Green Health Spa

Top 10 Wellness Travel Trends for 2014

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 by

With so much interest in wellness travel, I'm pleased to share the “Top 10 Wellness Travel Trends of 2014”. The forecast is based on year-long research and data collection in which I've consolidated trends across several industries to bring practical knowledge to both individuals and businesses.  

I'd like to encourage consumers and businesses to think of vacation in new ways. Our data shows that consumers view vacations as an important way to improve health, happiness and productivity.  Vacation trips are often a catalyst for transformation and consumers view wellness travel as a personal investment.  Vacations are no longer a luxury, they are a necessity for well-being.

Top 10 Wellness Travel Trends for 2014
Mind Matters: 
Consumers have caught on to mindful vacations that offer mental restoration.  Practices learned on a trip such as meditation, yoga, qi going and journaling can be incorporated at home to help manage stress, improve cognitive capacity and maintain emotional equilibrium. 

The Rise of Wellness Travel Agents
With the growing interest in trips to enhance mind, body and spirit, wellness tourism has created a new niche for travel agents to grow or expand their business while offering a personally and professionally rewarding career specialty. 

La Local Vita: 
Consumers have developed a deeper appreciation for locally relevant and authentic experiences with an emphasis on living  “la local vita” (the local life).  Mindsets have shifted away from tourist behavior to a keen interest in community-based exploration where getting to know the locals in a meaningful way sweetens the experience. 

Breaking Bread With Wellness 
Food tourism is a big trend intersecting with wellness travel. In addition to the physical aspect of sustenance; food tours, cooking classes, agriculture and farm-to-table experiences speak to the emotional, social, intellectual and sustainable aspects of well-being. 

Vacation RX: 
“Take 2 weeks and call me in the morning.” Physicians are now prescribing vacations as an antidote from stress.  Doctor’s orders for physical activity in parks are also being written to help combat obesity and diabetes in children. 

Looking for Personal Enrichment
With the understanding that wellness is more than fitness and nutrition, consumers are choosing trips that either focus solely on personal enrichment or as a part of their travel plans.  In search of fulfillment and meaning, many consumers are viewing vacations, weekend getaways and retreats viewed as a catalyst for change. 

Slow Travel: 
Have you ever felt pressured to run through your vacation checking off sites to see and things to do? Slow travel advocates changing the pace in order to sip, savor and revel in the vacation experience. 

Affluent & Altruistic:
Spurned by personal growth and discovery, affluent travelers value experiences connecting them to charitable causes and local communities. Volunteering on vacation has become increasingly popular and research shows altruism can improve well-being. 

Burgeoning Secondary Wellness Market: There is a large segment of travelers who may not opt for wellness retreats or tours but are committed to maintaining their healthy lifestyle on the road. Air transit and hotels are investing resources to attract these guests that are both business and leisure travelers.

Spas on a Mission:
The spa industry is staking a claim on wellness tourism and on wellness in general. Eager to shake the image of pampering for the affluent, spas are repacking and rebranding as wellness providers to attract a larger market.

To request a free download of the Infographic “Top 10 Wellness Travel Trends for 2014” or for more information on wellness travel, please visit  

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.


St Julien Hotel & Spa offers a LOHAS experience and notable sustainable initiatives

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 by

Boulder is definitely a distinctive place with an abundance of green-minded individuals and businesses — the perfect spot for the amazing Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) conference I attended for the first time this year. After shopping at the irresistible eco-conscious stores on Pearl Street, I headed over to St Julien Hotel & Spa to check out the spa. As a spa industry educator, I always feel compelled to do my on-location research — especially after writing a book on Green Spas and Salons: How to Make Your Business Truly Sustainable.

The LOHAS frame of mind is central to the spa and wellness industry as it shifts into a more natural and organic world.  I have tried at least 50 product lines over 25 years through my esthetics practice, teaching, and research.  At the Spa at St Julien I received an excellent customized facial and definitely noticed a difference in my skin with Naturopathica and Luzurn products. 

The most notable part of the spa experience was that the entire spa staff gave exceptional customer service. They were present and mindful of their guests so one did not feel like they were just a “tourist.” Spa at St Julien carries thoughtfully chosen products, including clothing, gifts, and aromatherapy candles. Skin care products include Naturopathica, Luzern, Organic Male, Zents, Farm House Fresh, Body Bliss, and Soleil Organique. The makeup lines are Jane Iredale and La Bella Donna.

Boulder’s natural environment inspires the hand-made spa treatments that incorporate indigenous ingredients of plants, seeds, stones and extracts. Fresh herbs (organic mint and rosemary) for treatments such as the Mountain Mojito Scrub are harvested from the on-site herb garden.

St Julien Hotel & Spa works closely with Boulder-based UHG Consulting to reduce the Hotel's footprint on the community. Impressively, the property has decreased energy use by 17% from 2009-2012; reduced natural gas use by 30%; and water use decreased 11% (all decreases are per occupied room). The facility has also reduced waste by 85% since 2007.

Some specific green practices include carrying local products in the gift shop, switching from paper towels to washable hand towels, composting food waste, using an Ozone laundry system, and using compostable disposable cups. St Julien Hotel & Spa also donates opened amenities, linens, and supports other charities. Sustainable events and education are part of their culture and business practices.

Check out the St Julien Spa next time you are in Boulder. To grow the LOHAS mindset, let businesses know you appreciate their eco-conscious efforts and practices. Find more on spa sustainability from Shelley Lotz at  


LOHAS in China as a Brand and a Trend Towards Stress-Free Living

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 by

green chinaBy Amena Lee Schlaikjer

I spent my whole life wandering the globe as the daughter of an American diplomat, fascinated by different cultures and their different takes on similar things.  How the ‘French Fry’ transforms its shape, taste and cultural definition differently in America, France, The Netherlands, China and Japan.  How gifting for favours can be outright bribery in some places or a business necessity in others.  How health is either something you’re born with, are lucky to have, need to strive for, or is the simple balancing act of a set of routine steps.  It’s no wonder I found myself in the profession of insight marketing and innovation, digging for clues as to why people perceive and embrace things the way they do, and how companies can inspire people to make healthy, intelligent choices (well, at least the ones I try to work with).

Working with the Asia Pacific LOHAS group from one of the most dynamic (yet unhealthy and unsustainable) cities in China: Shanghai, I’ve had the pleasure to witness the unfolding of LOHAS in its early stages.  To grasp China’s take on LOHAS, it’s important to understand the cultural perspective of people’s interaction with their environment.   It is this personal vs. planetary relationship that dictates the level of concern, involvement and impact people will have towards change.  In theory, the Chinese attitude towards sustainability is a very ‘holistic’, symbiotic relationship where “me and my environment are One” based on traditional Daoist/Buddhist influences.  However, in practice, it is actually more ‘distanced’.  Consumers see the problems of the environment but are removed from them because they feel powerless and disengaged to make a difference, a responsibility that is believed to belong to the government.  However, they feel how the environment and strain of over-development has had its toll on health and hence, know they are a part of the equation.  One has to remember that , China’s population of young, influencing “me-focused” One-Child Policy working citizens (18-35 years of age) are coming into more wealth than China’s middle and upper classes has ever seen.  As the editor of LOHAS magazine (a China-based publication), Jane Yu, commented, “People never really consumed a lot here so it would be unnatural to get them to stop. The overall contribution to the environmental impact would be the same so long as that consumption behaviour is mindful.  Chinese values resonate much more with “loving yourself” first before you can think about your family and the environment.”     
Therefore, in comparing the attitudes towards Sustainability with other cultures, they are not Dominant (like America taking the lead in global initiatives), not Socalistic (like Europe where everyone has a say in how things are legislated), not Reverent  (like New Zealand/Australia where nature is in everyone’s backyard) nor Doomed (like in places at the edges of climate change seeing its drastic effects).  In China, that “Distanced” perspective, with the right education and mindfulness may revert back to the more traditional view of being Harmonized with one’s environment, and therefore, feel the need to change behaviour to respect that harmony. 

The guildelines, as crafted by LOHAS magazine, the leading authority on the definition of LOHAS in China are:
1) Love Yourself
2) Care for others
3) Concern for the planet

Very much in that order.  At the core of the awareness cycle, it’s all about “Am I making the right choices for me, my home and my family?” And these tend to be household decisions that are health-focused, something everyone can have control over and an insight that any company positioning themselves with a green message in China should consider..  “There may be milk scandals and bleached mushrooms in the market, but I, as a smart LOHAS consumer, will tend to consume something I know to be safe, rather than petition or lobby against the forces that be.”  This is a cynical marketplace, in constant fear of the safety and quality of products on shelves.  There’s disbelief in that something could be 100% organic:  more likely a false label in order to charge a premium.  They’d almost rather buy something that is 51% organic but honest with product labeling.  Consumers feel like they can only be cautious; and take small actions, like not using plastic bags, taking more public transportation, buying more plants for the household and conserving energy usage: most of which are already deeply embedded in the behaviour of most low-to-middle class Chinese as a way to save money and live healthy.  In conveying this mentality, companies have embraced “LOHAS” as a kind of stamp of approval.  Not a certifying authority on anything green, but a consumer-created “brand” or “badge” that says, “This product is going to make your life more stress-free.”  I’ve seen it used on the likes of everything from Dairy Queen brochures to healthy fast food eateries, from fashion retail outlets to spa treatments.  It’s an attitude.

That attitude doesn’t really get involved beyond a consumer choice into community activities that proactively try to promote environmental awareness and action.  The past 5 years has seen an increase in community volunteer organizations (HandsOn China is the largest of these, promoted mostly through CSR programs) though we’re at very early stages of consumer adoption into realms of social responsibility: like embracing Fair Trade, CSR, civil justice, volunteering and philanthropy.  It’s so early-stages that even awareness towards recycling or green packaging  are a “nice-to-have”, so long as the ingredients I’m buying are safe, natural and healthy.

