell of mildew, dust and other odors that stick to the walls.

16.  Remove paint splatters from glass windows with vinegar. Paint on undiluted vinegar with a brush and let it sit. Then wipe away the paint!

17.  Remove waxy residue left by other cleaners from floors and windows with a vinegar solution. Mix two cups of water with one cup of vinegar and a tablespoon of detergent or liquid soap. Apply and let sit for a few minutes before rinsing.

18.  Wash outdoor carpet with a half and half dilution of vinegar with water. Scrub using a brush or broom and then hose off for mold and stink free carpet.

19.  Make your carpet cleaner work better with vinegar. Add a half a cup to your soap solution to remove odors and build up on your carpet. It also helps to keep your carpet cleaner running strong!

20.  Make your own air freshener with vinegar. Combine one cup of water with one teaspoon of baking soda and one tablespoon of white vinegar. Pour into a spray bottle and spray in the air or on surfaces for scent removal.

Author Bio:

Ken Myers is the founder of  http://www.longhornleads.com/ & has learned over the years the importance of focusing on what the customer is looking for and literally serving it to them. He doesn’t try to create a need, instead he tries to satisfy the existing demand for information on products and services.

How Eco Friendly Fashion Will Help You Perform Better

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 by

theives bamboo topEveryday I watch people wriggle about due to poor quality clothing and improper shoes, and I think to myself why aren't more people wearing bamboo? In case you're not aware bamboo is a highly renewable source that can have the feel and look of high quality jersey and once you've worn jersey you don't want to go back. I think when eco friendly clothing started to emerge it looked, well, awful, but the growing market of eco friendly fashion, designers like Nicole Bridger and Thieves are producing beautiful bamboo clothing that can become staple pieces all year round. I love to wear it when I travel because it breaths, it's quite light, soft, and feels silky on the skin.

If you're like me these days, the idea of parting with my hard earned cash for utter rubbish is not appealing. I have a few bamboo pieces that I love to wear in the summer, I stay cool, my body feels more comfortable in turn I feel less tired.  Bamboo clothing is also hypoallergenic and naturally smooth, it never feels heavy and designers who are working with bamboo tend to also use natural dyes making it healthier for the wearer.

But is it enough to want an eco friendly wardrobe, will consumers want to purchase? The growing marketplace is now making it a lot easier to make choices when buying eco friendly fashion, and designers aren't afraid to experiment with fabric so the variety is larger and it's still growing. Wearing an ecofriendly wardrobe was seen as unfashionable and well odd for quite awhile but  in todays increasing market companies like Nike started producing organic products in 2002 and have been dedicated to creating sustainable organic cotton since 2002. 

Jacqueline Carlisle is the editor-in-chief of Think magazine

5 Ways to Increase Energy Sustainability Within Your Business

Monday, May 20, 2013 by

If you're a business owner, you understand the need to cut costs as often as possible in order to promote growth and profit within your company. For every dime saved from spending on one aspect of your business, another can be further increased. For example, saving money on your electric bill each month could put that money into your marketing budget for continued growth. What can be done around the business in order to promote saving money on energy and promoting sustainability?

1. Lighting - As your business may stay open for hours at a time, you could be utilizing a great deal of energy just in lighting alone. Although fluorescent tubes and CFL bulbs are prevalent in many locations, what else can be done? 

  • Spending less than $25 for motion sensing light switches can prevent rooms from wasting power when no one is in them.
  • Solar Energy kits that cost less than $200 can power some of the lighting within the establishment.
  • Dimmer switches can be used to dial back lighting that may be too bright for the area

2. Computer Equipment - Contrary to the beliefs of some techs, computers do not need to be turned on all day and night. In fact, this constant use can impact a computer in a number of negative ways. Cooling fans and computer hardware have a finite lifespan. For each hour spent turned on, the computer system is one hour closer to needing repair. Your servers are the only thing that should be operating constantly.

3. Solar Arrays - Although this could be an expensive investment depending on your energy needs, your business could benefit from tax credits and subsidies for implementing solar power developments. If you are able to install the panels yourself, your business could slowly build an array one panel at a time in order to save a great deal of money on the installation costs as well as the electric bill of the facility. Over time, your business could generate 100-percent of the power it needs in order to conduct day-to-day operations.

4. HVAC Systems - Keeping your establishment comfortable for your customers and staff can improve business relations and productivity. Using products such as Insuladd paint additive can help keep the costs of running heating and cooling units down as they promote thermal barrier technology. Essentially, this adds a layer of insulation to your walls within the paint. Energy efficient cooling and heating appliances such as a Haier air conditioner and an EdenPure heater can decrease these costs as well while providing a comfortable atmosphere.

5. Reduce Electronics - In a small business, is it realistic for everyone to have his or her own printer? Even a device that is unused such as a printer is pulling power while it's turned on. Sleep mode on monitors is still draining power as well. By reducing your appliance load to only necessities, you can save on the amount of power that is wasted by unused and idle hardware.

Although you don't have to invest thousands of dollars to create a 100-percent sustainable power method from solar arrays, there are many ways you can reduce the spending on energy costs while promoting a more eco-friendly atmosphere. The investments you make now for sustainable methods within the business will help your growth in a variety of ways. Investigate other methods of improving efficiency within the workplace and give a boost to other aspects of your business.

About the Author:

Ken Myers is an expert advisor on in-home care & related family safety issues to many websites and groups. He is a regular contributor to www.gonannies.com. You can get in touch with him at kmyers.ceo@gmail.com

Green Jobs: Resources for Careers in Natural, Organic and Sustainable Products

Monday, April 22, 2013 by

Here at Compass Natural Marketing, a lot of folks ask us about resources for finding jobs and career opportunities in the $300 billion LOHAS market, i.e., the “Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability” market for natural, organic, eco-friendly, and socially and environmentally responsible products and services.

There are a lot of great companies and NGOs in the LOHAS market, from organic food to renewable energy and from yoga to green building. In fact, with significant growth in demand for natural, organic and sustainable products, according to the Organic Trade Association, the organic food industry is creating jobs at a much higher rate than the conventional food industry.

Here are some good resources below for finding jobs in the natural and organic foods and sustainable products industry, and for social and environmental mission based organizations.

Of course, if you identify companies you’d like to work for, check their websites. Often, the larger companies, such as Whole Foods Market, UNFI, Pacific Natural Foods, Earthbound Farm, and other brand leaders will have job postings on their own websites. Do some research of your favorite brands.

We welcome your comments and suggestions to add to the list.

