Green Technology Conference

The Ultimate in Conscious Media

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 by

GaiamTV

If you consider yourself a  conscious consumer or LOHAS individual you probably seek alternative forms of information, insights that foster betterment of well-being and education instead of FOX, CNN and the E! Channel. I continually find myself seeking other ways to get inspired and informed but have to sift through a lot of garbage to do this. However my problems have been solved with my new found source – GaiamTV. You may have seen my previous post on The Growth of Online Yoga and Fitness that gives a list of fitness focuses streaming media. However GaiamTV not only covers yoga but much more.

I like to consider GaiamTV the Conscious Netflix of today. It is a streaming video subscription service that offers access to the world’s largest collection of transformational media. It is a fantastic resource for those those seeking knowledge, awareness and personal transformation.

I truly feel that we are standing on the precipice of a new, transformative era and believe that everyone holds the potential for true transformation and higher awareness.  Equally important is the need to have access to creative alternative forms of media that foster awareness and growth.

As a subscriber you get unlimited access to the entire GaiamTV library, including inspiring documentaries, cutting-edge interviews, energizing yoga classes, and much more. This can be overwhelming at first glance but GaiamTV is curated into five categories:

Active & Well:  Explore yoga, fitness and natural health videos to help you look and feel your best.

Spiritual Growth: Learn valuable life lessons and gain personal insight from top spiritual leaders.

Seeking Truth: A new frontier of reality with exclusive programming that explores cutting-edge information and ideas.

Nature & Culture: Venture to the far corners of the earth through exciting travel videos, get a first-hand look at cultural narratives from around the world, and discover the latest in green technology.

Original Programs: Exclusive interviews on provocative topics and original shows with visionary hosts that encourage people to see the world through new eyes.

By providing curated content on a variety of groundbreaking subjects, Gaiam TV is paving the road through the wilderness of today’s mainstream media outlets.

I highly recommend trying the 10 day free trial. If you like it the fee is only $9.95 per month and it is available via computer, mobile device, Roku, Apple TV, Blu-ray player and many others. You can also get a free month for every friend you sign up. It is a great way to develop or round out your personal wellness and development program.

Check it out and see what you think!

The Growth of Online Yoga and Fitness

Friday, July 26, 2013 by

Online yogaUnless you have been living in a cave you already know that yoga has hit the masses. According to a 2012 study by Yoga Journal the U.S. 20.4 million Americans practice yoga, compared to 15.8 million from 2008 and is an increase of 29 percent. Fitness clubs, studios and yoga practitioners have increased spending on yoga classes and products, including equipment, clothing, vacations, and media to $10.3 billion a year. This is up from $5.7 billion in 2008.

Will it continue to grow? In my mind there is no doubt. I see 3 main elements contributing to yoga and fitness going online.

1.  Technology - More and more people are connected via mobile phones, tablets, and computers that provide faster and easier communications and accessibility at an accelerated rate.
2.  Proven Business Model - The progression of various new subscription commerce business models is growing rapidly and ranges from razor blade sample services to fitness memberships.
3.  Behavior Adaptation - The growth of self monitored fitness and fitting time around an individual’s personal schedule compared to the individual arranging their schedule to participate in a fitness class.

These three elements have created a growth and innovative ways to engage with individuals relating to fitness never seen before. There are several LOHAS fitness companies that have successfully used these key elements. I have been fortunate to meet a few online yoga companies and their founders and here are some that I think are doing it right:

My Yoga Online logoMyYogaOnline- www.myyogaonline.com
MyYogaOnline is $9.95 per month and claims to be the #1 yoga website in the world. Their site provides a selection of over 1000 yoga, Pilates and fitness videos filmed in studios around the country such as Laughing Lotus in New York City and 8 Limbs in Seattle.

MyYogaOnline started in 2005 and by Jason Jacobson and his wife Michelle Trantia. Prior to starting MyYogaOnline Jason was in fitness and was a boxing coach. He hung up the gloves for business and film school. His wife was a yoga instructor. And they came up with the idea that combined their passions for film, business and fitness.  When it started streaming media was barely available. "The technology wasn’t there.” says Jacobson, “When we started out I thought things would go a lot faster. I thought that in 5 years everyone would be streaming to TV's.”
Although their projected growth was slower than expected, they are still growing at a rapid pace. Today, they have over 20 employees and are expanding their Vancouver offices for more space to include their own yoga studio.

MyYogaOnline has a very engaged yoga community of 300,000 yogis that are quite vocal and wants to share experiences they have.  They interact with their community with online giveaways and newsletters and also have good relations with many yoga festivals such as Wanderlust.  MyYogaOnline establishes relationships with yoga festival management teams to film the events, and share the festival experience with their community online. They also edit highlight promotions for future festivals. Filming at festivals provides them a unique connection with the yoga community.  Their website is nicely organized and intuitive to navigate.

Yoga Vibes logoYogaVibeswww.yogavibes.com
Yogavibes is $20 per month and features videos filmed in real yoga studios and offer a variety of vinyasa-style classes from renowned teachers like Ana Forrest, Dana Flynn, Faith Hunter, and Sadie Nardini, plus a full primary Ashtanga session with Kino MacGregor. By partnering with Exhale yoga studio and the Wanderlust Festival, YogaVibes keeps their content fresh and timely. You can choose classes based on their style, length, difficulty, anatomical focus, or teacher.

Founder Brian Ratte created YogaVibes after experiencing his own life transformation through yoga in overcoming personal trauma and wanted to share this insight and experience with others.  Extensive work-related travel had him doing yoga classes in studios around the world. Although he was away from home and familiarity, Brian became very drawn to the deep sense of unity he experienced in the yoga-sphere. He saw how people really connected in yoga classes and opened up to new things.

Ratte is also an executive at IBM and began to see the growth of consciousness in society and in business.  He began researching all kinds of things ranging from quantum physics to conscious business practices. He wanted to bridge his two world of yoga and technology and felt compelled to do so. In 2005-06’ he started creating business on his personal time between raising family and work. He started filming yoga classes and launched YogaVibes with 20 classes.  