The reality of it is just that some issues are out of people’s control, and as a Shanghai resident, I also feel this deeply. The air I breathe is horrendous, government programs to promote green feel propagandist, China’s necessary fast-growing economy to raise everyone towards a better standard of living (from a GDP-growth standpoint) is happening and it’s not slowing down.  Therefore, it’s impossible to be completely purest with an ideology towards sustainable practices (our economy is growing in the double-digits and two coal factories are built each week) or good health (I’ve tried raw food diets and vegetarianism in China…it’s really, really hard).  In essence, it’s about balance, social stability and just creating a happy, healthy home with the best educated choices I can make.  And in that sense, not too far off from the LOHAS consumer behaviour elsewhere in the world, just in earlier stages of awareness that is still “me-focused” with an infrastructure that is still learning about how invest in natural capitalism.  There are more sacrifices here around what’s available and what you’re able to have control over.
The practice of “balancing” one’s life and creating a happy home will soon evolve into a re-discovery of that harmonious relationship of the body with its surrounding environment, hopefully with a proactive ability to change things.  That moment will be a positive phase in tackling this as a global community.  For now, LOHAS in China is perceived as a trend.  A brand or lifestyle that promotes stress-free living and smart, trendy consumer choices (and let’s not forget, you have to consume to be LOHAS here).  A lifestyle that is modern, but about going back to traditional roots of being closer to Nature.  The point at which Chinese consumers understand that much of this personal stress experienced through the pressures of modernization and over-development are intrinsically connected to environmental stresses, is the day that everything clicks.

By Amena Lee Schlaikjer
Independent Wellness Innovator
Shanghai Manager of Asia-Pacific LOHAS


Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, 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

LOHAS Health Trends

Sunday, April 28, 2013 by

wellness trendsI am in a unique position to view various market verticals and get some ideas on what are trends for various elements of LOHAS. Here are a few I think to be on the lookout for in the health and wellness space.

Happiness and Health

More of us will see happiness as key to achieving good health and vice versa. We will increasingly understand that happiness and health go hand in hand. There have been several studies indicating the connection between these two vital factors.

Mindful Living

Just think about the last time you ate your meal in peace. Mindful eating involves savouring every bite without distraction from electronics, whether phones or TVs. But this type of mindful living will also follow us through our everyday errands — mindful shopping, for example, means not overspending and buying only what’s needed to feel fulfilled at that moment.  Mindful Stress Reduction research has shown to be highly effective in teaching responsible in the health management, vitality and healing.

Nature As An Antidote

More people are looking at nature as an escape from noise, pollution and traffic and overall brain fatigue from the numerous stimuli we face daily that lead to stress. A recent study from Scotland claims that you can ease brain fatigue simply by strolling through a leafy park. The premise is that “grounding” the body to the earth’s surface stabilizes natural electrical rhythms and reduces disease-causing inflammation. Footwear companies such as Juil are using this concept for thier products and providing copper pressure points on your feet and ground you to the electromagnetic field of the earth. Its all about remembering to connect with the relaxing and energizing qualities Mother Nature has always provided.

Detoxing the home

For most, a new year means cleansing our bodies and getting rid of junk from our diets and kitchen cupboards. But detoxing in 2013 will also be about detoxing our homes and the environment around us. Consumers and brands are both turning to chemical-free and toxin-free products to use everyday. This means opportunities for green cleaning companies such as Method, Ecover and Seventh Generation.

Fitness Self-monitoring

In the past data was commonly equated with tech nerds. Today data is king and will go mainstream thanks to an increasing number of smartphone apps that help you easily store data on your own behavior via collection of wearable devices, from Nike Fuel to LarkLife, that do all the work for you.

Your Favorite Class Will Go Mobile

Mobile, portable classes are the wave of the future — thanks to the rise of beloved celebrity teachers who can’t be everywhere at once. Set up your iPad for a yoga class with the simulated feeling of individualized attention. Open up your laptop and decide what kind of class you’ll do that day — on your own time.  Providers include MyYogaOnline, GaiamTV and YogaVibes, Hotels, for example, are designing guest rooms to accommodate people doing yoga or cardio, or providing workout videos, while some airports, like San Francisco International Airport, even offer yoga rooms.

Healthy Hotels

In 2013 and beyond, what constitutes a true “vacation” will be redefined and “hospitality” will be rewritten. We’ll see an explosion of new “wellness everywhere” hotel chains and environments becoming more mainstream. In the past, gyms and spas have been positioned as mere amenities, but now these walls are being conceptually (and literally) broken down. Established hotel chains are re-branding around wellness and it’s not just about fitness. Customized food and beverage offerings (gluten-free and vegan menus) are becoming standard fare, and hotels are jumping into the juice-themed vacation frenzy.

Adult Playgrounds

Cities worldwide are trying to tackle obesity and overall inactivity by designing playgrounds for adults. These workout spaces are meant to eliminate cost and accessibility limitations and help adults get more active. In 2012, New York City opened its first adult playground and plans to create two dozen more.

Yoga Continues to Grow

Yoga booming – The latest “Yoga in America” study, released by Yoga Journal shows that 20.4 million Americans practice yoga, compared to 15.8 million from the previous 2008 study*, an increase of 29 percent. In addition, practitioners spend $10.3 billion a year on yoga classes and products, including equipment, clothing, vacations, and media. The previous estimate from the 2008 study was $5.7 billion.

Standing Desks

If research has shown us anything in 2012, it’s that sitting at our desks with poor posture is slowly killing us. As we head into the new year, experts at JWT predict more upright desk features for offices across the country. Companies like Ergotron have already created standing workstations with cart-like features.


Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, 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

Green Spas And Salons: How To Make Your Business Truly Sustainable

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 by

Green Spas And Salons: How To Make Your Business Truly Sustainable, a new book for the Spa/Salon/Hospitality Industry by Shelley Lotz, helps owners and managers develop smart, sustainable practices for long-term business success.

This unique guidebook summarizes business practices, sustainability principles, and green building  all in one. The book sifts through the “green hype” to focus on best practices. This guidebook goes beyond the spa industry and most  of the principles are applicable to any business or lifestyle. 

  Planning guides with personalized action plans, how-to steps, and worksheets are included. Tools are given for evaluating services, products, supplies, operations, and building elements. Ideas for staff engagement, client needs, and marketing are incorporated, along with the science and the economics of sustainability. Guidelines for purchasing, water and energy conservation, waste reduction, and indoor environmental quality are all covered. 

  The book is described by Mary Bemis (Founder of Insider's Guide to Spas, and Founding Editor of  Organic Spa Magazine) as “an invaluable resource for spa and salon owners.”  Kristi Konieczny,   Founder of The Spa Buzz, says “The most powerful and practical resource for sustainability of spa and salon operations I have ever seen.”

Visit  for more information.

Inspiring spa case studies include: Agave Spa, Aji Spa and Salon, Atlanta School of Massage, Be Cherished Salon and Day Spa, Complexions Spa, Crystal Spa, Elaia Spa, Glen Ivy Hot Springs, Natural Body Spa and Shop, Naturopathica, Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary, Spa Anjali, Spa at Club Northwest, Spa Moana, Sundara Inn and Spa, The New Well, Vdara Spa and Salon, and Waterstone Spa.

Shelley Lotz has over 25 years of experience in the spa/wellness/beauty industry as an esthetician, educator, and business owner. She is a major contributing author of Milady’s Standard Esthetics Fundamentals, a core textbook for esthetician students. She started an institute of aesthetics and is also a Certified Sustainable Building Advisor. Contact her at

The book will be featured at LOHAS and Ted Ning is one of the book contributors, as the LOHAS philosophy is a key part of the green business movement. 


5 Easy Steps to Planning Your Wellness Vacation

Monday, April 8, 2013 by

Vacations are precious and planning for your wellness trip is part of the fun!  Here are 5 easy steps to help plan your wellness journey.

1) What's the Purpose of Your Wellness Trip?

What's the goal in taking your wellness vacation? Is it to kick start a new health regiman? Take part in a fitness challenge? Enhance your yoga pratice? Relax and decompress from daily commitments? Bond over adventure travel with friends, family or partner? Learn a new hobby like surfing in an exotic location? By identifying a goal, you'll have a clear picture of what your ideal wellness get-away entails.

2) Identifying Trip Parameters

How far from home do you want to travel? How much time do you have? What's your budget  These basic questions will narrow down the options so you can select what's right for you.

3) Ideal Accommodation Type and Environment

There's a wide range from lux wellness resorts to rustic eco-cabins and everything in between. Are you looking for a all-inclusive experience with an unlimited amount of fitness actitivies and a full- service spa?   Is being in a beautiful, remote and tranquil setting important to you? Or do you want to be able to head into town, socialize, shop and soak in the local culture?

4) Programs V.S. Unscheduled Time

What's your ideal balance of scheduled programs and activities versus free time to pick and choose as you like?  This is your vacation - to relax or challenge yourself as you see fit.

5) Food, Nutrition Workshops & Cooking Classes

One of the great pleasure in life is eating. Do you want  a calorie restricted program or options to eat as you wish while on vacation?  Do you want to learn about eating well, weight loss or particpate in healthy cooking classes and workshops?

Hope you enjoyed these 5 tips and wishing you a wonderful wellness vacation!   

If you'd like more information about wellness travel experiences, vacations and retreats delivered to your email, please sign up for the Wellness Travel Journal Newsletter by click here.

LOHAS Reader Discount to Mexican Tropics

Thursday, July 12, 2012 by

TAO Inspired Living

Are  you looking for an extraordinary place to hold your next event? Or maybe you just want to get away Jonathan Ellerby Ph.D, CEO of TAO Inspired Living has an answer for this. TAO Inspired Living is located in the Mexican Carribiean only 15 minutes from Tulum and 50 minutes from Cancun. TAO Inspired Living, has been created to offer an incomparable event center and residential community that feels remote and secluded, yet provides a dynamic atmosphere. Within each aspect of the TAO property you will find a focus on total well-being and love of the natural world. Their Tulum real estate development is the quintessential luxury destination paradise; one that offers a perfect blend of functionality, sophistication, serenity and self fulfillment, all at accessible prices.Their event center offers more than you can imagine, in a simple, elegant fashion with a host of wellness oriented enhancements.