Green Job Resources

Green Dream Jobs. You can search by level and region. Awesome resource presented by our friends at SustainableBusiness.com.
www.sustainablebusiness.com/jobs/

Here’s a great resource for sales, marketing, management and executive level jobs in the Denver/Boulder region, created by our friend and colleague Luke Vernon.
www.lukescircle.com

Also, GreenBiz has a great sustainable jobs board.
http://jobs.greenbiz.com

TreeHugger has green job listings.
http://jobs.treehugger.com

Sustainable Industries posts green jobs across the country.
http://sustainableindustries.com/jobs

Just Means job listings have a social mission and NGO focus.
http://www.justmeans.com/alljobs

Natural and Organic Industry Resources. A good compendium of industry resources.
http://naturalindustryjobs.com/natural-organic-foods.asp

Naturally Boulder is another resource for job listings in the Boulder/Denver region.
http://www.naturallyboulderproducts.com/news/#jobs

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Wanting a Peace Corps-like volunteer experience, but on an organic farm somewhere around the world where you can learn about organic agriculture? Feeling young and adventurous? Check out WWOOF.
http://www.wwoof.org

Green Career Guide job thread.
http://greencareerguide.jobthread.com

California Certified Organic Farmers, an excellent organization for organic producers, posts job listings.
http://www.ccof.org/classifieds.php#emp

ReWork:  Founded in 2011 by alumni of the Unreasonable Institute in Boulder, ReWork helps people find careers in values-based, socially responsible and sustainable businesses.
http://rework.jobs/talent

Hope this helps get you started. Happy green job hunting!

________________________________________________

Steven Hoffman is Managing Director of Compass Natural LLC, a full service marketing communications, public relations and business development agency serving natural, organic and sustainable business. Hoffman is Co-founder of the LOHAS Forum annual market trends conference, former Editorial Director of New Hope Natural Media’s natural and organic products trade publication division, and former Program Director of Natural Products Expo East and West. A former Peace Corps volunteer and agricultural extension agent, Hoffman holds a M.S. in Agriculture from Penn State University. Contact steve@compassnatural.com.

Good Investors Love Good Businesses…and Good Businesses Love the LOHAS Accelerator

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 by

Author: Cissy Bullock, Awesome LOHASIAN and CEO LOHAS Asia

We’ve got some seriously good news for LOHAS companies, because if you’re working for a sustainable future of our planet as well as your bottom line, there is a new generation of investors looking to help you expand across the globe, improving the lives of even more LOHAS consumers. LOHAS companies are already seeing rapid growth. Success stories like Patagonia and the delicious Innocent Smoothies prove that mission-based companies with LOHAS values embedded at their core, make very attractive investments.

The rise of conscious capitalism,  whereby consumers, producers and investors assess economic decisions based on their impact on the triple bottom line of People, Planet and Profit, rather than just economic growth, is frequently cited as one of the megatrends for this decade. As part of this, more and more individuals are recognizing the benefits of Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS), and are seeking out more eco friendly, socially aware and sustainable products/brands to support a more balanced way of life. Take a look out of your window any morning before work, you’ll see more and more people walking, running and cycling; if they’re putting that much effort into their health, you can be sure that it’s not the only thing they’re consciously doing to improve their lives.

According to research by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), 56 million consumers in the US, a massive 18% of the population, are LOHAS consumers and the market is estimated to be worth USD290 billion. Across Asia – the worlds fastest growing consumer market – the LOHAS movement is spreading rapidly amongst cultures who have lived with health and sustainability values, and the importance of balance, in their hearts for centuries. LOHAS Asia was set up in response to this movement, helping good companies grow alongside the Asian LOHAS community.

16% of Asian consumers, approx. 300 million people, are LOHASIANS. Ask a resident of one of Tokyo’s bustling city streets what LOHAS stands for and 70% of them will be able to answer correctly. No real surprises, then, why Coca Cola chose Japan to test launch their ‘I LOHAS’ mineral water in their cornstarch, eco-crush PlantBottle.

Across the rest of Asia, awareness of LOHAS is growing, and in China alone, the number of LOHAS consumers is estimated to be 110 million. As environmental concerns escalate, such as those associated with the recent choking smog in Beijing that led one US embassy employee to famously tweet the message “Crazy Bad” in one of their daily air quality posts, health and sustainability will only become more important factors influencing individuals’ consumption choices.

Sustainable product innovation is being driven by the enormous market opportunity that exists with Asian consumers and increasing numbers of LOHAS entrepreneurs are responding with new and exciting market disrupting businesses. LOHAS Asia has members with a widely diverse range of products like Shokay, a yak down fashion brand which supports the herding communities which supply the fiber, to Saught who makes jewelry forged from old Cambodian landmines while supporting mine clearance programs, and eco-friendly household cleaning products made exclusively from soapnuts, called Soapnut Republic. Last year LOHAS Asia provided funding for Arterro, a sustainable art company.

The investment community is studying these exciting developments with interest, looking for conscious capitalists who are aligning purpose with profit. These investors recognize that good businesses make good investments, music to the ears of LOHAS entrepreneurs looking to scale their business, but concerned that the cost of investment is a lessening of the values upon which their company was founded.

With LOHAS companies looking for investment and LOHAS investors desperate to find the best opportunities within the market place, we put together the LOHAS Accelerator program, a business incubator that brings LOHAS companies together with an extraordinary team of cross-industry experts from Accenture, Google, Ogilvy & Mather, Silicon Valley as well as some of our own successful LOHAS entrepreneurs.

The LOHAS Accelerator team provides LOHAS companies with all the training, advice and support their business needs to develop a business plan into an investment winning pitch ready to present to venture capital funds.

LOHAS companies that are based in Asia, or have an Asian element of their business (supply, production, plans for expansion) can apply to pitch their business to our panel of LOHAS investors. Provided they can make a captivating business case, they could receive investment of anywhere between USD50,000 to USD10 million.

I spoke to one of the LOHAS Accelerators consultants, Chen Ley Ong, a triple-bottom line Silicon Valley angel and Cradle Fund mentor, "It's exciting to be a part of LOHAS Accelerator program because it brings forth the new wave of entrepreneurship – enterprises with a mission that benefit society and environment, i.e. social enterprises. The traditional business model is no longer a sustainable option. The LOHAS Accelerator program prepares entrepreneurs to shape and grow their enterprises in a healthy and sustainable manner."

Our last round saw the successful investment of $100,000 in LOHAS Hub Member, Indosole, who craft a range of fashionable and functional footware from old motorbike tires, which are salvaged directly from landfills, sanitized, and then transformed by the Balinese community who make them. This investment has helped them transition to a larger production facility in Indonesia, allowing them to increase inventory, attract further investment and build their team of quality staff, brand awareness and sales.

“Application to the LOHAS Accelerator was one of the best business decisions I have ever made.” Kyle Parsons, founder of Indosole, “The process was smooth, comfortable and very supportive from start to finish. The LOHAS Accelerator gave me the ability to identify my business model and then put it into action with experienced and professional consultants from Accenture; and all for free! Fortunately for Indosole, we got the funding we needed to grow our business. Additionally, we gained a strategic partnership with a group of people who genuinely care and have the ability to take our business to the next level in SE Asia.”

These are truly exciting times for the LOHAS movement, the companies working for our planet as well as their profit margin and the consumers who are trying to live a little more LOHAS. The unique LOHAS Accelerator program links the new wave of social entrepreneurs to enlightened investors and the skills and experience of experts from some of the world’s top companies. If you are interested in learning more about the LOHAS Accelerator, either as a LOHAS business or a LOHAS investor, please contact Cissy from LOHAS Asia.

 

Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years Ted Ning is widely regarded as the epicenter of all things LOHAS leading many to affectionately refer to him as ‘Mr. LOHAS’. He is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, which advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace.  The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets.  For more information on Ted visit  www.tedning.com

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 by

While it seems like every time we turn around there is a new green something-or-other on the market – which would make us think these are moving in a more sustainable direction – consumers’ perceptions of eco-friendly products are actually moving in the wrong direction.  NMI’s annual LOHAS Consumer Trends Database® (LCTD) keeps a pulse of how consumer sentiment and behavior change on a yearly basis.  One noticeable trend from the 2012 LCTD is that negative perceptions of environmentally-friendly products is keeping an increasing number of consumers out of the market, even while more people know about them, and know where to buy them.