YogaVibes classes have all kinds of types of people in classes representing all types of viewers.  “People like to see people like them in classes and we have many feedback comments to support this.” says Ratte. It  has a model that focuses on meeting people where they are at by not having famous teachers and attractive settings for yoga . It seems to be working as the YogaVibes has doubled its growth rate every 6 months for the last 4 years.

GaiamTV logoGaiamTV.com www.GaiamTV.com
GaiamTV is $9.95 per month and an extension of Gaiam, one of the country¹s largest producers and distributors of yoga and fitness DVDs, has joined the online video market with the launch of its streaming service, GaiamTV.com. This strategic move has positioned Gaiam to become a leading hub of yoga and wellness on demand. One can access almost every DVD produced by Gaiam in the last 15 years from your computer or mobile device.

Gaiam TV offers over 1,000 yoga and fitness titles with the brand¹s mainstays like Rodney Yee, Colleen Saidman and Mari Winsor, along with newer names like Kathryn Budig, Shiva Rea and Seane Corn. In the fitness realm, Jillian Michaels is their marquee name.  Gaiam TV's original digital titles include top talent like Kia Miller, Tommy Rosen, Amy Ippoliti, Chrissy Carter and dozens more covering every yoga style and level.

But what makes Gaiam TV different from other online yoga services is the wealth of additional transformational content offered. Subscribers can learn valuable life lessons from top spiritual leaders like Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson and the Dalai Lama; venture to the edges of reality with exclusive programming with hosts like George Noory and David Wilcock; get a first-hand look at cultural narratives from around the world; or discover the latest in green technology. This positions Gaiam TV well, since other online yoga services don¹t venture beyond yoga content.

These are only a few online fitness options currently available and more will show up as well as new concepts as it evolves. If you are into yoga and general fitness I recommend you try one as this may be the new norm for many gym goers or travelers.


 

Hurricanes: Bad for Business. LOHAS Conference: Good for Business!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 by

June 1 was the official start of hurricane season. It’s also the start of the “rainy season” here in Florida. Tropical Storm Andrea has already visited, dumping over 3 inches of rain in a couple of hours. We seem to be off to a fast start.

Causes for Concern 

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), 2013 is expected to be an "active or extremely active" hurricane season.

At the same time, the Earth just crossed the threshold to 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. For those of you who don't follow climate issues, that's not good. According to the New York Times, that's the highest level in 3 million years. This level of CO2 warms the planet and provides the fuel for ever stronger hurricanes. It is no coincidence that 8 of the top 10 costliest hurricanes in U.S. history have occurred just since 2004.

For a wide-ranging view of the costs of climate change, read this study from the National Journal. It covers the many ways that climate change costs money right now.

As a Floridian, I have begun the usual preparations for hurricane season: stocking up on drinking water, non-perishable foods, batteries, First Aid kit, etc.

But as a small business person, I know that my green business is at risk from extreme weather. If the electricity goes out, so does my equipment – phones, laptop, printer. My connection to customers is lost, and my work for them is delayed.

That would make me an unreliable service provider – something I promise customers that I’ll never be.  My customers (bless them!) don’t care that the U.S. electric grid is fragile. They just want their stuff.

If the pond behind my house floods, then my home office may become a large puddle. It hasn’t happened in the 12 years we’ve been here – but it could. If I lose both power and my work location, a whole new set of costs and problems ensues. And I will lose time and money as I scramble to recover.

If the worst happens, e.g. Tampa gets hit squarely by a big hurricane, then there’s the possibility that my home and business get blown away. Which U.S. city is considered most overdue for a hurricane this year? According to NOAA, it’s Tampa. And yes, I do take that seriously.

Extreme weather means business disruption

Property damage, work delays, even death. We just saw a text book case of this with Hurricane Sandy last year. No business is immune. From the farmers who watch their drought-stricken crops wither in the field to the property insurers who have to pay out claim after claim (and sometimes don’t), no one benefits from extreme weather.

So why don’t businesses step forward and say – loudly and clearly - to their representatives, their customers and their suppliers: “Climate change is a big deal. We know it threatens our livelihoods as business people, and we know it’s a threat to you, our customers. Here’s what we plan to do about it, and here’s what you, our customers, can do to help.”

On the one hand, it’s a naïve question. On the other, it’s a simple, straight-forward one. Either way, it requires an answer.

I wonder at the continued folly of many big corporations around climate change. According to Ernest Moniz, formerly of MIT and newly-confirmed Secretary of the Energy Department: "We will need not only technology innovation and policy innovation to achieve a low-carbon future — but also business model innovation."

That’s a diplomatic way of saying, “The old “grow-at-all-costs, put-profits-first” model will be the death of us. We need a different approach.” The chances of that happening voluntarily – especially in the hide-bound energy sector - are slim.

And the energy industry is not alone. Professor Michael Toffel of Harvard Business School writes, "Corporate Sustainability is Not Sustainable." In short, he describes how the actions of even the best intentioned corporations to date are not up to the scale of the problem.

So, what to do?

One postitive step - go to the LOHAS conference next week!

And also:

  • Get educated about climate change and share what you know. You don't have to be a scientist to understand the basics of what is happening. One source of information I rely on is Climate Progress.
  • Lower your carbon foot print. LOHAS is a great source of information, but so are sites like Practically Green and Green America.
  • Vote with your dollars. Switch to greener products and services. Check out Vine.com - Amazon's market place for greener and more sustainable items. And explore the LOHAS Hub. Truly green businesses that transact with other green businesses move the economy in the direction it needs to go.

Is this a shameless plug for the LOHAS conference? Yes. (And no, Ted Ning didn’t put me up to this.) But attend, connect, and find at least one new way to support a more sustainable economy. That’s the value of the LOHAS conference: learn, do, and – oh yes! – enjoy!

 

Alison Lueders is the Founder and Principal oGreat Green Editing. She provides writing and editing services to green businesses and social enterprises that value high-quality content. She is a graduate of Harvard College and received her MBA from MIT. She earned her Bronze seal from Green America in April 2013 and Platinum-level recognition from the Green Business Bureau in 2012. 