Today LOHAS is very excited to announce a special offer to all our LOHAS friends, fans, and partners that may help further the amazing work that you do. We have collaborated with our 2012 sponsor, TAO Inspired Living, to create an incredible discount package for you and any of your clients who are looking for an unforgettable facility for events, group retreats, trainings, client incentives or a for-profit conference.

Until October of 2013, TAO Inspired Living will be offering the following special LOHAS rate at their tropical event facility in the Riviera Maya of Mexico, 60 miles south of Cancun, near to the beach, ancient Mayan sacred sites and countless ecological wonders:

$145 per night double, $165 per night single, minimum four nights, and a minimum of 20 people (maximums can range from 150 to 300 depending on the type of event and smaller groups can be negotiated)

This price includes:

  • airport transfers from Cancun
  • luxury accommodations
  • all meals
  • all drinks
  • private beach club
  • full free access for all of your guests to the TAO Wellness center including all daily programs, gym, lap pools,
  • Your event rooms and set up
  • all basic audio and video set up,
  • full use of the hotel and wellness center spas, Mayan Temazcal, LOHAS-style boutique, all-natural elixir bar and much more!

To take advantage of this or to learn more please contact Lorissa TAO’s Partnership Specialist. or you can reach Jonathan Ellerby PhD directly.

We hope you consider taking advantage of this fantastic deal.


Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, 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

Congrats to the 2012 LOHAS Scholarship Winners!

Thursday, May 17, 2012 by

Congratulations to the 2012 Rancho La Puerta Sponsored LOHAS Scholarship Winners! Each of these winners received a complimentary pass to attend the upcoming LOHAS Forum on behalf of Rancho La Puerta spa and resort.

  • Katherine Fritz Naylor - Marlboro College Graduate School
  • Samantha Strom - Dominican University of California
  • Diana Franklin -  University of California, Merced
  • Shireen T - MIT
  • Bryant Mason - University of Colorado
  • Kate Sornson - University of Houston

"It was a very difficult selection process." said Rancho La Puerta General Manager, Roberto Arjona," We had so many applicants and all were very well written and qualified. I hope that through this program these students will find LOHAS to influence their careers in a positive way."

This year we had over 30 applicants. The scholarship provides access to the LOHAS Forum that brings together business executives, thought leaders and visionaries to network, share best business practices and up to date methods and research on how best to connect with the LOHAS consumer. The event is June 12-14th in Boulder Colorado.

Students will be acknowledged on stage and given an opportunity to introduce themselves to the business audience. We hope that this will lead to not only influencing their career path but also lead to employment by other LOHAS oriented companies in attendance.

If you are a student and want to attend the event next year we recommend you apply. We will start taking applications on our website in October.


Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, 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

LOHAS Wellness Trends

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 by

wellness trendsAfter scanning health and wellness trends for 2012 here are a few that caught my eye along with my own perspectices that are LOHAS related.

1. Yoga & Meditation as Mainstream Treatment: Interest in alternative treatments will experience a second surge. Even though interest in alternative treatments is already high, more people, practitioners and patients will be willing to experiment with new remedies, activities and lifestyle changes to avoid these kinds of medications. A study[10] finds that of the 41 million Americans that use mind-body therapies like yoga or tai chi, 6.4 million are now doing them because they were “prescribed” by their medical provider.  Yoga, tai chi, qigong, Feldenkrais, guided imagery, acupuncture and other practices will continue to gain attention due to their ability to calm, soothe and attend to medical situations such as chronic pain, hypertension, obesity and stress. With returning PTSD suffering Iraqi war veterans and stress brought upon with tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes there will be a greater interest in how trauma affects us both personally and in our institutions, including our workplaces and schools and how to respond in effective ways.

2. Awareness & Prevention Will Have a Renewed Focus: As chronic diseases account for many of our healthcare issues and costs there will be a revitalized focus on preventative medicine. Anticipate the integration of wellness programs into businesses by employers and provide resources programs to encourage better health and prevention. This was predicted in our 2011 wellness trends but anticipate stronger campaigns on all fronts as health becomes a larger issue for society.

3. The Empowered Consumer Continues to Rise: The DYI trend among consumers will continue in 2012. And technology plays a large role here. Research shows that 80% of U.S. Internet users claim to have used the web to search for health-related information and answers. And that is just search. Many platforms from interactive healthcare kiosks to social media to personalized health sites are allowing consumers to empower themselves. As consumers increasingly turn to self-service technologies and channels, the entire healthcare industry has a tremendous opportunity to reach, engage and interactive with today’s empowered consumer. And that will yield some powerful results from consumers to doctors to advertisers.

4. Family Wellness Travel: The boom in solo travellers continues to rise for wellness holidays but more families are now searching for these types of getaways. Parents want their children to be healthy on holiday and also keep busy with plenty of activities so they don’t get bored. More resorts are also introducing healthy children’s menus so they can learn good habits early. Parents also want to be able to enjoy holistic activities and spa treatments, whilst their children are staying active.

5. Retail Plays an Increased Role: In response to the DYI demand from consumers in-store clinics and healthcare kiosks will play vital roles to connect with consumers for better healthcare access, awareness and treatments. Consumers are still frequenting brick-n-mortar stores; connecting with them while they are there offers great opportunities for healthcare providers, advertisers and the retail locations.

6. Holidaying with Health Gurus: Top health and fitness experts now work at some of the leading resorts around the world. More people want to receive dedicated support and guidance from the best in the industry; wellness retreats are bringing in the top yoga teachers, nutritionists, doctors, personal trainers and more health gurus to raise their game. Clients want to be inspired and informed so that they can lead a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle when they return home. Expect more tailored programs to be developed such as ones provided at Tao Inspired Living or Rancho La Puerta.

7. Obesity Awareness: Losing weight will continue to be the primary reason consumers seek personal training support as the public responds to the expanded messaging concerning the dangers of physical inactivity and obesity. The recently released Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index report that showed a modest improvement in the nation’s obesity rates for the first time in more than three years is a very encouraging sign. However, the fact remains that three out of five Americans are still overweight or obese, requiring more work to be done. 

8. Whole-life training: Lifestyle/ Wellness coaching will become a bigger trend with more personal trainers, fitness centers and spas looking to holistically improve client lifestyle and expanding their education and training to include this skill set. There are efforts to clearly define the parameters of coaching and help distinguish coaching (which is future-focused) from other professional services like counseling (which delve into a person’s past). The medical industry and academic groups are examining the value of wellness coaching. Harvard Medical School ( now underwrites an annual conference on coaching’s role in healthcare. One of the many research initiatives being analyzed by the International Coaching Research Forum (U.K.) is developing coaching as a global, academic profession. Companies like (U.S.) offer certified on-site or virtual wellness coaches for spas, hospitals and businesses. Anticipate fitness facilities to hire nutritionists and other allied healthcare professionals such as physical therapists and psychologists to serve the expanding needs of their health-conscious members including wellness, nutrition, and stress-management programs.

9. Community Collaboration: Access to fitness services and education will continue to expand in local communities including activities in gyms, parks, and recreation centers. Local leaders are taking a more active role to address health issues in their communities. This includes proactive measures through school-based education programs and engagement with low-income and at-risk families. The Canyon Ranch Institute provides Life Enhancement Programs in underserved communities of the South Bronx, Cleveland, and Tuscon to prevent, diagnose, and address chronic diseases.

10. Healthy Fast Food: There will be a greater push to keep students and employees healthy. This will mean a closer examination of cafeteria food in schools and on-site vending machines in work places, including information on how eating patterns create stress, obesity and health and behavior problems. As more people recognize the failings of fast food and food processing companies expect vendors to upgrade their product offerings to develop and market products that are not only healthy but actually promote health.

11. Clean Eating Focus: The food-health connection will be very important. As we learn more about "clean eating" -- consuming foods without preservatives, chemicals, sugars and other additives -- our habits will change as we read labels even more carefully and appreciate the rewards of more energy and fewer chronic illnesses. Along with clean eating, we will also become aware of the problems associated with GMO crops that have been over-hybridized by corporations for fast growth and easy harvest. The Non GMO projectThe Institute for Responsible Technology and others are working on raising awareness for consumers on the hazards of GMO foods on the environment and health.

12. Evidence based Spa Therapies: There has been a significant amount of efforts put forth by skincare companies and alternative therapy groups to provide research backing the results of treatments. SpaEvidence is a web resource that gives the world easy access to the “evidence-based medicine” databases that doctors use, so they can search thousands of studies evaluating which spa modalities are proven to work, and for which exact conditions.

Feel free to add any that I may have missed.


Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, 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

Top LOHAS-ish Fall Conferences for 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011 by

LOHAS crowdHere it is mid August and already I have to start working on my conference attending schedule for the fall of 2011. It seems like I have to do this earlier and earlier each year primarily because there are so many LOHAS oriented conferences being added or are catching my attention that I did not know of before. I have done a post on what events I think are important the past 2 years and here is my 3rd installment of top green/health and wellness/social enterprise/sustainability/leadership conferences worth considering as you plan your conference schedule for the fall.

For those new to the conference scene, there are two seasons – fall and spring. There are associations and organization that provide 1 or 2 events a year usually during those months. This is primarily because summer is a time when many set up personal vacation time and winter has more holiday time and weather issues.

Conference strategy
In determining which event is best for you take a look at the speakers and topics that will be presented. It is also important to look at the sponsors and how the event is presented via the event website. This will give you a feel on the type of companies that will be attending the event and what type of audience the event is trying to attract. By viewing the agenda content you can get an idea on how in depth they plan on going on topics. Also look at the networking opportunities that are in the program. Some events consciously embed them in the program via receptions, meals and outings and others do not. It is really up to you to make the best of the time for your own networking purposes.