% U.S. general population adults indicating which of the following prevents them from using environmentally-friendly products/services

 

Consumers always complain about price, regardless of product or industry.  But, with specific regard to environmentally-friendly products, consumers are increasingly price sensitive, particularly since 2008 (shown above and in other NMI data).  In fact, cost as a barrier to buying environmentally-friendly products is up 14% annually since 2005. 

These data show that we are past the point of being able to charge more for green products!  We have to make the value and benefits clear to consumers – saving the planet is not reason enough to charge more.  In addition, consumers perceive that environmentally-friendly products do not work as well as consumers’ regular products.  So, in effect, consumers feel like they’re being asked to pay more for a product that underperforms. 

While consumers feel more knowledgeable about environmentally-friendly products (no small achievement), demonstrating the value – through a three-pronged approach of continuing to drive cost down, improving quality, and communicating other benefits such as safe around kids and pets – must happen for the green marketplace to continue to grow. 

 

For more insights like these, visit www.nmisolutions.com.  NMI is an international strategic marketing consultancy specializing in health, wellness and sustainability since 1990 with full service consulting and market research services. 

Marketing Biobased Content Credibly

Monday, December 17, 2012 by

Communicating the benefits of “biobased” content, the world’s newest ecological marketing term, is often tricky. Biobased represents all of green marketing’s traditional challenges — including greenwash — but has additional, unique challenges all its own. Happily, strategies and a credible third party label now exist.

Opportunities For Biobased Products and Packaging
There are many reasons for a business to use biobased content instead of traditional petroleum-based ingredients in their products, including:  it helps grow the farm economy, promotes energy independence, and helps manage carbon impacts, providing a useful hedge against potential future carbon taxes. Finally, biobased agricultural and other renewable material can mitigate petroleum’s wild price fluctuations, supply disruptions and geopolitics.

From an image and marketing perspective, a shift to biobased content can enhance reputation with stakeholders, including risk adverse investors. It can boost sales in the B2B and B2C sectors, as well as support and enhance many types of ‘green’ claims. Let’s look at these in more depth.

Selling opportunities are growing in the federal, commercial, and consumer markets. In the U.S., for instance, the federal sector will benefit from an Obama executive order signed in March 2012 to double the amount of biobased purchases.

Initial market research suggests consumer willingness to purchase biobased products and packages. Research commissioned by Genencor in 2011 suggests 40% of Americans are ‘aware of’ the term biobased and 77% will ‘definitely’ or ‘likely’ buy comparable biobased products.

In the consumer sector, biobased content can halo a brand.Coke’s new partly sugarcane-based PET ‘PlantBottle’ (with ‘up to’ 30% bioplastic), reinforces the brand positioning of Coke’s health-oriented Dasani bottled water and Odwalla juice brands. PlantBottle is now being licensed from Coke by H.J. Heinz for its iconic ketchup brand. An image of the bottle is below.

In 2010, 83% of U.S. adults identify with ‘green’ values, with various segments expressing their own reasons for likely interest in biobased. For instance, the LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) segment represents the deep green consumers who take a holistic approach to all things sustainable and green; Naturalites look for organic food, natural personal care, cleaning and pet foods; Conventionals conserve natural resources; and status conscious Drifters who like to be seen carrying cloth shopping bags and driving a Toyota Prius. (Source: The Natural Marketing Institute).

Together, these consumers fuel a $290 billion U.S. market for natural products, renewable energy and more benign household products. Well-known brands that actively incorporate biobased content include Ford, Seventh Generation, Stonyfield Farm, and Procter & Gamble’s Gillette ProFusion and Pantene brands.

Marketing Challenges of Biobased

1. Unfamiliarity. Consumers don’t know the meaning of ‘biobased’. The term is not in the dictionary and is limited to scientific, engineering and B2B usages. USDA, which introduced a “USDA Certified Biobased Label” in early 2011, defines biobased as made from agricultural materials, forestry and marine based sources; so, even a well-informed consumer needs to learn that biobased products come from more than soy and corn.

2. Risk of Greenwash. Because biobased is unfamiliar but sounds ‘green’, consumers can infer such environmental benefits as “natural”, “renewable” and “biodegradable” which may or may not be the case depending upon the product. Benefits that are too easily and often incorrectly implied or overstated increase reputation risk.

Green marketing lessons of the past still apply. As Mobil learned the hard way, in the early 1990’s, their Hefty trash bags which were marketed as ‘photodegradable’ (although not called biobased) were pulled from the market after seven state attorneys general sued saying that the bags would disintegrate (i.e., break down into small fragments under the influence of heat and/or oxygen) but not degrade in landfills for which they were intended and advertised. (See the recently revised FTC Green Guides for further detail.)

3. Science. The ASTM D6866 scientific test standard upon which the USDA Certified Biobased label is based, helps define ‘biobased’ and accurately measure content.  Even with this credibility, results present communication challenges. Because the test measures biobased content as a percent of total carbon content, minerals and water are excluded. This can make comparisons difficult between products that contain minerals and water versus those with only biobased ingredients.

4. Red flags. Despite its many benefits, biobased content raises some red flags among some segments of consumers. For instance, some biobased products could compromise performance;  a case in point, the first Sun Chips ‘compostable’ bag made from corn-based PLA bioplastic had to be withdrawn because it was noisy; PLA manufacturer Natureworks quickly reformulated.

Also, some consumers take issue with biobased materials made from genetically altered crops (as is the case with most corn and soy grown in the U.S.), or are concerned about the effect agriculturally-based content may have on food prices.

Some may also question the sustainability of the harvesting practices. Finally, some consumers are concerned that biobased ingredients are imported rather than domestic, thus representing carbon impacts associated with transporting the materials from distant shores, or steal business from domestic farmers.

5. Confusion and misinformation. Still, many consumers — and even product marketers — mix up the terms ‘bio-based’ and ‘bio-degradable’. Both these properties are absolutely independent. Biobased refers to the origin of a material and biodegradable refers to the end-of-life. Biobased does not mean a material is biodegradable and vice-versa.


Success Strategies for Marketing Biobased Products and Packaging

To market biobased products and packaging with impact, relevance and credibility consider the following strategies:

1. Promote uniformity to let consumers compare biobased content by adhering to ASTM D6866. Disclose the source of the biobased content and dsitinguish between content that applies to product and package. Understand implications of grammatical constructions of ‘made with’, ‘made from’ and ‘made of’.

2. Follow FTC Green Guides (in the U.S.) and other applicable country guidelines when making environmental marketing claims of or related to biobased content. The recently updated FTC Green Guides provides specific guidance for such terms that biobased products can support such as ‘biodegradable’, ‘compostable’, and ‘renewable’.

Despite obvious consumer associations of biobased as ‘ecofriendly’, avoid what FTC describes as ‘generalized environmental benefit claims’.  Avoid images of ‘planets, babies and daisies’ that could imply the product is greener or contain more biobased content than in fact.
Make sure to portray environmental benefits from a total life cycle perspective.