Sweden green rocks

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 by

One of my dreams has been to live in a sustainable self-sufficient house buried in pristine nature. A house with low energy consumption, low service costs, simple maintenance, no connection to municipal drains or district heating, gray water and human waste recycling. Simply, a house with a minimal impact on the environment - in its construction, running and end-life. Does that sound surreal?

Well, it is not. Sweden is where green dreams come true. When I saw their houses, I immediately fell in love with its simple design and complex environmental consciousness. 

EcoCycleDesign, however, goes beyond building new housing. They take the challenge of greening your current construction.

In Sweden, sustainability has a long history. Although dependent on heavy industry like forestry and metals, especially aluminum, Sweden was one of the first countries in the world to develop solutions that were environmentally friendly. Somewhere back in the fifties and sixties.

Lars Ling, the Chief Executive of CleanTech Region, who represents those progressive companies, would tell you that “since the early nineties, the nation has run an aggressive campaign to reduce the damage caused by climate change, and its adoption of green technologies is considered exemplary. Among others, Sweden can claim one of the largest ethanol-powered bus fleets in the world. It’s a world- leader in the conversion of waste into power – dozens of municipalities now produce biogas from sewage. And rather than wringing their hands over pollution from road vehicles, successive governments have set an example to ordinary motorists by mandating that nearly all publicly-owned vehicles are ‘flexible-fuelled’ and insisting that petrol stations offer at least one type of biofuel.”

If you look for some inspirations yourself, don't miss this crispy green online magazine - Green Solutions from Sweden

Ah, have I mentioned you can touch and feel the Swedish sustainable designs? There are trips organized to the CleanTech Region, so you may want to check those too.

 

From Growth Capitalism to Sustainable Capitalism: The Next 20 years of Sustainable Investing

Monday, December 3, 2012 by

By Joe Keefe, President and CEO, Pax World Management  (From the special 20th Anniversary issue of the GreenMoney Journal and www.GreenMoney.com )

Twenty years from now, we will have either successfully transitioned from our current economic growth paradigm to a new model of Sustainable Capitalism or we will be suffering the calamitous consequences of our failure to do so. Likewise, sustainable investing will either remain a niche strategy or it will have supplanted mainstream investing. This is the critical point we must embrace: sustainable investing can no longer simply present itself as an alternative to traditional investment approaches that ignore environmental, social and governance (ESG) imperatives; it cannot simply be for some people; it must actually triumph over and displace traditional investing.  

The current model of global capitalism - call it growth capitalism - is premised upon perpetual economic growth that must ultimately invade all accessible habitat and consume all available resources.[Footnote 1] Growth capitalism must eventually collapse, and is in fact collapsing, for the simple reason that a finite planet cannot sustain infinite growth. Moreover, the dislocations associated with this infinite growth paradigm and its incipient demise - climate change, rising inequality and extreme poverty, resource scarcity (including food and water shortages), habitat loss and species extinctions, ever more frequent financial crises, to name just a few - will increasingly bedevil global policy makers in the years ahead. The public sector is already experiencing a high degree of dysfunction associated with its inability to confront a defining feature of this system: the need for perpetual growth in consumption spurs a corresponding growth in public and private debt to fuel that consumption, which has roiled financial markets and sovereign finances across the globe. 

Meanwhile, the environmental fallout from this infinite growth paradigm is becoming acute. All of earth’s natural systems – air, water, minerals, oil, forests and rainforests, soil, wetlands, fisheries, coral reefs, the oceans themselves – are in serious decline. Climate change is just one symptom. “The problem is the delusion that we can have infinite quantitative economic growth, that we can keep having more and more stuff, on a finite planet.”[FN 2] The problem is an economic system that makes no distinction between capital investments that destroy the environment, or worsen public health, or exacerbate economic inequality, and those that are aligned with earth’s natural systems while promoting the general welfare. Under growth capitalism, a dollar of output is a dollar of output, regardless of its side effects; short-term profit is valued regardless of the long-term consequences or externalities. 

It is therefore discouraging that, in the U.S. at least, there is no serious discussion in mainstream policy circles about alternatives to the present system. Nor do I think there will be for some time given our current political/cultural drift. Political and economic elites, and the public itself, remain committed to growth capitalism, accustomed to “having more and more stuff,” for a host of economic, social and psychological reasons. As Jeremy Grantham has written, “[t]he problems of compounding growth in the face of finite resources are not easily understood by optimistic, short-term-oriented, and relatively innumerate humans (especially the political variety).”[FN 3] Our campaign finance system, wherein policy makers are essentially bought off by and incentivized to advance the very interests that stand to profit most from the current system, is no help. Making matters worse, large segments of the public do not even accept what science teaches us about climate change, or natural systems, or evolution, or a host of other pressing realities. The late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said that everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts. Today, it seems that a growing number of people, aided and abetted by special interests that stand to benefit from public ignorance, are increasingly opting for their own “facts.”

So, neither the public sector nor corporate and economic elites, as a result of some newfound enlightenment, seem poised to consider alternatives to the current system. To the contrary, their first impulse will be to resist any such efforts. This is the critical problem at the moment: while there is an array of powerful forces aligned against the type of sweeping, systemic change that is needed, there is no organized constituency for it. There are individuals and groups who support this or that reform, or who are focused on critical pieces of the larger puzzle (e.g., climate change, sustainable food & agriculture, gender equality, sustainable investing), but there is no movement, no political party or leader, no policy agenda to connect the dots.