On site
I find attending events to be incredibly stimulating. However I also find them to be extremely exhausting. Make sure you eat right, drink plenty of fluids, keep to a good sleep schedule and maintain a steady energy balance. For the large trade shows make sure you wear comfortable and supportive shoes for those hours on the exhibit floor. There are plenty of after party events to attend at which you can have some great business talks. It is up to you to make sure you know what formula works best for you. Set up meetings in advance if you can. That way you have some anchors to build the rest of the day's plan around and not get too lost in the shuffle of things - especially if they are large trade shows.

Women in Green - August 30-31st Santa Monica CA
Focuses on women in leadership positions that promote green business. Although all the speakers are women you don’t need to be of the double X chromosome to attend. This is the second year of the event and according to people who attended last year it was about 200 people. This year there should be more.

Conscious Capitalism - OCT 12-14 Austin TX
You need an invite to attend this prestigious event that brings many CEO’s together to discuss conscious leadership within organizations. It is a relatively small event with around 200 attending. John Mackey of Whole Foods co-founded this and has people ranging from the CEO of the Container Store to Jean Houston speaking on how business can drive conscious change.

Green Initiatives Conference Sept 29-30th Ft Lauderdale FL
A new event on my radar that has some interesting presenters and sponsors. The event team that is putting this on look like they have a tech background and may be one of the main focuses of the event. There are larger corporations participating such as DOW, HP and Coca Cola. It looks like they will focus on sustainability within larger companies and case studies from experiences.

SXSW Eco Oct 4-6 Austin, TX
SXSW music festival looks to sing a new green tune this year with the addition of a green event. Former LOHAS speakers who will be presenting include Simran Sethi and Philippe Cousteau. This is thier first year and the B2B event looks interesting. A great idea tagging it onto SXSW.

Opportunity Green Nov 9-10 Los Angeles, CA
OG is in its 3rd year and brings together green business and sustainable design in LA. They have about 800 attendees from all walks of life – corporate, entrepreneurs, media and of course Hollywood. They hold a great green design competition and it is a high energy event with interesting sessions and booths ranging from LED lighting for studios to BMW to water filters.

BSR - Nov 1-4 San Francisco, CA
The big one for the larger corporations that has been around a long time focusing on the corporate responsibility of multi-national corporations. Last year they had over 1000 in attendance. If you are looking to connect with the bigger companies on CSR initiatives this is the one to check out.

Funding and Finance
SOCAP Sept 7-9 Fort Mason, San Francisco CA
A vibrant event focusing on investing into social entrepreneurship. This event brings together large funds and banks with social entrepreneurs. Competitions on business plans are submitted ahead of time for a competition for funding and there is great education on raising capital for the startup and social enterprises.

SRI in the Rockies OCT 2-5 New Orleans, LA
A flagship event for social responsible investing(SRI) that brings SRI funds together with financial advisors. They also bring in a mix of speakers who focus on humanitarian, social and environmental impacts such as Jane Goodall, David Bornstein, Hunter Lovins and Bill McDonough. If you want insights on SRI and where it is headed this is THE event to attend.

Slow Money OCT 12-14 San Francisco, CA
Slow Money is a network of food activists, investors and entrepreneurs who nurture a range of conversations in order to actively develop funding and investment channels for local and sustainable food enterprises. Like Slow Food, they have local gatherings and a larger main event promoting a slow and steady investment into businesses who are seeking an alternative to the conventional Wall Street type investor.  Speakers include David Suzuki, David Orr and Vananda Shiva.

Investor's Circle OCT 26-27 Philadelphia, PA
A membership organization that  support a great entrepreneurs that are addressing social and environmental issues. They look at 10-15 high impact deals that are seeking investment.  They also provide a due diligence process that starts once the event is complete. It is about 200 people in attendance who are angel investors, fund managers, family office managers, foundation executives and trustees, wealth, financial and philanthropic advisers and their clients and other accredited investors.

Industry Specific
EcoTourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference Sept 19-21st Hilton Head SC
With over 30 inspiring sessions, 50 leading industry partners, and impactful and engaging keynote presentations, the ESTC 2011 (Hilton Head Island, SC, USA, September 19-21, 2011) sets the platform for ongoing dialogue promoting innovative ideas and practical solutions, driving change in global tourism.

Expo East Sept 22-24 Baltimore MD
Attended by as many as 25,000 industry professionals and featuring thousands of exhibits, Natural Products Expo East is the largest natural, organic, and healthy products trade show on the East Coast. With the newest and best-selling products and branded ingredients available this show features the best in organic at All Things Organic/Organic Products Expo-BioFach America, offers an extensive retailer training program and provides an advocacy platform through a strategic partnership with Natural Products Association East. Natural Products Expo East is ranked as one of the top 200 tradeshows in the US.

Greenbuild Oct 4-7 Toronto Canada
Greenbuild is the green building industry's can't miss event. It's where we go to learn about what's new in green building practices through the extensive educational sessions, see the latest technology and innovation in the exhibit hall, and perhaps more importantly, where we go to do business.  Greenbuild is a one-stop shop for credential maintenance. From pre- or post-show LEED workshops to sector-specific summits, from green building tours to concurrent educational sessions, you will find the education you need at Greenbuild. Most sessions at Greenbuild will be approved for continuing education credits for LEED and other professional credentials, allowing you to maintain your credential with ease.

Natural Beauty Summit Oct 6-7 NYC
This is a smaller and formal event for the natural and organic beauty industry that brings together the mission driven companies such as Dr. Bronners and Weleda with the larger corporations such as Este Lauder, L’Oreal and Avon. It is more of a lecture format and a lot of presentation intake. If you are a data hound you will get your fill. If you are a networker you will need to work for it but there are good connections to be made. The group is a bit insular if you are an outsider but if you are seeking to enter the luxury skincare market it may be worth considering.

Green Spa Network - Oct 9-12 Sundance, UT
This event is made up of a group of spa resorts and products that want to go the extra mile in promoting green efforts in the spa industry. The event has about 100 passionate people who want to move the spa world in the direction of holistic and sustainable integration. They are a very open and friendly group that welcomes newcomers (and new members). Plus the events are always at pristine green resorts.

ISPA - Nov 7-9 Las Vegas
If you are in the spa industry you have to go where everyone goes which is the International Spa Association Conference. Every other year they have their annual event in Las Vegas which brings investors, products and service providers, spa techs and directors together. This is THE most well groomed event I have ever experienced with exhibitors providing facials, teeth whitening and massages. There is good data provided on the spa world and great sessions specific to spa owners and employees. ISPA provides great data on the spa market as well. 

Social Venture Network Oct 27-30 Philadelphia, PA
SVN is a membership organization of successful social entrepreneurs ranging from Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, creators of Ben & Jerry’s, to Van Jones, former Green Czar to Obama, to Tom Szaky founder of Terracycle. It mixes sustainability with community building and innovation and a ton of passion. You can’t leave this event without 2-3 bonding hugs. It is a great place to seek mentorship, collect ideas and also potential funding from successful entrepreneurs and community leaders who are interested in helping others. This overlaps with the Investor’s Circle previously mentioned.

Net Impact Oct 27-29 Portland, OR
Net Impact is a large event that brings 2500 students and corporations together. They have chapters associated with Universities all over the country with a large membership and the event focuses on social enterprise, green business strategies, and nonprofit work.

Public Events
Yoga Journal Conference Sept 18-25 Estes Park, CO
For yoga die hards and trainers interested in the business of yoga or just to improve their own yoga practice. Famous yoga instructors such as Rodney Yee, Sean Corn and Shiva Rae have taught classes here. There is a vendor area as well.

Greenfests are the creations of Green America and a designed to celebrate green and diversity in various regions. Their flagship event in San Fran pulls in 30,000 attendees and they have some amazing keynote speakers such as Dr. Weil, Deepak Chopra, Amy Goodman, Jim Hightower and many more. Companies large and small mingle together with the public selling their products and services. I think these are great not only to see what is being sold but to see who is buying and the similarities and differences each region has as it relates to green. There is always a colorful audience at Greenfestivals.
New York  10/1-2
Los Angeles  10/29-30
San Francisco 11/12-13

Bioneers San Rafael, CA 10/14-16
Bioneers is where ecology meets activism meets celebration. I could spend hours in the parking lot just reading all the bumper stickers on people’s cars (mostly hybrids). If you are into fighting injustices of the underserved, hearing the wisdom of traditional cultures and the stories of animals and unique journeys of people this is an event for you. There are workshops on business, youth, art, peace and more.  It draws about 3-5,000 who are all there because of the larger mission Bioneers embodies. Networking is great but you will need to be selective on who you connect with since there are so many types of people there.


Of course these are just a few of the many events out there of interest to me. There are many others that are international that I did not include. If there are any other events you see I am missing please feel free to comment and add.


Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, 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

10 Things That Make the LOHAS Forum Unique

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 by

1. Cross section of attendees is like no other event. Where else will you find Fortune 500 companies shoulder to start up entrepreneurs next to mainstream media and celebrity. It is a great networking event for those who want to stretch their comfort zone and meet new people.

2. Permission to drop the armor of image is granted and expected. Everyone at the event wants to know who each other is at heart first and then get to professional interests second. This makes the attendees really open to each other and sincerely attentive to each other’s needs.

3. On the cutting edge of what is next. Many events have large corporations as the core of their speakers where at LOHAS you see more of the larger corporations in the audience learning how to enter the LOHAS market.

4. Boulder City is the epicenter of LOHAS activity. Despite being just over 100K in population it is the hub of organics, clean tech, outdoor industry, spirituality, alternative medicine, technology, entrepreneurship and is beautiful place to be in June when the LOHAS Forum occurs.

5. St. Julien Hotel & Spa is the best hotel in Boulder and has a very accommodating staff and has fully embraced sustainability. They provide the measurements for landfill alleviation for the LOHAS forum and organic and locally sourced meal options. Last year we were able to recycle 87% of our waste from the event. We strive to do more this year. The spa is top notch as well. 