3. Support claims with the USDA Certified Biobased label and other applicable biobased certifications to underscore credibility. Educate consumers on the meaning of ‘biobased’ and the underlying basis for the label.

4. Consider additional complementary sustainability-related certifications as appropriate. For instance, many products qualify forBPI’s CompostableUSDA OrganicU.S. EPA’s Design for Environment, and the independent Green Seal certification labels. The same is true for certification schemes in a number of other countries.

5. Carefully research and address consumer ‘red flag’ concerns. Reassure about performance and specify product applications.

Jacquelyn Ottman and Mark Eisen are colleagues at New York City-based J. Ottman Consulting, Inc., expert advisors to industry and government for strategic green marketing. They advised the U. S. Department of Agriculture on the launch of the USDA Certified Biobased label during 2011 and are now working with labelers on capturing the value of their participation in the program.

Jacquie Ottman is the author of The New Rules of Green Marketing: Strategies, Tools and Inspiration for Sustainable Branding (Greenleaf Publishing U.K., 2011). Mark Eisen is the former environmental marketing director at The Home Depot.

Additional Blog Posts on this Topic:

Leading Universities for Sustainable Studies

Monday, November 26, 2012 by

The field of sustainability has evolved from a small niche of environmentalists into a transdisciplinary field that spans from local agriculture to global business. Today, people around the globe are much more aware of the problems facing mankind and the planet as a whole. The population is estimated to grow to nine billion by 2050, an increase that will only further strain our planet's natural resources. In these universities, teachers and students are committing their careers to developing the principles and practices that will allow the human race to achieve a sustainable future.

1. The University of California at Davis

UC Davis has a long history of teaching organic farming, but it wasn't until last year that sustainable agriculture was added to the curriculum. Today, UC Davis offers a degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems that explores the social, economic and environmental aspects of food and agriculture. This course of study goes beyond the farm and the table to the wider global impact of a sustainable food supply.

2. The Center for Alternative Technology

Located in Wales, the CAT eco-center focuses on all aspects of sustainable living and also provides classes for the public and professionals. Its permanent exhibitions of alternative technologies serve as the leading tourist attractions in the area.  In 2000, CAT began to teach post graduate studies, and in 2010 CAT built the Wales Institute for Sustainable Education (WISE). The WISE building currently serves as a lecture hall as well as a case study for sustainable architecture practices. Since 2008, the Center has offered a Professional Diploma in Architecture.

3. The College of the Atlantic

Students of the College of the Atlantic all share a single major: human ecology. Professors and students at College of the Atlantic approach sustainable issues through various areas of study – such as arts, sciences or business – offering a comprehensive approach to human ecology and its principles. The school also offers only a single graduate concentration, a Master's in Philosophy in human ecology.

4. Oregon Institute of Technology

In 2008, the Oregon Institute of Technology began the first four-year undergraduate degree program in renewable energy systems in the United States. This Bachelor of Science in Renewable Energy Engineering establishes the engineering principles that will promote and integrate alternative energy sources into mainstream society. The degree is taught in both Klamath Falls and Portland, Ore.

5. The Earth Institute at Columbia University

The Earth Institute is a branch of the Columbia University's NYC campus. The EI hosts a variety of majors and degree paths for environmental sciences. Students who are interested in conservation, engineering or evolutional biology can receive an education that will prepare them for careers that value the Earth.

6. The University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is located in Philadelphia and is often called "Penn". Like Columbia, it is an Ivy League school and is one of the oldest and renowned in the United States. The University offers a "Green MBA", which is actually a major in Environmental and Risk Management. The Green MBA teaches the "triple bottom line" principles that comprise a sustainable business model and is a good choice for those who plan to pursue careers with sustainable business initiatives.

7. Center for Sustainable Fashion at London College

This institution melds research, creativity and business to support a sustainable approach to the fashion industry. The Center for Sustainable Fashion at London College encourages social change through fashion trends. The institution challenges the status quo and encourages students to make a positive impact in an industry that can radically change the social and economic realities of our world.

8. The University of New Hampshire

 This school, located in Durham, New Hampshire, makes the list with its dual major EcoGastronomy. The major integrates sustainable agriculture with hospitality management and nutrition for a comprehensive and holistic approach to selecting and preparing food for health and taste.

9. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

Students of the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design can select from a variety of different creative majors with an emphasis in sustainable practices.  Complementing sustainable architecture is the sustainable interior design initiative in which students learn the brass tacks of designing as well as the environmental impacts on human behavior and eco-friendly building materials and systems.

Nadia Jones is an education blogger for Onlinecollege.org where she writes about education news, online learning platforms, and accredited online colleges. She recently helped compile an Online College Catalogue for prospective students. Nadia welcomes your comments and questions at nadia.jones5@gmail.com.

 

Making Sense of the FTC Revised Green Guidelines

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 by

It only took them 20 years (The first Guides were issued in 1992), but then again, as the saying goes, every overnight sensation is twenty years in the making. Maybe the FTC Green Guide staff put in their 10,000 hours, but, at last, they nailed it. The revisions to the Green Guides, published on October 1, 2012, shows that the FTC is finally putting their foot down (both of them) about the term 'green', along with such related generalized environmental claims as 'eco-friendly' and 'Earth smart'.

While they are at it, they're advising against the use of any label, logo, seal or product name or image -- what I like to call 'daisies, babies or planets' --  that can imply any hint of environmental (or health) superiority without adequate scientific support. Because chances are such claims are nearly impossible to support, the risk-adverse will stay far away from suggesting same.

And just in time, too. Interest in green claims continues to swell despite tough economic times. As global population climbs to an unimaginable 9 billion by 2050, we'll no doubt find many more ways  for consumers to 'go green', with accompanying eco-language to boot (Will "Mars friendly" be next?) But for now, we're all still here. So hopefully there's still time to clean up the green marketing business so we can one day harvest the potential to lighten consumers' size-18 planetary footprint.

The lawyers at the FTC did what 'greening' requires everyone to do — to think holistically, acknowledging the need to back up environmental marketing claims with life cycle assessments. They obviously consulted with some smart ecologists and biologists because the revised Green Guides demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of sound science. The Guides don't explicitly state the science, but for us laymen, here's a quick crib sheet that can help you understand why they're saying what they're saying:

There's no such thing as a green product. Every product uses resources and energy and creates waste.
One attribute does not a green product make.  An Energy Star certified compact fluorescent light bulb has a tinge of mercury (and as such require a hazardous waste permit to landfill in quantities of five or more.) Organic strawberries grown in California and eaten in New York are responsible for creating so many greenhouse gases on the trip cross country we might as well eat berries conventionally grown in New Jersey. Paper made from sustainably-certified wood still needs to be bleached and / or otherwise processed with dangerous chemicals and shipped to Staples.

Should CFLs not be Energy Star qualified? Should strawberries destined to hit the road not be labeled organic? Should paper that's on its way to be bleached not be described as 'sustainable'? Definitely not! Let's simply be more specific, as FTC recommends, and not suggest they are totally 'green'. (More on this below.)

100% recycled content can be less 'green' than 10% recycled content.  Depending upon the nature of the recycled content and how far it must be shipped to a recycling center, environmental costs of shipping and other impacts can actually make a recycled product less 'green' than a virgin counterpart.
Natural is not necessarily green or more healthful. Arsenic is naturally occurring.