That is a shame because there is a clear alternative to growth capitalism that has been articulated in recent years by a diverse body of economists, ecologists, scientists and other leading thinkers - including leaders in the sustainable investment community.[FN 4]

Although there is as of yet no unified theory or common language, let alone any sort of organized movement to speak of, what has emerged is essentially a unified vision, and that vision might best be described as Sustainable Capitalism.[FN 5]

Sustainable Capitalism may be thought of as a market system where the quality of output replaces the quantity of output as the measure of economic well-being. Sustainable Capitalism “explicitly integrates environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into strategy, the measurement of outputs and the assessment of both risks and opportunities…. encourages us to generate financial returns in a long-term and responsible manner, and calls for internalizing negative externalities through appropriate pricing.”[FN 6] Essentially, business corporations and markets alter their focus from maximizing short-term profit to maximizing long-term value, and long-term value expressly includes the societal benefits associated with or derived from economic activity. The connections between economic output and ecological/societal health are no longer obscured but are expressly linked.[FN 7]

There is no question that growth capitalism must give way to Sustainable Capitalism. It’s as simple, and as urgent, as that. Over the next 20 years, the sustainable investing industry must play a pivotal leadership role in ushering in this historic transformation. We will need to connect the dots and catalyze the movement. Why us? For the simple reason that finance is where the battle must be joined. It is the financial system that determines how and where capital is invested, what is valued and not valued, priced and not priced. The sustainable investment community’s role is vital because the fundamental struggle is between a long-term perspective that fully integrates ESG factors into economic and investment decisions and our current paradigm which is increasingly organized around short-term trading gains as the primary driver of capital investment and economic growth regardless of consequences/externalities.

The notion that sustainable investing can simply keep to its current trajectory - a few more assets under management here, a few more successful shareholder resolutions there, a few more GRI reports issued, another UN conference, an occasional victory at the SEC - and achieve what needs to be achieved on the scale required is, frankly, untenable. We need to be more ambitious in our agenda.

We will also need to take a more critical stance, not only advocating for ESG integration but against economic and investment approaches that ignore ESG concerns. We will need to consistently critique the notion that externalities associated with economic output are somehow collateral, or that financial return is sufficient without beneficial societal returns, or that markets are inherently efficient and self-correcting. We will need to unabashedly offer sustainable investing not as an alternative approach but as a better approach - as the only sensible, responsible way to invest.

I believe the sustainable investing industry will also need to align itself with a more explicit public policy agenda - while remaining non-partisan - and work with like-minded reformers to advocate for that agenda. For example, sustainable investors should be sounding the alarm about resource scarcity and advocating for a massive public/private investment plan in clean energy, efficiency technologies and modernized infrastructure.[FN 8] The age of resource scarcity and the need for efficiency solutions is upon us.[FN 9] At Pax World, we offer a fund - the Global Environmental Markets Fund (formerly the Global Green Fund) - whose investment focus is precisely that. Our industry needs to fashion such investment solutions, and I believe there will be opportunities to do so collaboratively as well as competitively.

I also feel strongly that the greatest impediment to sustainable development across the globe is gender inequality. Advancing and empowering women and girls is not only a moral imperative but can unleash enormous potential that is now locked up in our patriarchal global economy. Sustainable investors need to press the case that gender equality needs to be a pillar of Sustainable Capitalism. At Pax World, we also have a fund - the Global Women’s Equality Fund - whose investment focus is exactly that.

In my view, the sustainable investing community should also be advocating for public funding of federal elections, either through a constitutional amendment or, absent an amendment, through a voluntary public funding system. The notion that we can tackle any major public policy issue, let alone undertake the epochal transition to Sustainable Capitalism, while politicians and regulators are captive to the very interests they are supposed to regulate, is beyond naïve. We will not be able to reform capitalism if we cannot reform Congress. 

Finally, asset management firms like my own will need to find ways to craft new, more persuasive messages, launch new products, form new partnerships, and fashion new distribution strategies and alliances that are focused on lifting the industry as a whole, because a rising tide will lift all boats. Pax World has taken a step in this direction in launching our ESG Managers Portfolios, where many ESG managers and strategies are now available under one roof in one set of asset allocation funds. There is more to be done - together, as an industry. 

The times call for leadership. The transition to Sustainable Capitalism is necessary and urgent, as is the triumph of sustainable investing over investment approaches that effectively prolong and exacerbate the current crisis. Twenty years from now, our industry will be judged by whether we have met this burden of leadership. Our impact either will be dramatic or inconsequential. We either will succeed or we will fail. We should resolve to succeed, and to work collaboratively toward that end. 

 

Article by Joe Keefe, President & CEO of Pax World Management, headquartered in Portsmouth, NH. Pax World manages approximately $2.5 billion in assets, including mutual funds, asset allocation funds and ETFs, all of which follow a sustainable investing approach. Prior to joining Pax World, Joe was President of NewCircle Communications (2000-2005), served as Senior Adviser for Strategic Social Policy at Calvert Group (2003 – 2005), and was Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Citizens Advisers (1997-2000). A former member of the board of US SIF (2000 - 2005), Joe was named by Ethisphere Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics” for 2007, 2008 and 2011, and in 2012 was recognized by Women’s eNews a one of “21 Leaders for the 21st Century, where he was the sole male honoree. 

You should consider a fund's investment objectives, risks and charges and expenses carefully before investing. For this and other important information, please obtain a fund prospectus by calling 800.767.1729 or visiting www.paxworld.com . Please read it carefully before investing.

Equity investments are subject to market fluctuations, a fund’s share price can fall because of weakness in the broad market, a particular industry, or specific holdings. Emerging market and international investments involve risk of capital loss from unfavorable fluctuations in currency values, differences in generally accepted accounting principles, economic or political instability in other nations or increased volatility and lower trading volume.

Distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc., Member: FINRA            PAX002590 08/13

Footnotes:

[1] See, William E. Rees, “Toward a Sustainable World Economy,” Paper delivered at Institute for New Economic Thinking Annual Conference, Bretton Woods, NH, April 2011, p. 4.

[2] Paul Gilding, The Great Disruption, Bloomsbury Press, 2011, p. 186.

[3] Jeremy Grantham, “Time to Wake Up: Days of Abundant Resources and Falling Prices Are Over Forever,” April 2011 GMO Quarterly Letter.