6. The LOHAS gift room is legendary. Rather than provide a pre stuffed conference bag of brochures that are typically dumped in the hotel room we provide a gift room of various items from LOHAS companies that attendees can pick and choose from. Attendees love this and the gift bags are usually quite stuffed when people leave the room!

7. Market data worth thousands of dollars is presented by a variety of green market trend specialists. Those that are interested on what is happening in the LOHAS space can collect a tremendous amount of insight from these highly sought presentations.

8. Program content transcends green business to include elements to connect with the human spirit and community in a way that is energetic and inspiring.

9. A paperless program for this year and digital signage. The program will be on an app that is also a mobile website. The app will be downloadable on iTunes and will allow those who are not attending to see what is happening by reading the social media feeds, text alerts and uploaded images by attendees. Conference signage are flatscreen monitors that double as media centers for video.

10. Not just a conference but a community celebration! We have a variety of ways built into the event ranging from morning yoga and meditation to musical entertainment to after parties to engage the senses for attendees.

If you are an attendee and have other elements I have forgotten I would love to hear them. Please share!


Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, 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

EcoBonus and Organic Valley Team Up to Offer Eco-Conscious Rewards

Monday, March 21, 2011 by
EcoBonus Collect & Earn StampsIn a new green business development, EcoBonus® today announced that Organic Valley, America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation's leading organic brands, has joined the EcoBonus Collect & Earn™ customer rewards program as a Founding Sponsor.

"We couldn't ask for a better Sponsor to help introduce the EcoBonus program," said Tiger Beaudoin, Founder of EcoBonus, a new division of BI®, The Business Improvement Company. 

"Organic Valley will become the Category Captain in fluid milk and EcoBonus will feature their preferred charities in the program’s reward options."

"We're excited to help launch this industry initiative to reward consumers for making sustainable choices," said Tripp Hughes, Director of Category Management at Organic Valley. "The EcoBonus Collect & Earn program will raise awareness of eco-conscious, natural and socially responsible products - and will help us thank and recognize our loyal customers with reward points that can be redeemed for coupons, gifts, and green health spa vacations or points donated to charities."

EcoBonus' Collect & Earn rewards program will also allow Organic Valley to award consumers points for activities beyond purchasing products, such as signing up for their newsletter, answering survey questions, participating in contests, and promotions such as "checking in" at retailers via the EcoBonus iPhone application.

EcoBonus: Penny wise. Planet brilliant.™

EcoBonus is the first industry-wide initiative to reward mainstream consumers for choosing natural, organic, fair-trade and sustainable products. It provides a searchable database of 75,000 qualifying products, offers coupons and samples tailored to individual preferences, and rewards sustainable purchases with points. Participation is open to individuals, businesses and groups - and pooling of points by schools and faith-based organizations toward bigger rewards such as organic vending machines or solar panels is encouraged.

The EcoBonus program will launch nationally by invitation on Earth Day 2011. Interested manufacturers should call 1-612-276-2725 or contact EcoBonus.

Be among the first to sample the EcoBonus Collect & Earn Rewards program by following us on Twitter @ecobonus or friending us on Facebook.

BI: The Business Improvement Company

EcoBonus is an innovative coalition loyalty program from BI, The Business Improvement Company, and reflects BI's commitment to building solutions that solve today's environmental challenges. BI produces measurable results for its customers by moving the people who drive the business: BI moves sales people to sell more, customers to buy more, and employees to create a competitive advantage.

BI, founded in 1950, is a privately held company with 900 associates located in 28 offices in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and Asia Pacific. Learn more online at BI Worldwide.

For more information about Organic Valley, please call 1-888-444-MILK or visit Organic Valley online, and the cooperative's farmer website. Organic Valley is also on Twitter @OrganicValley and Facebook.

SpaBuzz OSEA Skincare Product Review

Saturday, January 1, 2011 by

We have a winner! Of the SpaBuzz Buzzworthy Brand Contest, that is. Throughout 2010 we collected contest submissions from spa brand lovers around the country. Entrants of the contest not only provided samples of their brand’s products, but answered a series of questions about the brand, how it came to be, how it is different from others, and why it is “buzzworthy.” Companies that entered were taking their chance at winning a $2,500 Spa Buzz sponsorship at a 2011 SpaBuzz event, which will garner buzzworthy brand exposure among the leading spa industry professionals. After careful deliberation by the SpaBuzz expert team, has been chosen a winner - OSEA Skincare, an innovative marine-based skincare line that brings together vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids derived from the earth and sea. Osea group shot

OSEA provides luxury skincare products to improve and maintain a person’s skin. Developed with the highest quality USDA organic certified seaweed, OSEA’s products offer the many natural benefits of the plant, including rich vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants, high amounts of trace elements, enhanced blood and lymph circulation, skim firming and softening. OSEA’s line of cleansers, hydrators, moisturizers, masks, serums, eye and lip care and body care restore skin to its highest level of health.

While there were many wonderful brands that participate in the Buzzworthy Brand Competition, the OSEA products stood out from the rest in packaging, performance and sustainable business initiatives.  The SpaBuzz expert team had the opportunity to use OSEA’s Ocean Cleanser and Atmosphere Protection Cream, and within a couple of weeks of use, the team experienced a noticeable difference in skin firmness, appearance and moisture levels.  

The OSEA Ocean Cleanser is a gentle marine-based cleanser that effectively removes dirt and impurities while hydrating and re-mineralizing the skin. What stood out about this cleanser is that it easily removed a day’s makeup, and did not leave the skin feeling tight or dry afterward. Made from 100% natural ingredients, including a mineral rich variety of marine algae which is extremely high in vitamins, mineral salts and amino acids, the cleanser is free of any artificial ingredients, and offers the utmost cleansing power compared to other natural cleansers we have tried.

Post cleansing, the team regularly applied OSEA’s Atmosphere Protection Cream, which is a wonderful lightweight moisturizer that leaves the skin feeling soft, without greasiness or a heavy feeling. What’s great about this moisturizer is that it both hydrates the skin and protects from environmental elements and pollution. In today’s world, we cannot always control the environments in which we are, however, this vitamin-rich cream heals skin exposed to the elements, including sun, wind and stress, offering a sense of assurance every time you step outside. The best part? This moisturizer absorbs quickly and easily, allowing for smooth make-up application.

In addition to the company’s diverse line of luxury skincare products, OSEA is dedicated to practicing conscious business aligned with nature, and participates in numerous environmental and sustainability initiatives. Not only does the company use recyclable glass bottles for all if its packaging, OSEA was the first company to sign The Compact for Global Production of Safe Health and Beauty Products in 2002, which is a pledge to phase out the use of toxic chemicals in all beauty products. In addition, OSEA products are 100% free of synthetic fragrances, genetically modified ingredients, petrochemicals, parabens, and sulfates. All products are certified vegan and biodegradable. The company’s founder, Jenefer Palmer, is a sought-after natural beauty expert and advocate for safe, healthy, environmentally friendly cosmetic ingredients. In her words,"Safe cosmetics are a consumer's right and our earth's rightful due."

At SpaBuzz, we are constantly searching for effective, natural skincare and spa brands that are not only effective, but incorporate a mission of environmental stewardship and respect for nature into their business practices. OSEA is an exemplary company that goes above and beyond performance and sustainability, and because of that, we are honored to feature OSEA as the 2011 SpaBuzz Buzzworthy Brand Contest winner!



LOHAS Trends for 2011 - Health and Wellness Trends

Tuesday, December 28, 2010 by

wellnessHere are some LOHAS trends to consider that we feel will be impactful for the next year in the area of health and wellness. Ive done some research and here are my list of top wellness trends to consider significant in the LOHAS market.

From Wellbeing Escapes Top Wellness Trends of 2011

From Anti-Ageing to Healthy-Ageing there will be a resurgence by destination resorts and fitness outlets to develop comprehensive programs to help us age healthily.  The focus isn’t about reducing wrinkles but about disease prevention and health enhancement.   Personal medical evaluations, usually taken through blood tests, are followed by personalized health plans that include treatments, education and actions that will help achieve optimum health and boost energy.  Furthermore, there will be more of an emphasis on wellness facilties to provide services to relieve aches and pains that are inherent with physical activity rather than relax and de-stress. This again underlines a change in attitude towards a healthy and active aging process rather than anti-ageing.

connect natureWellness Through Nature - This can take the form of fitness, holistic actions, meditation, and treatments.  Rather than putting people indoors to carry out their wellness program, many hotels spas and wellness resorts will be further focusing on being paid guests to engage with the natural resources and exclusivity of their locations.  Currently there are groups that provide hiking in mountains, yoga in the gardens, fitness programs that encompass kayaking, sea-swimming, Jungle gyms, outdoor rock climbing walls, challenging mountain biking.  This is predicted to become more creative and expand with meditation walks along beautiful beaches and landscapes, tree-top spas, treatment locations where you can hear the sound of the ocean and birdsong – no more air-conditioned window-less treatment rooms playing CDs with nature music on repeat cycle.

spiritualBringing out the Monk in You - The global recession has not helped the work life balance debate.  It is now about survival of the fittest with people subdue worried about losing jobs in this cost cutting environment.  Physical fitness is now firmly established and accepted as stress busting and increasing energy, but mental fitness is increasingly being recognized as equally vital. Meditation is no longer viewed as a spiritual pastime for monks or lentil-eating, sandal- wearing hippies but being used as a daily tool to help with stress and efficiency.  Major hotels, spas and wellness resorts are counting meditation instruction as part of stress reduction programs and activity schedules to help people learn this valuable tool. Again, it is all about quality, quality, quality – it takes years of instruction to be able to teach this technique effectively, so make sure you learn from an authentic and experienced teacher.

Value and Return on Investment - Although the deals are still out there they are gradually decreasing as the economy slowly turns around and hotels and airlines start to focus on increasing yields again. The keywords are "Value" and "Return on Investment". As the spa going population becomes more sophisticated and experienced they will focus more on value rather than the cheapest price, demanding more from their experience. The cheapest spa will not necessarily bring them their return on investment in terms of measurable health benefits and long lasting results on their return.