Sustainable is a moving target. Corn may be in plentiful supply today and able to be regrown year after year, but when water supplies wane, it may not be so 'sustainable' to continue to grow it, no matter how fast or how economically it can be converted into bio-plastics and biofuel.

So, green is a relative, rather than absolute, measure. The best way to determine relative greenness is a bona fide life cycle assessment covering all facets of a product's environmental impacts, from raw materials procurement straight through to disposal. This is duly acknowledged in the latest installment of the FTC Green Guides.

We are the next endangered species on the planet. The planet is not at risk, we are. (Yet another reason not to include images of planets in one's advertising or to make grandiose claims about saving it.) This is not a political issue, but an issue of our future, and particularly those of our kids' and their kids.

So it's incumbent upon every marketer, manufacturer, retailer, producer, and everyone else in the supply chain and their stakeholders to understand not just these Guidelines and ideally their scientific underpinnings, but to do what we can to make all green marketing work as it's supposed to.
We in industry -- and concerned consumers, too -- should get on the case of questionable green claims. In their infinite wisdom and thoroughness, the FTC provides lots of helpful information for marketers and to the public to make the process of reporting such claims easy. (The National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau can help too.)

Green marketing is just good marketing. As I've been saying for a while now -- and it is admittedly counter-intuitive, the best green marketing doesn't lead with a product's 'greenness'. The good news about many green(er) products these days is that, thanks to advances in design, materials and technology, they offer superior delivery on the primary benefits that consumers buy products for. So why not focus on those things instead of altruism and planets that don't need to be saved?

At a minimum, consider that environmental marketing, reflecting the planet itself, encompasses so many potential product-related attributes, organic, VOC, recycled, biodegradable, among them, as to render the term 'green' meaningless. Rather than confuse, even deceive, consumers intentionally or unintentionally with messages about 'eco-friendliness' and 'natural' (which in their infinite wisdom, the FTC refused to define) why not hone in on those green-oriented terms that a now mass market seeks via all its segmentary splendor: 'energy efficient', 'organically grown', 'water efficient', 'recyclable', among them, and render your marketing both relevant, targeted, and credible? (FTC would love you for being specific.)
Moreover, let's link those same 'green' attributes to the benefits they deliver to consumers. For instance, let's tout all things 'water efficient' as 'cost effective', and 'fuel efficient' as 'convenient (fewer fill-ups and the ability to drive in the HOV lane).

Does this mean we should not talk about 'the environment' at all?  Not in the least!  Consumers still want specific, well-documented and genuinely helpful environment-related information -- so let's include them in our marketing messages in its secondary or tertiary place in line with its importance on our customer's shopping list.

All of us environmental types like to talk about how, 'if we do our jobs right we'll put ourselves out of business'. Well, before we get run out of town for more greenwash and hogwash by a now enlightened FTC (and the Enforcement Division that stands ready to pounce) let's agree to put ourselves out of the 'save the planet' business and into the business of saving our customers some money, time, etc. in an environmentally sound way -- and make our marketing more legitimately green for our bottom lines, rather than our faces red with shame.

Jacquelyn Ottman is principal and founder of the New York City-based J. Ottman Consulting, expert advisers on green marketing to Fortune 500 sustainability leaders as well as several U.S. government labeling programs. The author of four books on the subject, her latest is The New Rules of Green Marketing: Strategies, Tools, and Inspiration for Sustainable Branding (Berrett-Koehler, February 2011).

 

Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years Ted Ning is widely regarded as the epicenter of all things LOHAS leading many to affectionately refer to him as ‘Mr. LOHAS’. He is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, which advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace.  The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets.  For more information on Ted visit  www.tedning.com


 

4 Green Pinterest Boards Every Eco Conscious Person Should Follow

Monday, August 6, 2012 by

Pinterest may be the newest social media/bookmarking site that most college students are enamored with at the moment—after all it features tons of great fresh and trendy DIY crafts, recipes, and clothes—but the digital pin board can also be used for a greater purpose: teaching users how to live a greener lifestyle. Whether you're looking for inspiration to transform your home (or dorm room) into an eco-friendly haven or you're simply wondering what new clean technologies are in developments, Pinterest can help satisfy your curiosity. That said, below are some prime "green" Pinterest boards you should start following today.

Plants Anything Green Garden

One of the easiest ways to promote sustainability is to plant your own herb or vegetable garden in your backyard. But if you're unsure of where to start, what to plant, or how to construct beds for your plants, then this board can really help you out. With more than 78 fabulous pins that explain what perennial herbs are and how to construct a DIY self-watering planter for example, this particular board is loaded with tons of useful information for the eco-conscious. Just make sure to double click the images to re-direct you to the original location of the pin for step-by-step directions.

Green Buildings I Digg

Like the name suggests this board is filled with beautifully constructed sustainable buildings that the owner, Bidgette Meinhold, finds interesting. But we find her particular taste interesting too. If you're looking for some inspiration on how to design and construct your new eco-friendly home or you just want to know what some consumers in various parts of the world are doing to make their homes and businesses sustainable then become one of the 300 plus followers of this board.

Clean Tech

If you're interested to know what certain clean tech gadgets and tools universities are working on then this board would be essential to follow. While it allows users to get a better idea of what's in store for the future, it also has some great clean tech DIY tips that the average user can construct at home, such as how to turn your plants into a cell phone charger. Hopefully the owner Planet Forward continues to add to the 34 pins already featured on the board.

Green Lifestyle Consulting

Green Lifestyle Consulting, which like the name suggests is a board that is designed to help users live a greener lifestyle. The board is run by a wife-husband duo. There are so many different pins featured that they're organized into different categories, including: For the Home, Political Action and Ideas, Tips to go Green, and Raising Green Children.

LOHAS

And of course there is the LOHAS board that provides visuals of the various elements LOHAS embodies. For those who are visually inclined it may provide a clearer picture on how LOHAS sectors are connected and the best contexts to consider when explaining it to others or determining if one is LOHAS. Boards include personal develolpment, images of nature, food and energy efficiency to name a few.

An expert in the construction industry, freelance writer Kristie Lewis offers tips and advice on choosing the best construction management colleges. She also enjoys writing about green building practices for business and home owners. She welcomes any questions and comments you might have at Kristie.lewis81@gmail.com.

Top 10 Reasons Why The 2012 LOHAS Forum Is Unique

Monday, May 14, 2012 by

 

1. Blend of Right and Left brain thinking . LOHAS is a unique blend of sustainability, conscious leadership, personal development and spirituality. No other conference blends these three elements in such a fashion and provides the context of how they are all interconnected. This formula brings together executives who are going in the same direction, professionally and personally, but don’t know each other. It is common for attendees to know very few others at LOHAS which as a good thing because it means fresh opportunities. 
 
2. Integration of the event into Boulder. Many attendees get excited about the event being in Boulder because they love the city or have always wanted to visit. Rather than having to explore the city on their own time outside of the conference, LOHAS 2012 is using several historic and well-known locations in downtown that are within a block of each other. We will be using the historic Boulder Theater for our morning general sessions and keynotes, the organic restaurant Shine for our lunches, the Rembrant Yard for our exhibit space and afternoon breakout sessions at these locations plus the Shambala Center and the classic Boulderado hotel. Think of it more of a block party in format.
 