[4] I am thinking of such writers and thinkers as Wendell Berry, Lester Brown, Paul Gilding, Herman Daly, Thomas Friedman, Paul Hawken, Richard Heinberg, Mark Hertsgaard, Amory Lovins, Hunter Lovins, Bill McKibben, Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers & Dennis Meadows, James Gustave Speth and, of course, E.F. Schumacher. Contributions from the sustainable investing community include Steven Lydenberg’s Corporations and The Public Interest, Robert Monks’s The New Global Investors, Marjorie Kelly’s The Divine Right of Capital, and The New Capitalists by Stephen Davis, Jon Lukomnik & David Pitt-Watson. See also the work of The Capital Institute, www.capitalinstitute.org

[5] Credit Al Gore, David Blood, Peter Wright and the folks at Generation Investment Management for putting a stake in the ground and endeavoring to define and popularize this concept.

[6] “Sustainable Capitalism,” Generation Investment Management LLP, 2012, p. 2.

[7] This notion of Sustainable Capitalism is not unlike the concept of “shared value” s advanced by Michael E. Porter and Mark E. Kramer. See, “Creating Shared Value,” Harvard Business Review, Jan-Feb 2011.

[8] See Daniel Alpert, Robert Hockett & Nouriel Roubini, “The Way Forward: Moving From the Post-Bubble, Post-Bust Economy to Renewed Growth and Competitiveness,” © 2011, New America Foundation, www.newamerica.net

[9] See Jeremy Grantham, “Time to Wake Up: Days of Abundant Resources and Falling Prices Are Over Forever,” supra; See also, “Resource Scarcity and The Efficiency Revolution,” Impax Asset Management, www.impaxam.com

 

For more information go to- www.GreenMoney.com

 

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Slipping Green Through the Back Door

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 by

Laguna Niguel, CA — America is going green, but not the way environmentalists had planned it. The unlikely hero is none other than Corporate America, which is giving consumers the green whether they realize it or not. Why? Because it’s good for the customer, it’s good business, and let’s face it, as MGM Senior Vice President of Environment and Energy Cindy Ortega articulates, “It is also good for employee morale and retention — people want to work for companies who care about the world around them.”

 

"Over 70 percent of the wood we now sell is certified. But you won't find us advertising or promoting that fact," said Ron Jarvis, senior vice president of Environmental Innovation for The Home Depot. Photo by Mathew Wilson (Courtesy of Flickr).

Here’s a great example of this sales strategy as employed by The Home Depot: “Over 70 percent of the wood we now sell is certified. But you won’t find us advertising or promoting that fact,” said Ron Jarvis, senior vice president of Environmental Innovation for The Home Depot at its Atlanta headquarters. Jarvis was in Laguna Niguel recently to attend “Fortune Brainstorm Green,” a high level conference attended by many prominent green industry corporate and NGO executives.

“Our data shows that most customers will not pay extra for sustainable wood, and in some cases, they consider “green” wood a negative. We believe that FSC wood is the best way to go for both quality and sustainability reasons, so, most of the wood we sell in developing countries is FSC certified. We do believe in educating our customers and employees about sustainability, but at the same time the voice of the customer is always our top priority. Thus including FSC wood without charging a price premium is the right thing to do, and thankfully, due to our enormous volume and purchasing power, we can make this equation work business-wise,” Jarvis explained.

Jarvis’ competitors at Lowe’s also have a couple examples of this same premise. “There are multiple variations of a “green” consumer. In fact, according to the 2011 US LOHAS Consumers Trends poll, 83 percent of consumers identify with “green” at some level. However, the greenness of consumers changes with multiple factors, including the economy and available income, as well as age and generations,” said Michael Chenard, Director of Corporate Sustainability for Lowe’s at its Mooresville, NC headquarters. “Today, 100 percent of the bathroom faucets Lowe’s carries are WaterSense (low flow) certified, and that’s been the case for more than three years. Lowe’s also has more in-stock Energy Star-qualified appliances and lighting fixtures than any other major home improvement retailer.”

 

According to the 2011 US LOHAS Consumers Trends poll, 83 percent of consumers identify with "green" at some level. Graph by Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), 2009 LOHAS Consumer Trends Database.

Keeping with the theme of “going green through the back door,” shipping giant UPS is using sophisticated software and data to develop the cheapest, most fuel efficient way to move packages from point A to point B. These savings are passed along to the consumer, according to Scott Wicker, UPS’ chief sustainability officer at its Atlanta headquarters. Also in attendance at Fortune Brainstorm Green, Wicker said UPS is testing all types of fuel efficient vehicles in its massive fleet, including full electric, hybrid, compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas, among others. Vehicles that operate out of central depots in large urban areas are the best prospect for going full greenfleet because of the range limitations of electric and other nascent technologies. “We also use telematics to monitor over 200 data points via satellite from our trucks, which helps us train the drivers in maximum fuel efficient driving techniques and ensure they are taking the shortest routes, not letting the engines idle excessively, among other factors,” Wicker said. Alas, out of over 100,000 vehicles, only about 2,600 are truly alt-fuel at this time. Wicker says that number will grow over time, but not surprisingly, cost will ultimately trump all other considerations.

 

 

UPS is testing all types of fuel efficient vehicles in its massive fleet, including full electric, hybrid, compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas, among others. Photo by Schnaars (Courtesy of Flickr).

How about the clothes we wear? Levi’s is also employing the “going green through the back door” technique. “We are committed to the Better Cotton Initiative because we believe it can change the way cotton is grown around the world, positively impacting the environment and supporting 300 million people engaged in cotton farming around the world — without creating higher prices for consumers,” said Brianna Wolf, Manager of Environmental Sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co. “Last fall, we started blending the first Better Cotton harvest into Levi and Denizen products. To date, we’ve produced more than five million garments containing a Better Cotton blend.” However, you won’t find a label identifying clothing made with Better Cotton quite yet. “Participating brands are holding off on direct product labeling during this start-up phase, to allow supply to scale to meet demand. For now, we encourage consumers to learn more about Better Cotton and support brands who are integrating it into their product lines at bettercotton.org,” explained Wolf.