From The American Council on Exercise (ACE) Top Fitness Trends of 2011

Stress Reduction Through Fitness - With the increased knowledge of how stress negatively affects the body, gyms and clubs will start offering wellness programs so their members develop effective strategies for managing their stress levels. Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, and basic stretching classes are expected to draw more people looking for ways to de-stress. But working up any type of sweat will work. The same fitness instructors who want you to feel the burn now want to help your body—and mind—heal. Look for therapeutic workouts, like New York based Equinox’s “IntenSati,” which uses personal affirmations, and “Thread,” where core work and body-awareness techniques “unlock muscular inhibition.” Also on the horizon: a fascination with supportive aerial yoga and fitness-meets-life-coaching workshops.

kinectTechnology Becomes a Support Resource - The release of interactive fitness video games will see more people get off their couches and try new ways to be active in the home. The Sony Wii and Microsoft Kinect are scratching the surface of ways to engage a person’s whole body into a video game with jumps and swings or running in place. The sophistication of these games makes the experience both entertaining and physically challenging.

Corporate Wellness -  Whether it is through the hiring of in-house personal trainers or discounts and incentives offered to employees that join a health club, corporate wellness programs will emerge country-wide to help encourage healthy lifestyles among workers, especially time-crunched consumers.

Youth-Based Fitness -  Expect to see more youth-focused classes and clients popping up in gyms thanks to the national attention and focus on childhood obesity.  Schools and fitness centers will also incorporate more exercise curriculum for the youth population and, as such, take advantage of ACE’s Operation FitKids curriculum, which has recently been revamped and expanded with a new program targeting students in grades 6-8.

From SpaFinder Top Spa trends of 2011

scienceThe Science of Wellness - Is there scientific proof that massage reduces stress? Are mud-packs and mineral-baths medically proven to alleviate pain? Is ear candling proven to remove ear wax? The answers: yes, yes and no.  Get ready for a new era where more questions about the effectiveness of wellness therapies and products will be asked, and where these questions will get answered more transparently, as the emphasis on evidence-based medicine and the “science behind spa” heats up. For example the recent New York Times article, “A Good Massage Brings Biological Changes Too,” reporting on a Cedars-Sinai study that revealed a 45-minute massage resulted in a significant decrease in stress hormones, while boosting immunity. As so many more hospitals not only co-opt the “look of spa,” but also directly incorporate spa/wellness therapies on site, consumers will have powerful visual evidence of “medicine” validating “spa.”

As these initiatives and forces accelerate, the benefits of wellness will be increasingly not only heard, but also believed by more LOHAS consumers (often desperately) seeking health alternatives — by doctors who prescribe, by public officials who legislate and by insurers who reimburse. These nascent evidence-based initiatives should ultimately prove the bedrock for future, perhaps unimagined, industry growth.


Recommended LOHAS Oriented Conferences To Consider Attending

Sunday, August 29, 2010 by


In my time at LOHAS I have been to a lot of green events. A few years ago there were only a handful of events to choose from and it was a bit of a close circle. However now it seems that green and sustainably oriented events are popping up everywhere. How does one know which are solid and which are just flashes in the pan? I am putting together my travel schedule and like you have to be selective as to where to put my energy and travel budget.

Here is a list of events I have either been to or have heard about that make my list and are organized by month:


The International Ecotourism Conference (Sept 8-10 Portland, OR)
The event for the ecoutourism industry that brings a global attendee base.  Eventhough the ecotourism industry is a small section of the overall tourism industry, it is an excellent place to learn what is happening in the space and who’s who. I have not been to this event and have always wanted to and this year is my chance. I look forward to it. Yours truly will be speaking on the future of sustainability trends and the ROI of green travel. Should be fun!

Opportunity Green  (Sept 22-24th Los Angeles Center Studios, CA) – This is their 3rd event and is very green business and design oriented. The speakers are primarily big business with some cutting edge entrepreneurs in the mix. Design conversations range from buildings to automobiles to fashion and the blend of people here is good. The event is really the only national oriented event I know of in LA that is green oriented and it has the LA look and feel. I feel you need to come to this event with a bit of a strategic game plan and set up some meetings to make the most of this event. You can also hear some interesting speakers and chat them up at the cocktail receptions and meals which are quite nice.

West Coast Green (Sept 30-Oct 2nd, San Francisco, CA)
The green building conference for the west coast featuring speakers such as Bill McDonough and an exhibit area of 300. I have not been to the event but I hear great things and if you are in the green building and design market you should go to this or Greenbuild (see below). 


Green Spa Network (Oct 3-7, Avon CO)
The Green Spa Network has come from those in the spa industry that are seeking to reclaim the world of wellness from the clutches of pampering and luxury. GSN is a membership organization and looking to get those in the spa world to recognize sustainable product creation and spa properties. This will be their second year convening and are still in infancy but are moving fast and furious to make headway into the spa world. Those in the spa world who truly want to engage green practices should definitely attend this event. 

SoCap (Oct 4-6th, San Francisco, CA)
Honestly, I have not been to SoCap yet and am looking forward to my inauguration to the event this year. I have only heard good things about this event. It appears to have a Silicon Valley type vibe from those that attend from its free form programming and type of people who are there. A great event for start ups and investors looking to match values in socially responsible businesses.

Expo East (Oct 13-16th Boston, MA) 
These are great to get a pulse of the natural products industry. Expo East in the fall is on the east coast (hence the name) and is much smaller than the mega sized Expo West held in the spring (and in Anaheim)  I like Expo East because it is smaller and you can walk the floor without the onslaught of people that Expo West has. You can have conversations in depth at Expo East that are a bit more challenging at West.  Typically the executive teams are at the shows the first few days so if you want to meet top brass you need to schedule meetings or come by booths at the beginning of the shows.  There is also no need to buy meals as only a quick stroll through the exhibit spaces can fill a stomach. Be careful about trying everything you see as sometimes food mixing may not agree with you. I found that out the hard way. Urp!

Bioneers (Oct 14-18 San Rafael, CA)
Bioneers is the gathering of what seems like all the activists, free spirits and dark greenies of California who want to learn about ecology, social justice and indigenous wisdom. It is a public/consumer event so expect to encounter some interesting characters. The general speakers are quite remarkable as they come from all over the globe and the audience can get pretty fired up on issues. They do talk about some of the more difficult issues society faces but I really like this event because the speakers challenge us to question things and help understand some of the issues people don't see in conventional media. If you can't get to the main event there are a few locations that have smaller gatherings and live video feeds into the larger event but they do not capture the energy and the other activities that happen there. As you walk through the crowded parking lot try counting how many hybrids you see or the bumper sticker slogans that have some activist slogan. I don't know which is the larger of the two.

Green Biz Innovation Forum (Oct 19-20th San Francisco, CA)
I have not been to this event but anything that Joel Makeower and his Greener World Media team does I back. They always seem to have the ability to get top speakers and relevant content that makes the event special. I have heard great things from those that have attended and really like the format.  Joel always seems to be on the cutting edge of what’s what in the green business world.

Social Venture Network (Oct 21-24th, Long Branch, NJ)
SVN is a membership organization and has an open door conference in the fall and a members only event in the spring. The members are successful social entrepreneurs such as Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s, Jeffrey Hollander of Seventh Generation and Priya Haji of World of Good. I really like this event as it brings a lot of good and experienced minds together. The matra of this event is bonding and there are men’s and women’s circle meetings to promote this. Expect a lot of hugs and soul sharing which is a good thing to do for us all. Because of the intimacy some of the members feel among peers and get heated in conversations they feel important to them that I see more often here than other events. It is refreshing  especially after seeing many other events that stick to the talking heads format.  The event provides plenty of times to have conversations with members and provide opportunities for mentorship for start ups. Some of these conversations have resulted in future board members and even investment for startups. 

Greenfestivals (Oct 23-24th DC / Nov 6-7 San Francisco, CA)
The Green America Green Festivals as some of the most well attended green consumer events I have attended. Each has a very local focus for the vendors but make sure you go to the speaker sessions because they have outstanding speakers from all over to come and grace the audience with their perspectives. Big hitters such as Deepak Chopra, Dr. Weil, Paul Stamets and a few other TED talk types present and you cant beat the ticket price for a front row seat. I have not been to the DC Greenfest and hear that each of the events reflect the vibe and culture of each city. The SF Greenfest rocks and is packed with all kinds of great booths and events. If you go get ready to be emersed in the dark green side of San Fran - free hugs, poetry, dreadlock and all. Green America is not doing their Green Business Conference this year that typically is right before their San Francisco Greenfest. Instead they have developed a green business pavilion within the San Fran Greenfest that will have business oriented talks. If you have not been to a Greenfestival I highly recommend them as they embody a variety of aspects that LOHAS does – organics, alternative therapies, personal development and social justice elements.

Net Impact (Oct 28-30th, Ann Arbor, MI)
Another event I have heard great things about but have never attended. It is primarily focused on CSR and brings together students and large corporations to openly discuss issues. It is also a great recruiting ground for companies seeking new green talent from recent graduates. The event brings together over 2500 people and has workshops and discussion groups to get down and dirty on complex issues. Their keynote speakers are solid with Majora Carter, Jeffery Hollander and Bill McDonough.

SRI In the Rockies (Nov 18-21 San Antonio, TX)
Anyone who is a financial planner or interested in socially responsible investment nitty gritty must put this event on their calendar. This is a blend of financial jargon and social justice and clean tech orientation. About 800 people attend the event from all over the world and is typically in a mountain setting. Being in San Antonio this year is a stretch.  it is a packed schedule for the most part but they do make time for long networking hikes and excursions . I have seen speakers ranging from Jane Goodall and David Bornstein to Calvert and Domini fund managers at the event. It is a great place to understand how to unravel the complexities of financial issues and know what mutual funds are actually doing as they relate to socially responsible investing. They throw a great evening party and many are not afraid to show off their dance moves.
Greenbuild (Nov 17-19th Chicago, IL)
The mother of green building products and originated from the USGBC this is the event for anyone interested or involved in the green building sector. The exhibit area is about 1000 booths and attracts about 25-30,000 attendees from all over the world. The green building industry has really picked up and does not look likely to slow down. I like this event a lot because of the creative energy efficiency exhibits and speakers.