3. Permission to be yourself. LOHAS gives attendees permission to drop the armor that we typically wear with when we put our professional agenda before who we really are. LOHAS allows people to come as individuals first to develop relations on a heartfelt personal level which then leads to stronger business relations with other attendees.
 
4. Business gets done. There have been countless stories of successful business relations being developed at LOHAS ranging from nonprofits getting significant donations to new hirings to company mergers tand investments in the millions of dollars. Even romantic relations have blossomed from the event. Because of the structure and the types of decision makers who attend the event LOHAS has become a catalyst for great business.
 
5. Tangible take away. LOHAS has several two-hour workshops on the front and back end of the program for a deep dive into subjects. This gives attendees information to take back to their own businesses and immediately apply it. The workshops include topics such as employee engagement with sustainability, how to be a better public speaker, how to pitch to media, how to ask for money, tapping into intuitive leadership skills and many others.
 
6. Gift room. The gift room of LOHAS is legendary. Instead of a gift bag that is pre-stuffed as we have all received at other conferences, LOHAS give a one time access to a room that is stocked with LOHAS organic and eco friendly items such as chocolate, snacks, soaps, skin care, books and more that attendees select and put in their own bag rather than what is pre-stuffed. It is much more interactive and engaging.
 
7. Edutainment factor. The morning sessions are much more that business keynotes. They are designed to stir the soul through inspiring elements of music, art, and inspiration. These are sprinkled into the morning sessions between the high powered talks from LOHAS entrepreneurs and influencers making the mornings much more alive. These will be a lot of fun and something you will not forget!
 
8. Cutting edge data presented. We have the up to date data on LOHAS consumer trends, green consumer trernds and wellness trends worth thousands of dollars presented at LOHAS. If you are a data fiend you will be quite satisfied. 
 
9. Extra activities. Several events happen around the event. The LOHAS Insight tour gives people a chance to visit Boulder based LOHAS companies and get a behind the scenes look of their operations. The Impact Investing Collaboratory brings entrepreneurs and investors together to discuss the investment dating game. Attendees can get their days started right with morning yoga or meditation before the sessions. B-Cycle, Boulder’s community bike share program is offering a $10 week pass for attendees to use their bike system throughout Boulder. B-Corp is hosting a networking reception at the Boulder Go Lite store. And then there is the infamous LOHAS after party that goes into the wee hours of the morning.
 
10. Provides community access. This year LOHAS wants to invite the Boulder community a pass that gives access to the morning keynote sessions held at the Boulder Theater and the exhibit space in the afternoons. This is a very reasonably priced pass and provides the opportunity for locals who are busy or who cannot afford the larger full attendee pass rate. If you are in town and want to experience a bit of LOHAS now is your chance!

 

Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years Ted Ning is widely regarded as the epicenter of all things LOHAS leading many to affectionately refer to him as ‘Mr. LOHAS’. He is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, which advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace.  The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets.  For more information on Ted visit  www.tedning.com

 

Green Corporations... Can You Trust Them?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 by

Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Sprint, KFC, Shell, Chase, Ford, Staples, CVS and the long list goes on.  These larger than life brands immediately conjure up images and thoughts of our past experiences that have either helped or hurt these companies perception regarding sustainability.  

Image courtesy of Yum Brands


Of the ten companies above, 100% are doing something around sustainability issues related to their respective industries.  Some are improving energy, some reducing waste, some have take-back programs, some are are even developing products for the eco-conscious consumer. Whatever the companies are doing, a larger issue is hiding just under the surface… trust!  

We have all felt and witnessed corporate green-washing, but is this simply the beginning of the change process, we all have to start somewhere, right?  Corporate sustainability and CSR are poised to be the next evolution of business trends, similar to how IT changed the game. How can we know that these companies are sincere, committed and really able to transform their impact?  Should we care or shop elsewhere?

A tougher issue many of us already know, is that the base product lines of these companies don't exactly help people or the planet. There are health studies, insider videos, user testimonials, advocacy groups and other opposing groups asking us quite directly 'not' to support some of these companies.  Are these  really the opposite of the shop local movement, considering others in our community are employed there? 

So, what's a good socially responsible citizen to do?  More over, what is a newly socially responsible corporation to do, when they have the realities of their industry and various product lines to transform?  

Here is a fast recap of just some of the eco-positive moves BIG companies are undertaking: 
1. CVS is rewarding consumers for bringing reusable bags with their Green Bag Tags 
2. Sprint has a new line of eco-friendly mobile phones with less environmental impact.  
3. Ford is releasing an electric vehicle on the way called the Focus Electric.  
4. Staples is directly crediting shoppers for taking back used ink cartridges.
5. KFC has released the first ever reusable side container in the fast food industry (just don't tell the SF Soup Company


Hopefully this corporate sustainability trend will continue and grow until the "S" word is removed and sustainability is just part of doing good business, that serves the triple bottom line. I guess we will have to call this LOHA then?   

If you want to read more about what the world's largest companies are doing please pop over to triplepundit.com and do a search for any company.  Some news is positive, some negative and some down right controversial, but all of it interesting and forces us to question our beliefs.  

Jared Brick is completing his MBA in Sustainable Management at the Presidio Graduate School in SF.  He is working on creating the first ever reusables tracking platform, rewarding consumers everywhere in their retail experiences.  Follow the journey at traxactions.com or on twitter: traxactions
 

Many Consumers Feel Many Products Are Over-Packaged

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 by

over packagingNMI's annual U.S. LOHAS Consumer Trends Study® has found most American consumers are adopting a "less is more" attitude when it comes to consumer product packaging. Specifically, three-quarters of respondents said they believe many consumer products are over-packaged, and about one-quarter of those surveyed said they will overlook such products for those with more minimal packaging. The survey, which will provide many additional data results on consumer trends, also revealed in addition to minimal packaging, consumers prefer by recyclable packaging and use of packaging materials that are environmentally friendly.{C}{C}{C}{C}

"The 'less is more' trend continues to resonate with consumers," confirmed Steve French, managing partner at NMI. "Marketers can maintain current and attract new consumers by using less packaging and 'greener' packaging materials. Specifically, 'renewable' and 'plant-based' materials are rated most environmentally-friendly among consumers." Based on these results, he and his team suggested businesses to incorporate new environmental materials where applicable and promote any use of post-consumer recycled packaging. However, while consumers favor eco-friendly options, companies should be careful not to adopt environmentally friendly packaging at the expense of the product or its experience, according to NMI. NMI will be providing more details on thier annual consumer studies at the annual LOHAS Forum June 12-14th in Boulder. The premiere event focusing on the LOHAS market.

 

Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years Ted Ning is widely regarded as the epicenter of all things LOHAS leading many to affectionately refer to him as ‘Mr. LOHAS’. He is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, which advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace.  The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets.  For more information on Ted visit  www.tedning.com

Green Marketing Q&A with Seri McClendon, CLEAN Agency CEO

Thursday, July 28, 2011 by

The 2011 Green Brands Survey recently found that consumer interest in green products continues to increase and has expanded across categories – from personal care, food and household products to automotive, energy and technology goods. Companies across all sectors are rolling out new and or improved products touting eco-friendly attributes. With such a varied selection of products making green claims, how does one make an educated decision on the best products for their family and lifestyle? Seri McClendon, chief executive officer of CLEAN Agency, shares insight on this issue.