And what about that all-important cup of morning Joe? While many consumers are frustrated by Starbucks’ lack of recyclable cups, the company does take good care of its key suppliers — the coffee growers toiling in the fields of faraway places. “When someone buys a cup of our coffee, they probably don’t know that the beans are produced with social, environmental and economic best practices in mind. Our C.A.F.E. Practices coffee-buying program includes rigorous sourcing standards covering: fair wages and benefits; access to medical care and education; specific high standards for conservation and biodiversity; amongst other criteria.” said Kelly Goodejohn, Director of Ethical Sourcing for Starbucks. “For the past ten years we have partnered with Conservation International on C.A.F.E. Practices. Currently, 84% of our coffee is ethically sourced through this model. By 2015, 100% of our coffee will be third party verified or certified, ensuring that all the coffee we purchase has been grown and processed responsibly.”

 

 

By 2015, Starbucks vows to have 100% of their coffee be third party verified or certified, ensuring that all the coffee they purchase has been grown and processed responsibly. Photo Courtesy of Starbucks. 

Indeed, there are some case histories that bear out the thesis that mostly due to the economy, consumers simply have not embraced going green over the past several years. This is a bitter pill to swallow for green opinion leaders, but may explain why products like Clorox Green Works home cleaning products have gone straight up, then plunged back to earth with a resounding thud. Recall that Green Works was launched in 2008 with great fanfare, and zoomed to over $100 million in sales within two years. Inexplicably, sales started to drop off, and even a price reduction to parity with non-green competitive products could not revive Green Works. Adding insult to injury, general opinion of experts was that the Green Works products performed very well, and backed up the claims made by Clorox. This is worthy of mention because a number of green products have been rushed to market without proper testing, bringing a black eye to the movement when consumers felt snake bit by paying premium prices for products that did not live up to their hype.

“In the past, consumers have felt that purchasing green products would require some form of sacrifice — spending more money or an inferior design. Today, that has changed,” declared Joel Babbit, CEO and co-founder of online daily green news magazine Mother Nature Network (MNN). “Not only have prices become more comparable — but the associated savings in lower energy bills, water usage, and using lesser quantities that come with green products often result in a cost advantage. On the design side — as opposed to the clunky or boring approach so common just a few years ago — many of the most innovative and attractive products now entering the market are green.”

You can read more by Jennifer Schwab by following her blog, Inner Green.

 

 

The Common Good Enterprise: A New Term for an Emerging Field

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 by

This editorial was originally published on CSRwire's Talkback blog.

non profit businessAs an investment advisor, I (Jim) am often asked to sit on nonprofit boards. I have grown uncomfortable with the term not-for-profit to describe these organizations, which often embrace business principles in their operations. For example, DC Greenworks generates income from government contracts and fees for green roof installations.

In 2002 I (Alicia) had difficulty finding graduate courses that blended business and social values. At a 2009 Net Impact conference, I was overwhelmed by the presence of over 2,000 MBA students interested in the common good.  When a conference attendee told me his girlfriend had complained of being assigned my father’s book When Corporations Rule the World, a tome on pitfalls of global corporations, yet again as part of her MBA program, I knew the world was changing.

A new sector is being born that blurs the lines between for-profit and not-for-profit worlds.  Business used to be about jobs and profit. Civil society organizations were the avenues to give back beyond job creation and products.  

Today an increasing number of businesses are building healthy communities, living wages and sustainable products into their corporate DNA. And more civil society organizations are embracing business values.

The Private Sector Has a Broader Mission

476 companies with $2.27 billion in annual revenue are certified now as B corporations, a designation given to businesses that meet environmental, governance and social criteria by the not-for-profit B Lab.

Certification has been followed by a tidal wave of state legislation giving such businesses legal jurisdiction.  Maryland, Vermont, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, New York and Virginia are front runners. In 2012 Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and DC will likely follow.

This legislation is significant. It supersedes a body of law legally interpreted to mean corporations must consider shareholder value before taking into account other stakeholders—including communities, employees and the planet.

Jim, who played a major role in passing two of these laws, co-founded a company that will become a B corporation called Blue Ridge Produce. The company aggregates locally grown food for sale to grocery stores and institutional buyers in the Washington DC area.  With the common good built into its corporate DNA, Blue Ridge Produce aims to maintain a healthy farming community in the region and will:

  • provide secure markets for local farmer
  • reduce the carbon footprint by keeping food closer to home
  • convert conventional growers to organic producers

 Business networking organizations like the Social Venture Network (SVN), B Lab, Social Enterprise Alliance, Investors’ Circle and the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) are further helping the trend become a global movement.

While the Nonprofit Sector is Adopting Business Principles

Change is also happening within civil society organizations, motivated in part by technology entrepreneurs grounding their philanthropy in business values. The Skoll Foundation funded by eBay mogul Jeffrey Skoll provides grantees funding to develop engines of growth.  Called resource engines, some grantees are using funds to build business principles into their non-profit structures.

Created in 2009, the civil society organization Practice Greenhealth receives over half of its annual budget from membership dues paid by health providers like Kaiser Permanent in exchange for services aimed at greening their hospitals. Founder Gary Cohen built this resource engine after talking to entrepreneurs at the Skoll World Forum.

Language Is Powerful

Nothing captures an emerging trend like a name.

A name can in fact determine whether an idea or product popularizes or stays relegated to a small group of believers.  Just look at the dolphin fish. Only when restaurants began using its Hawaiian name Mahi-Mahi did this fish, which has no relation to the dolphin, begin to gain popularity in the United States.  After all, who wants to eat Flipper with an apricot glaze?  

Social enterprise, mission-driven business and for benefit corporations are a few of the descriptors for organizations blending business principles with common good aims.

We believe the movement can better communicate the power and purpose of this emerging field.

A New Operating System: The Common Good Enterprise

In our search for better lexicon, Jim came across a neglected phrase we would like to bring center stage: “the common good enterprise.” Here’s our definition:

A for-profit or not-for-profit organization whose primary purpose is to promote the well-being of people and/or the planet.  The organization generates at least a percentage of its revenue through the sale of goods and services (adapted from Kevin Lynch; Advertising on Higher Ground).

Why “common good enterprise”?

Its power is its clarity.

Common comes from the word “commons,” which describes a relationship to the community as a whole. Common good intuitively includes a regard for the planet, respect for individuals’ human rights, and support of communities.