Investors’ Circle (Nov 10-12th Washington, DC)
A membership organization of over 150 angel investors who are looking for solid socially responsible companies to invest in as a group. They have funnelled over $134M into 200 companies addressing social and environmental issues. A great place for LOHAS oriented start ups to present who are seeking seed capital. There is an application process with an extensive screening but nothing too overloading.  The event focuses on vetting good seed capital candidates for an investor audience and mixes in some good quality speakers sucha as Acumen and Ashoka. If you are an investor or seeking funding from a good values base source check out Investor’s Circle.

ISPA Conference & Expo  (Nov 15-18, Washington, DC)
The spa association where everyone in the spa world congregates - green and conventional. If you attend you can see there is a strong emphasis from many about sustainability than ever before but there are still those brands that have their share of green washing along those who just don’t care. Regardless, anyone who is interested in the spa world and creating spa products should attend to understand the trends in the industry. LOHAS has a strong foothold in the wellness and beauty industry and it is a good place to learn macro trends and spa operation techniques. This is probably the most well groomed attendee base I have seen which I have no trouble surrounding myself with.


LOHAS Regional Events (April TBD, NYC, LA, Atlanta, Minneapolis)
Taking the LOHAS conference on a bit of a roadshow and working to get some momentum build in these areas. Its tough to go to all these events so we have decided to try to make it easier by providing single day events. Stay tuned for more details!

BALLE (June 15-17th Bellingham, WA)
Business Alliance for Local Living Economies celebrates local businesses and local orientation. There are a lot of local loyalists at the event and mostly smaller and mid size companies, non profits and academia. But the conversations are lively and some really interesting networking. A lot of cross over with speakers from the Greenfests and SVN groups. I like the workshops and the networking here. The production of the event is low key as the focus is on the content and type of people who attend which is really nice.

LOHAS (June 22-24th Boulder, CO)
Of course I have to put this one on the calendar as I think EVERYONE should consider this one. Well...maybe not everyone. We have about 5-600 people attend who are business executives, thought leaders, academia and enterpreneurs. As much as many equate LOHAS with the converted dark greens of the world the event is set up to not be an 'Us' and 'Them' atmosphere. Rather we welcome all who are interested in understanding LOHAS and how it applies the them personally and professionally. We set up plenty of networking opportunities and workshops to provide tangible takeaways. To see some of the videos from previous LOHAS sessions visit our LOHAS YouTube page. We work hard to get a solid program together with a great attendee base. If you have any recommendations or tweaks I'd love to hear from you.

These are only a few of the many that are out there and more to come. I truly feel that any conference you attend is what you make of it and how you prepare ahead of time setting up meetings, scheduling and follow up. With that said, good luck with your planning and hope to see you at one of these events. If you have other events you feel should be added I would love to hear about them. Please share!


The Globalization of LOHAS

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 by

Originally content by Andy Baker of the Mobium Group

With LOHAS spreading across the globe over recent years, LOHAS Journal thought it timely to reflect on what is driving the phenomenon globally, some of the key differences in interpretation across the world, and what binds LOHAS and LOHASians together—wherever they are.

Businesses the world over are leveraging LOHAS as a way to understand the consumption preferences of a growing number of people who care deeply about personal, community and planetary health and well-being, and are willing to spend accordingly.

While this theme acts as a backbone for LOHAS globally, significant differences exist in the interpretation of LOHAS from one geography to another. Not surprisingly, these differences tend to be largely driven by local cultural, environmental and social nuances.

For example, according to Peter Salmon from Moxie Design Group, LOHASians in New Zealand express their LOHAS values through outdoor experiences, seeking a connection with the landscape and concern about social issues.  This differs from U.S.-based LOHAS consumers, who typically have a stronger focus on personal well-being.  In Australia, the situation is different again, with environmental issues of drought and climate change hitting many Australians hard in their own backyard. Severe water restrictions are forcing Aussies to change how they think about their much-loved gardens and lawns.

A key theme emerging from European and Australian studies is consumers’ desire for certification marks or “trust” marks from credible certification bodies, providing independent verification that the product lives up to its LOHAS claims. Supporting this claim are the findings of a  recent Porter Novelli report, which revealed that Europeans were 32 percent more likely than American consumers to buy products with such marks, and Mobium Group’s Living LOHAS report, which found similar conclusions among the Australian population.

Despite many similarities, key differences have emerged in the use of LOHAS between Western countries and the countries of East Asia—including Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, where LOHAS is a booming consumer term. The emergence of LOHAS-branded foods and beverages, fashion labels and even LOHAS department stores heralds a new use of the LOHAS term as it crosses from business-speak into the consumer vocabulary.
While most Western consumers would draw a blank if asked for a definition of LOHAS, approximately 70 percent of Japanese adults at least recognize the term while up to 40 percent can articulate its meaning, according to Toshi Ide of the Japan-based LOHAS Business Alliance.

But how is LOHAS really interpreted in Asia? In China, LOHAS has been roughly translated to mean “good life” and has even been picked up by Chinese state radio. And English-language website has published several articles referring to “escaping city life” and enjoying LOHAS experiences on the weekends in the countryside surrounding Beijing.

In Singapore, the city state’s Tourism Board markets the country to its Asian visitors as the LOHAS city—focusing on its spa resorts, authentic Nyonya-style cooking and its water recycling efforts (a necessity in such a small island nation, as the key to its LOHAS claims).

The emergence of LOHAS as a consumer brand has brought with it a range of organizations seeking to capitalize on the term, with varying levels of commitment to the values of core LOHAS consumers offered through a wide a range of products and services.

Small and medium-size enterprises comprise one sector where serious efforts have been made to address the needs and desires of LOHAS consumers on platforms of personal and planetary health and wellness. In many cases, these businesses have been the keys to LOHAS innovation.

One example of this sort of innovation is U.S.-based, a company achieving mainstream distribution and significant success turning waste streams into value through a range of innovative products and services, including a novel approach to garden fertilizer.  With major distribution agreements across North America and licensing interest from across the globe, Terracycle has demonstrated that LOHAS innovation can deliver clear business value.

Another example is Australia-based professional garment cleaners, Daisy ( Daisy has managed to eliminate the harmful chemical, perchloroethylene (tetrachloroethylene) from its dry cleaning process, using a water-based alternative to deliver an odorless dry cleaning solution free from harmful toxins. Such is the popularity of the Daisy service, excess demand currently means a wait of three days to have your suit cleaned! But based on the volume of customers prepared to wait, the LOHAS approach to dry cleaning has again demonstrated a commercial payoff.

Similarly, this year saw the launch in France of Velib (, a Paris-based commercial bicycle sharing operation that provides bicycles for commuters for a nominal fee. With over 10,000 bikes in circulation across 750 self-service docking stations throughout the city, this model is providing inspiration for cities the world over.
It seems that everywhere you look, there are examples of innovations, often by small and medium enterprises that are working toward more sustainable and healthier outcomes for people and the planet.

One of the difficulties faced by LOHAS consumers and the businesses that supply their needs is seeking out and finding each other—and connecting.
This key theme is driving the emergence of media platforms that respond to LOHAS consumers’ desire for greater connectivity—to other LOHASians and the organizations that manufacture and retail products and services that meet their values criteria.

Examples of recent activity in this space include Gaiam’s acquisition of and, two strongly LOHAS-oriented information and social networking sites. Businesses, including U.S.-based Sustainlane, New Zealand-based Celsias, and a range of other sites across Europe, are springing up across the globe to fill this gap for information, referrals and advice. Discovery Channel recently purchased website as the online property for its soon-to-be-launched Planet Green program.

Across the globe, mainstream consumer and investor interest in opportunities related to renewable energy, organic food, complementary medicine, low-impact transportation and other LOHAS products and services clearly demonstrates that LOHAS businesses have moved out of the fringes and are now attracting significant investor capital and expertise. Companies and investors that embrace the opportunity that LOHAS presents have the opportunity to take a leading position in the industries that will define the 21st century.

Key Facts: LOHAS in Australia
• Nearly 4 million adult Australians (26 percent of adult population) are LOHAS aligned. 
• Individuals with a LOHAS outlook are drawn from all parts of society; their values and world view are not strongly tied to income, geography or gender.
• Australian consumers currently spend $12 billion on goods and services in the LOHAS market segments, with an overall growth rate of 20 percent expected to continue. The market is expected to reach $21 billion by 2010.
• While 8 percent of the population are LOHAS “Leaders” who are highly committed and active participants in fully integrated healthier, more sustainable lives, the LOHAS “Learners” are the largest of the four segments, identified at 46 percent and standing as a largely untapped opportunity. 
• Learners would like to do the “right thing” but are not sure where to start. Solving for their key barriers, which include price and availability, are paramount to unlocking this market.
Source: Mobium Group,, Living LOHAS Report, 2007.

Key Facts: LOHAS, New Zealand
• 32 percent of population Solution Seekers (NZ Equivalent of LOHAS)
• 57 percent female
• Greatest concentration (29 percent) are in the 45-54 year age bracket
• Slight skew toward rural rather than metropolitan locations
• Income profile of NZ LOHAS is growing over time
Source: Peter Salmon, Moxie Design Group,
1. Media/online:
2. Lime – online portal to information, help and advice on LOHAS lifestyle
3. Zaadz and Riverwired – online LOHAS-oriented social networking sites
4., – innovative online information sources for LOHAS-related themes and online collaboration
5. (Germany), – LOHAS-related product and service listings and market information
6. Mobium Group – Australian research and strategy business focusing on sustainability and well-being; conducted the first research into Australian LOHAS consumers
7. Macro Wholefoods (Australia) – organic and natural foods retail store chain
8. Eco Age ( – a new store in London claiming to provide “a store, showroom, consultancy and destination that will offer inspiration, ideas and specific domestic solutions for all those who want to lead a greener and more energy efficient life”
9. Terracycle – Innovative company that re-uses waste streams and turns them into value-added products
10. Velib – Paris-based bicycle-share company
11. – Australian car-share business winning support from local governments for their eco-friendly and cost-effective car-sharing program

Will Pigs Ever Fly?