Seri McClendon

What are businesses doing to meet consumer demand for eco-friendly products and services?

Sustainability has become a key business issue for consumer product companies. They recognize that in order to remain competitive they must shift to meet the changing demands of consumers and of the environment. To do this, businesses are taking a critical look at their supply chains and determining how they can produce better products that have a reduced impact on the environment and can still deliver on their brand promise. Some of the ways this is being done include responsible raw material sourcing, more efficient manufacturing processes and reduced, reusable or recyclable packaging materials to cut waste to landfills. Companies are also beginning to highlight such innovations on their product packaging to promote their commitment to environmental stewardship and gain loyalty from like-minded consumers.

When shopping for green products, what should consumers know about “greenwashing” and how can they evaluate eco-friendly product claims?

Greenwashing has received a lot of attention lately as more and more businesses try to capitalize on the growing consumer interest in green products. Greenwashing refers to deceptive marketing used to promote a misleading statement or perception about a product, policy or service.  The first step in making smart purchase decisions is to educate yourself before heading to the store. GreenerChoices.org is an excellent resource for consumers that want to learn more about specific product claims and their meaning. The site provides independently researched, unbiased information on product safety, health and nutrition, updated label claims and other related topics.

Certification labels from reputable environmental organizations can also help consumers choose sustainable products. The Environmental Protection Agency, for example, provides Energy Star certification for energy efficient home appliances and the Design for the Environment label for high performance, cost effective and environmentally-friendly cleaning products. Responsible consumer product companies like Seventh Generation, Patagonia and Aveda also document and substantiate product claims on their web site.

How can consumers further drive sustainability efforts of their favorite brands?

Be vocal! Let the brands you patronize know how you feel about their products and their efforts towards becoming more sustainable. Share feedback on a company’s web site, comment on news stories written about sustainable innovations of your favorite brands and leverage the power of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to let companies know what you want from their products and services.

ABOUT SERI MCCLENDON

Seri McClendon is the CEO of CLEAN Agency. She is an industry veteran with more than 22 years of marketing experience. Seri formed CLEAN, an integrated agency serving the sustainable business sector, from her passion for environmental studies, policy and science. She holds a Masters degree in Geography with an emphasis in Industrial Ecology and a BA in marketing. Seri is a member of The USC Center for Sustainable Cities Advisory Board and was recently recognized as an Outstanding Woman in Environment and Energy Efficiency by the 2011 Women in Business Awards. 

What's New In Sustainable Materials?

Saturday, June 25, 2011 by

LOHAS: What’s New in Sustainable Materials?

elephant journal is proud to be the official new media partner with LOHAS Forum Click here for our ongoing LOHAS coverage , and be sure to follow our live coverage on Twitter .

Does it trouble you that styrofoam cups are still being used in the majority of PTA meetings around the country or church group gatherings?  How about these insidious cups ubiquitously showing up in the ritual coffee breaks of all the meetings you attend? Think of the thousands of construction site coffee breaks, when the whistle blows.  If you discover the only option you have at the office water cooler is a styrofoam cup, maybe you’ll decide to “blow the whistle” and green your company.

Challenge to Change

The stealth poisons lurking in those styrofoam cups cause havoc once inside the body. According to a 1992 U.S.D.H.H.S. study conducted by Jakoby, Claassen, & Sullivan, there is no internal biological mechanisms for metabolizing or eliminating the carcinogenic styrene from the human body.

Steve Davies of Natureworks, a company devoted to bringing a new family of performance “plastics” into the marketplace, gave a comprehensive overview of the challenges and opportunities we have to replace petroleum based packaging. Healthy alternatives to the use of conventional plastic are created from plant sugars, not byproducts from fossil fuels or oil. The value and importance of these new materials is simple to understand, they are compostable and need not end up in landfills where toxins fester for decades.

It’s not easy to transform conventional practices and change our standard way of doing things. If you think it’s easy, try changing your own habits.

Davies, Director of Marketing and Public Affairs for Nature Works LLC walked the audience through the trials and tribulations of Frito Lays efforts to change their packaging. At the launch of Frito Lay’s 100% compostable Sun Chips bag, their initial promotion garnered 115,000,000 million impressions in the main stream media in the first 2 days. That’s practically a Guinness Book of World Records in advertising parlance. The worlds first compostable chip bag was met with tremendous expectations and plenty of media hoopla. Then they came up against a fickle marketplace reaction. Consumers and critics decided the bags were too noisy. Frito Lay had to go through several attempts to “get it right” and deliver an eco friendly bag that consumers would embrace.

Many companies would have given up and been intimidated by so much push back. To Frito Lay’s credit, they persevered and working with Davies’ company they redesigned their bag without compromising it’s eco-friendly qualities. The solution was a sound deadening layer of rubber glue that mitigated the noise factor from 95 decibels to 70. ( I know, some of you want to know about the glue ) I just didn’t have the opportunity to ask that question.  My speculation is that it’s not toxic, based upon the rigorous scrutiny this product launch has received.

From Diapers to iTunes cards or high fashion fabrics to dietary supplement bottles, sustainable materials are showing up everywhere.  Stoneyfield, Walmart, Target, Coca-Cola, Frito Lay, Electolux and Danone are among several other major brand name companies beginning to use these substitute materials in their packaging . Even credit cards are moving away from conventional plastic.  Ingeo (Natureworks’ name for it’s biopolymer – plant based materials) is the substitute of choice. Here’s another example of an environmentally conscious conversion: all REI gift and loyalty cards, previously made with PVC, are now Ingeo based. Compared to PVC, Ingeo manufacturing emits 32 percent less CO2 and consumes 29 percent less energy.

In October of 2010 Stonyfield Farm, the global organic yogurt leader, replaced all of its petroleum-based multipack yogurt cups with plant based Ingeo cups. The new cups are a first in the dairy industry and reduced Stonyfield’s greenhouse gas emissions by 48 percent.

FACTOID: even cold cups made of paper are plastic lined with polyethylene – not something you want to ingest. At the urging of college students and other consumers, who happen to consume a fair amount of Coca Cola, the company is moving to an Ingeo lining as a replacement for all their food service cups supplied to facilities with the capability for composting. The truth is, with enough consumer demand and courageous corporate leadership, we have enormous opportunities to reduce our use of non-renewable resources by using plant based renewable materials.

The proliferation of Paper Cups

In addition to concerns about the trash factor… disposal of conventional plastics… there are growingconcerns about Phthalates leaching into our water, food and ultimately being absorbed by our bodies, disrupting our endocrine system. Phthalates are the chemicals used to make plastic soft and flexible. Here is what the American Chemical Council says about Phthalates on their official web site:

With more than 50 years of research, phthalates are among the most thoroughly studied family of compounds in the world and have been reviewed by multiple regulatory bodies in the United States. The American Chemistry Council is proud that the products of chemistry are among the most thoroughly evaluated and regulated in commerce and continues to support ongoing research into the health and safety of phthalates.