The word “enterprise” is also self-explanatory—and speaks to revenue generated from the sale of goods and services.

 Common good enterprise is clearer than other terms such as its more popular sibling “social enterprise.”  Does “social enterprise” exclusively describe businesses? Or non-profits? Does “social” include the planet? Only leaps of the imagination can make the connection.

Conclusion

The labels we use for this new field matter.  Easy to grasp language provides a framework to help the public co-create this emerging sector.

Clear terms can translate into financial benefit. Why not pass legislation providing government procurement advantages to common good enterprises—whether companies or civil society organizations?  Could such language catalyze new capital pools?

It’s time to embrace “common good enterprise”—a term for organizations using business principles in support of the common good that will help mainstream the movement and make opportunities this field opens up a reality. 

Jim Epstein

Jim is the founder and Chairman of EFO Capital Management Inc., a family investment firm based in Washington D.C.  Jim is the developer of Belmont Bay, a mixed-use, pedestrian friendly community on the Occoquan River near Woodbridge, Virginia and is finalizing plans for a village development at the north end of Culpeper County, Virginia. Early in 2011 he founded Blue Ridge Produce, a local food aggregation operation that sources food from Virginia and the eastern seaboard for sale to grocery stores and wholesale and institution buyers in the Washington Metropolitan area.  Jim is a member of the Congress of New Urbanism and Social Venture Network.  His wide- ranging interests have led him to serve as Chairman of Dance Place and DC Greenworks, as a Board member at Trickles Foundation, and as an Emeritus member at Pathfinder International

Alicia Epstein Korten  Be Your Brand

"Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast" Peter Drucker

An award winning author, keynote speaker and culture consultant for ReNual, Alicia has led corporate culture transformation initiatives that have set offices on fire with new ideas, engaged employees, produced loyal, happy customers and increased profits.  Clients include Levis, Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group, Mary’s Gone Crackers, Longfellow Sports Club, the Ford Foundation and the United Nations.  Her latest book Change Philanthropy is the winner of an Axiom Business Book Award gold medal.  She is a contributing author to Wake Me Up When the Data Is Over:  How Organizations Use Stories to Drive Results, an affiliate of the Social Ventures Network, a Fulbright Scholar and a graduate of Brown University. 3 facts about her: she motorcycled across Bali, lived on a garbage dump in the Philippines for a week and recently fulfilled her life long dream of swimming with dolphins.

Contact Alicia for a complimentary consultation: (703) 875 – 9139 or email her
Follow on Twitter: Search “Alicia Korten” or try @beyorbrand (may change as we are rebranding)
Renual YouTube Videos
Sign up for ReNual’s culture-zine at: www.renual.com

 

 

LOHAS Goes Urban

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 by

Earlier this year I attended the Urban Green Summit. This was an event that focused on the inner city citizens of Denver to promote better awareness of green and sustainable business opportunities. It was definitely a crowd that I wanted to connect with and peaked my curiosity to know if LOHAS aspects penetrate different cultures and economic circumstances. I was not disappointed. The event was developed by CURE-T’s Dr. H. Malcolm who received federal funding to promote green jobs and education in Colorado. Dr. Malcolm is a mover and a shaker and you can’t help but be magnetized to his presence and his message. He is always deflecting praise and bringing in others to highlight. This is a sign of a great leader in my book. He also echoed a concern that I have myself: Why is it that the urban communities of color always appear absent in green initiatives, conferences and activities? The LOHAS market tends to target the largely affluent caucasian market. But there is plenty of opportunity unseen and untouched in the minority dominant urban markets as well.

The summit had a star studded panel that included Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All, environmentalist and author, John Francis III and founder of Green for All and current president of Rebuild a Dream, Van Jones. These heavy hitters were mixed with other local movers and shakers in the green movement. Unfortunately I was hoping that there would be more people in attendance at the event. I was told from an insider that having an event on a Saturday morning early is not so PC in the African American communities. There were indeed more people who were there as the day progressed.  I found it to be a very interesting event and demonstrated that green needs to be connected to the urban community by education and clear benefits. The best presentation for me came from Van Jones.

Here is what Van had to say to the urban based audience. See if it resonates with you:

van jones“These days people are gathering in unusual groups. Not large groups but different ones. They are the ones who grew were the sensitive children. These are the ones that wanted to save the polar bears and save the world and were disturbed by the mistreatment of others. This tribe is just beginning to find each other. There are more people entering life who are sensitive. Something happening where humanity is being tested and if we don’t pass nothing will be left. Will humanity prove to be a blessing or a curse. This the first time technology and size make up a force of nature. The creator could have made us as robots he did not. We are something more interesting. We have free will, choice and decision making abilities. All other species are set in process.

Will we be locusts or honey bees? Both work hard but one is destructive and one is constructive. Locusts wipe out everything in its path. Destroy habitat until there is none at which point they die. Bees work is a blessing. It makes life of others possible. This movement is deeper than just solar panels and part of interest is the growing sense of peril. I cannot believe that only one race cares for the earth. The U.S. colonization was just as much about land as it was about labor. Land is sacred. We need to remember to view it as such instead of a commodity. We need to remember the difference between a tree and lumber, an animal vs. a pelt, a person vs. a slave. These sacred beliefs were considered paganism. Indigenous peoples of the world have this wisdom and are outcasts in modern society. They are called witches, druids, and pagans. It turns out they are quite wise. They are also known as the highest ecological wisdom. It is only now after 500 years of colonization that the children of the colonizers are coming around to honoring this wisdom.

Do we belong to the earth or does the earth belong to us? An economy that is run by fossil fuels equals trouble in the future. We run a civilization that runs on death. Coal is 40 million years old. Oil is 60 million years old. Both are made up of dead materials. We burn death in our cars and as electricity but are shocked when death shows up as asthma and global warming. We are much better when we have a living economy. One that runs on life such as the sun, wind and water.