Monday, May 10, 2010 by
In 401(k) circles there is a saying;

Educating employees on investing is like teaching pigs to fly;

They will never fly, and get sick of being thrown off the roof.

Now before you think this is rude and elitist let me explain. A one on one session explaining principles of asset allocation, market dynamics, efficient frontiers and time horizons leave most casual investors confused and bored.  Try doing that in front of a group of distracted employees, with no experience in mutual funds.  Add language barriers and distrust of banking services and you have an understanding of how flawed this process can be – by no fault of the employer or employee.

The Dept of Labor (DOL) has struggled with this.  Even the 401(k) provider powerhouses have not been able to properly convey these principles, no matter how many color-coded brochures they print and deliver.

As a result the DOL made changes to ERISA rules guiding how a plan should be run.

Auto enrollment has become an option.  Even with the best employee education and enrollment meetings, many well-intentioned employees never get through the paperwork to sign up.  “I’ll tackle that next week,” becomes a constant (and expensive) refrain.   Then once they sign up many stop with choosing a money market for ‘safety’ or lack of time to decipher the prospectus outlining each fund available in the plan.

Sure, a money market is safe, but an investment that doesn’t keep pace with inflation over a thirty of forty-year time frame is not an appropriate investment.  Investors want safety but there is a floor on how low return rates can be.

Auto enrollment with Qualified Default Fund, think of a ‘balanced fund’, has become an option.

You put in a plan for your employees, hold the enrollment meetings, hope they all enroll and choose appropriate investments.


You put in a plan, hold the meeting, and announce everyone is enrolled for 3% of salary, will be matched dollar for dollar on that 3% and the money is going into a balanced fund; part stocks part bonds.  Anyone who wants to change investment options, change amount deposited into the plan, or opt out is welcome to do so.

Now with the same amount of work as before, employees can customize their portfolio, but no one is left out in the cold if they cannot marshal the time to do so. It does not matter if you run a yoga studio, a green health spa, or green small business, a sustainable retirement plan will help retain employees.  Good corporate sustainability is more than recycling!

Pigs don’t need to fly when there is a nice soft landing for them. To find out more information visit Social K

What are your thoughts on this? I would love tho hear what you think.

To Roth or Not To Roth

Monday, April 26, 2010 by
Many people are familiar with a Roth IRA. Put money away, after taxes are paid on those earnings, let the money grow tax differed in the IRA, then take tax-free distributions of the earnings

Not a bad deal, lets go through it again.

Earn $40,000.

Pay taxes on all $40,000.

Put $5000 into Roth IRA, after tax.

$5000 grows to $75,000 over your lifetime.

Take original $5000 out – taxes were paid when that money was earned. Take $70,000 tax-free. Nothing due on earnings.

In a regular IRA you put $5000, before taxes, from earnings into same investments in IRA, grows to same $75,000 over time. Then pay taxes on all $75,000 when taking it out of IRA.

Pay taxes now on $5,000 and nothing later,

$70,000 distribution – tax-free.


Pay no taxes now on $5000 and pay taxes on full $75,000 taxable distribution.

Seems fairly straight forward, especially if you think taxes will be the same or possibly higher when you retire.

Here is where it gets interesting.

A Roth IRA has earnings limitations. If you earn over $120,000 as a

single person, or over $177,000 as a married person, you can not make a Roth contribution. Tough luck.

But wait……..

Making an employee contribution into a Roth ‘bucket’ in your 401(k) has no earnings limitation. You can put full employee contribution into the Roth ‘bucket’ not just $5,000.

If you earn $200,000, are over age 50, you can put $22,000 into the Roth 401(k) at work.

In 25 years that $22,000, earning 6% grows to $94421.16. The $22,000 had taxes paid when earned, but the growth $72,421.16 is never subject to taxes.

I’d call that the best kept secret out there. Whether you run a sustainable green business, green health spa, yoga business or are just interested in corporate sustainability, a Roth option in your 401(k) will probably make sense.

This is an example and anyone interested in further information should contact a registered financial advisor, or ask about a Social(k) 401(k) /  403(b) at work.

The Greening of Spas

Sunday, March 7, 2010 by
Green SpaThe term “green” and all of its variations—”going green,” “green building,” and “greening your home”—was so ubiquitous in the late 2000's that it received the most nominations for the “Words Banished From the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse, and General Uselessness” list. At first this accolade might appear to be bad news, but such recognition indicates that the concept has reached significant market penetration.

Much like the word “green,” the term “spa” has also become completely woven into the fabric of our current society. One in four Americans visited a spa in 2008 reports the International Spa Association. Both green and spa represent a reconnection with the treasure of our natural resources.

Spas and Sustainability
Fifteen years ago the spa movement and industry ignited in unprecedented growth in the U.S. on the wave of increasing awareness of the mind-body connection and alternative approaches to health. The double digit annual growth of the industry brought in new players, elaborate spa facilities and the perception that spa is luxury with no limit on the consumption of resources. Now new wave in spa is providing consumers with a choice to enhance well-being naturally in an environment that values and cares for our planet’s health.

The Green Spa Network and member spas embrace the responsibility of living these values personally and professionally to attain measurable improvements towards full integration on the sustainability spectrum. Cici Coffee of Natural Body International, Inc. provides an example of spa leadership in practice: “In 2004, we implemented a charitable campaign with Georgia Organics in which we sold co-branded T-shirts and donated 100% of profits to the nonprofit, GO. In 2005, we implemented an employee contribution campaign with Earth Share in which Natural Body partially matched such contributions. We are now in our fourth year with workplace campaigns for Earth Share and have pledged in excess of $40,000 to this environmental nonprofit. We reward our eco-ambassador in every location to excite the team to achieve their philanthropic goals, so the store that improves the most is awarded a team party.”

The ultimate goal is to become a zero waste spa by sending nothing to landfills—an audacious goal on the sustainability path. Sheila Armen at the Strong House Spa in Vermont has taken this goal of achieving zero waste to heart. Strong House started the Cosmetic Recycling Program that allows clients to bring in old products that contain chemicals and get a $5 credit toward organic products. “We then recycle not only the containers but the products inside,” says Armen. “All cleansing products go to our recycling company to wash their trucks.”

Such simple changes are proving successful for spa morale and cost savings across the country. Michael Stusser, founder of Osmosis and president of the Green Spa Network, explained that “our spa has had much stronger cohesiveness since we have become a committed sustainable spa. Many favorable stories in the press and awards from local governmental and business organizations have contributed to a good feeling among staff and guests as we all work together to reduce our load on mother Earth. We estimate that the hard cost savings in training and operational effectiveness to be $12,500 per year, and the improvement in staff moral and customer service substantial.”

Highlights of current greening initiatives in GSN member spa operations include:
• Use LED and CFL lighting, lighting sensors, and educate employees about the conscious use of energy.
• Design spa treatment protocols with conservation fixtures and client messaging that prevents water waste. Subtracting only 1 minute per hot shower can save $75 on utility bills and 2,700 gallons of water per year for a family of three. Eliminating water waste in 14,000 US spas is part of the GSN mission.
• Collecting recyclable microfiber linens that can be used in building materials, and other damaged and worn textiles are donated to animal shelters.
• Reduce paper waste through technological options such as online client software and management tools and eliminate need for printed materials.
• Replace single use supplies with items such as durable beverage cups, cloth hand towels, and microfiber body wraps.
• Utilize biologically safe laundry detergents, non-chlorine bleach and energy efficient equipment.

Stusser states, “The GSN is dedicated to creating a culture of merit by celebrating and sharing best practices. We have begun by having our members take realistic steps that can be easily accomplished with the intention of gradually raising the bar for sustainable business practices throughout the entire spa community. The network acknowledges that we are in this together and sharing our individual successes and innovations will bring everyone closer to the possibility of a transformed world.”

The concept of “green” is often thought of only in terms of environment. The GSN has adopted a 360- degree view of sustainability that benchmarks and measures progress. The benchmarks range from startup initiatives to fully integrated sustainability practices within the following categories:

employee experience
guest experience; treatment protocols
retail products
linens and textiles
food and beverage
community connection
water use
energy use
pool operations

When it comes to a spa’s retail product line, the GSN encourages members to select product lines that correspond with philosophies of well-being, quality, sustainability, and responsibility. The sustainability continuum progresses with these benchmarks:

Incubator level: Whenever possible select retail skincare and other product lines that fit your sustainability goals; communicate your sustainability and ingredient goals to product suppliers; plan to eliminate products that contain synthetics, fragrances and dyes, phthalates, parabens, and triclosan.

Initiative level: Audit retail products from a sustainability perspective; request that supplier(s) employ sustainable practices such as packaging, local sourcing of raw materials; and ensure that at least 20% of products offered are fair trade, organic, sustainable, made with pure ingredients, and packaged sustainably.

Integrated level: 100% of retail skincare products are certified at the highest level [USDA NOP, EcoCert, Natural Products Association, NaTrue, Soil Association, NSF, or BDIH certification] for product quality, purity, and sustainability.

Most GSN member spas are beyond the initiative level in the retail product category and aspiring to the fully integrated level as certifications and verifications are made available.



Rhana Pytell is co- founder and director of GAIA Spa in La Jolla CA. Ms. Pytell also founded Amethyst Systems, a company that provides templates and spa management tools in a web-based format. Rhana serves on the board of the Green Spa Network.