Sherry Rogers, M.D. begs to differ. In her provocative book Detoxify or Die, published in 2002 she states: “Phthalates off gassing from plastic…damage hormone receptors, leading to loss of sex drive and energy. They damage brain chemistry leading to learning disability and hyperactivity, or they accumulate in organs and trigger cancers of the prostate, breast, lung and thyroid.” (page 2). In EPA studies Phthalates have been found in the human body in concentrations 1000 times higher than any other harmful substances including heavy metals and pesticides.

The Chemical Council goes on to say that “Science Protects Our Health”. Does this remind you of the Du Pont ads from a decade ago “Better Living Through Chemistry?”

They go on to say:

“A responsible and rational regulatory framework in government is based on science and evidence, not on public or political opinion.”

Right, do you suppose that is why the European Union banned the use of Phthalates six years ago? Makes one wonder who’s science reveals the truth about toxins in our environment.

At a recent public meeting at the Aspen Institute, Maggie Fox (the wife of Senator Mark Udall and former senior attorney for the Sierra Club) stated that virtually all of the regulatory agencies in the U.S. have been thoroughly manipulated by corporate interests to maximize profits for the past 3 decades at a minimum. She suggested that citizens need to be the watch dogs.

Keep an eye out for this logo and maybe you’ll be able to be a catalyst for change. The next time you encounter plastic products that you’d rather eliminate from our world, be proactive and write a letter or call the culprit company and recommend they convert their use of harmful chemicals. Invite them to join the movement for a healthier world.

The plant based "plastic" alternative to oil

The Ingeo “Plastic Pellets” created  by Natureworks LLC are plant based polymers. Without having to go back to school or chemistry class, these long chain molecules all come from plant sugars. They happen to perform like plastic without the negative impact on the environment that petroleum based plastic products embody.

Annually, one Billion lbs. of corn starch is used by the paper industry.  By comparison, less than .1% of the entire U.S. industrial corn crop is used by Ingeo to create 140,000 tons, or 300,000,000 lbs., of Ingeo on an annual basis.

So here is a hint, the path to a healthy future in a consumer based economy is this: All products have to work well and carry impeccable environmental credentials. Private corporations are learning to live by public permission.  No green washing, no kidding.

Onward with courage

Bud Wilson Bud Wilson was a student-athlete-activist during the tumultuous era at Harvard University and emerged with an interdisciplinary degree combining, child development, innovative education and urban social policy.  He the Global Director of Bio-Regional Leadership and an awareness instructor and wilderness guide for Sacred Passage and The Way of Nature. Bud has devoted his passion and energy to raising awareness (including his own) and shifting human consciousness to appreciate that we are all living in an interdependent, interconnected world where there is more than enough for all of humanity to live in peace and harmony. A proud dad of 2 wonderful grown children! 

When the SHEconomy Rises. ~ Jolee McBreen

Friday, June 24, 2011 by
 

LOHAS: Growth of the Sheconomy

The below article is brought to you as part of elephant journal’s ongoing coverage of LOHAS Forum. For our complete coverage, be sure to follow elephant on Twitter and Facebook.

I was able to sit in on a panel of four impressive women:

Diane MacEachern – Founder & CEO, Big Green Purse (moderator)
Gretchen Bleiler – Olympic Snowboarder
Tina Wells – CEO, Buzz Marketing Group
Margaret McAllister – Co-Founder, Red Kite Business Advisors

I think we all can gather that women are a driving force in the consumer world and have an extreme amount of buying power within the green movement. They strive to “do it all” melding work, play, family, themselves, and all the while wanting to do it all in an eco-friendly way. Hints the growing sheconomy.

Statistics were shared such as,

  • 70% of new businesses are started by women.

  • Women over 50 are in fact dominating the world wide web and other social media websites (sorry Waylon).

  • And the “mancession” has taken effect with 10.5% of men unemployed as of 2010, while only 8.6% of women were unemployed.

More than the information presented, I was completely enamored with the each speaker. They were all strong, succesfull, and smart women who never skipped a beat when speaking. They each had something different to say, their own flavor to add, and own personal style – especially Gretchen Bleiler decked out in her gray Tom’s wedges.

This panel, more than any other I attended that day, encouraged the audience to participate. It was more much more of an inclusive discussion, ranging from topics of marketing to women, how to market to different age segments, and even how men feel about taking more of the “women’s” roles.

It was great to experience, listen, and learn from a group a women, and men in the audience, that had first hand experience.

The Greenest Product You can Buy is the one You Don't. ~ Jolee McBreen

Friday, June 24, 2011 by
 

The Latest LOHAS Consumer Trends

The below article is brought to you as part of elephant journal’s ongoing coverage of LOHAS Forum. For our complete coverage, be sure to follow elephant on Twitter and Facebook.


I walked into the main ballroom at the St. Julien and scanned the dimly lit room for a seat while Steve French, dressed in a large paper bag, and Gwynne Rogers, covered in plastic bags, began speaking on stage. I knew right then this wasn’t going to be just any presentation.

Not knowing much about LOHAS until two weeks ago I was excited to learn more about who the LOHAS consumer is – and who they’re growing to be. French and Rogers took us through various statistics, facts and opinions with humor as well as knowedge.

The first topic on deck was the green movement. French gave the first point stating that green is as strong as ever and the recession has been a good thing in regards the green market.

He gave a number of great points including, that sustainability itself is not sustainable. Businesses must look at why consumers are buying in the first place. Even though he acknowledged it was “an oxymoronic statement,” French insisted we were shopping our way to sustainability.

The greenest product you can buy is the one you don’t buy.

On the opposing side, Rogers stated it was naïve to think that the recession hasn’t had an effect on the green marketplace. Showing that consumption of organic food and natural cleaning products, for example, have fallen at an average of 10%.

Most consumers are taking into account the price of the products and not acknowledging their carbon footprint. 70% of consumers base their purchase decisions on price.

It was great to discuss both positive and negative views, especially when it comes to the green movement. So much information and opinions can be extremely one-sided. And to get the info in costume made it that much better.

Some interesting facts about the LOHAS consumer:

  • – Different segments: naturalites, drifters, conventionals, and unconcerned – but we didn’t talk     much about the unconcerned since, as French said, “we don’t like them.”
  • – Generally the first ones that try new eco-friendly products
  • – High interest and active in social media and gorilla marketing
  • – Used to predict upcoming trends
  • – Always looking for the “deeper green” – greener versions of existing products

French and Rogers also ran through the positive and negatives of operations for your business.

Is it better to have a green product or to run your operations in a green way?

On one side, the view was that the product itself doesn’t have enough impact and therefor how you make the product should be ethical and green. On the opposing side, the product should be green because that’s what consumers are paying for.

Rogers took both approaches – go big or go home, stating that if you’re going to make the effort to create a green product for consumers, you might as well go all the way in your production as well.

In the realm of how to market to LOHAS consumers, “Keep it simple, stupid.”

There has been an information overload when it comes to the green movement, but some still don’t even know what sustainability means – 15% haven’t even heard of it. Yes, you read that correctly.

The most important things to take away from French and Roger’s presentation:

  • – It doesn’t have to be paper or plastic, we have to integrate new products, sources, etc., without alienating others – and people
  • – Needs to practical and sustainable
  • – Work towards producing green products and operations
  • – Think beyond your current geography

Overall, find a balance.