So how do we get there? We need to change our ways. Change has 4 drivers. There are the mystics. They see the vision of what we are to become. Then there are the artists who popularize the vision. The entrepreneurs who create the technologies and then the politicians who create the rules.  The current culture is not ready for change. The Tea Party is a buzz saw. And yet the biosphere is so small that we need change. We are a soap bubble in the universe.  What can we do? The last economy had 3 mistakes: 1. Consumptions 2. Credit 3.Ecological destruction

Production has moved overseas and our economy was based on spending. Kill it, shrink wrap it, sell it, trash it was the method. The past 18 months has seen the most wacky weather and environmental changes. Mother earth is telling us something. We need to adopt a strategy of green growth, restoration and conservation. Create local consumption that respects the earth. If I had talked to you all in 08’ it would have been very different. You would have all been smiling. Obama will take care of us. Now everyone is looking gloomy. This was only 2 ½ years ago. Do you remember where you were when he was elected? When he was sworn into office? How you felt? We forgot how we got to that moment. Obama was not the author for hope. The movement for hope didn’t start with Obama it started in 03’. When Bush went to war you stood up. More people mobilized in the 1st week than Vietnam did in 6 years. We lost but we didn’t quit. In 06’ Kerry ran and was only 100K votes short of an Indiana win and lost but we didn’t quit. In 05’ Katrina hit as did the Huffington Post and YouTube. We had the 1st speaker of the house. Obama was out there as an unknown Senator selling a book and ran into the movement and found us. Don’t insult yourself. Obama inspired us but we inspired him first. Now it is time for the movement of hope and change. This can’t be about things we are against but things we are for. We need to be willing to connect people with work that needs to be done. Soldiers are coming home to nothing. Nation building needs to be done here too. There is a saying – bankers get rich in good times, the people go broke in bad times. We need to praise and support our public employees – teachers, fire fighters, nurses and police. Now rich people don’t pay tax and communities are abandoning them when they never have abandoned us.

You were born for a reason. You are sensitive for a reason. Depression is terrible. It clouds you so you can’t see the opportunity. They tried to kill hope in 68’ when Kennedy was assassinated. We are throwing away our efforts because FOX TV is mean. We have been through much more than the tea party. In 1906 no woman could vote, no paid holidays, no weekend, no child labor laws. People fought year after year until today. You fought when they had clubs and guns. We didn’t have social media and yet we mobilized. Are you going to be locusts or honey bees to make the next century ordinary or extraordinary and beautiful.”

Love to hear what you think of what Van Jones has said and if you feel LOHAS can be intergrated into urban markets is a better way.

 

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

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.


Leadership
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
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.


Beauty/Wellness
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.

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

A Greening Effect: Mobile Solution

Thursday, June 23, 2011 by

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

One device to rule them all.

And for the lucky ones you have a tablet.

David Snell, Chief Marketing Officer for QuickMobile, an app consulting firm based in Canada, speaks about how mobile technologies are revolutionizing the way business travelers work and play. An undeniable global focus on a greener environment has encouraged businesses to constantly look for methods to support the call for sustainability.

The Apple iPhone has been by best friend since the beginning in 2006 where my silver 2G is just too memorable to likely end up in scraps. Perhaps to it's deathbed somewhere over in the far East—I will not let him go. Snell comments on how this phone started it all and how the iPhone was the frontrunner in the mobile revolution. The device has changed its outfit between prototypes but the iPhone 4 still stands by the same functional and fun morals, however now it is having a greening effect.

Snell has been to a lot of these conferences and at the end of each, he notices how brochures and waste pile up. LOHAS looked to change this by coming to QuickMobile with an idea of an online brochure. The LOHAS app is free in the Apple App Store, ultimately removing unnecessary waste.

Snell's presentation was in no way an advertisement for Apple or QuickMobile, it was the realization that the mobile world is changing and this is for the best. Our phones are now our computers, our tablets are our organizers; they play movies, book flights even turn on our cars' engines. These mobile devices are decreasing the footprint and changing our world.

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

The Detroit Auto Show: Sure Looks Green to Me

Friday, January 21, 2011 by
I'll bet many of you have heard rumblings from friends and relatives or colleagues at work about the premature death of the green movement, and how the economic recovery must first occur before we even address climate change.  This rhetoric is a groundswell among otherwise rational people, not just climate change deniers.

I just returned from the Detroit Auto Show (courtesy of Ford Motor Company, I should disclose) and there was one overwhelming, over-arching headline that was in your face, anywhere you looked:  the green movement in personal transportation is just beginning.  Virtually every automaker showcased green cars above all else.  Doubting Thomas's claim that electrics and hybrids combined won't amount to more than five percent of the total car market.  It's hard to fathom that almost all the car companies would devote this relentless effort to R&D and marketing launch publicity in return for only a token slice of sales.  Indeed, some analysts seriously question the numbers behind the auto industry going green.  Thankfully, the companies themselves seem rather committed at this point and there appears to be no turning back.

Now, skeptics might say that four or five years ago, when the green movement appeared to be The Next Big Thing times ten, the automakers had to decide to go green and we are just now seeing the real results of those decisions.  (It takes anywhere from two to five years for a new model to make it from concept to production.)  I would humbly submit that the incredible onslaught of hybrid, electric and other alternative fuel vehicles seen at the 2011 North American International Auto Show demonstrates that those who really know - the car makers themselves - believe Gen Y and Net Gen are being raised to be environmentally conscious as part of their DNA and will default to buying green vehicles.

Highlights of this commitment include everything from the new small car line from Ford (Fiesta, Focus and C-Max) to two new models of Prius from Toyota, to the best of show-winning Chevrolet Volt hybrid electric, the all electric Nissan Leaf, and unbelievable electric/hybrid race cars for the street from Mercedes Benz (the E-Cell, an electric version of the new SLS Gullwing which only come in a retina piercing electric yellow hue) and Porsche (the 918 hybrid street exotic and track version, both of which are absolutely stunning).  The only automakers who seemingly didn't have much to boast about green-wise were Ferrari and Maserati.  Even Bentley claims its new GT, all 5,000+ pounds and almost 600 horsepower's worth, is significantly lighter and more fuel-efficient than its predecessor. 


Ford Press Conference 2011

Critics claim that hybrids make great publicity and image, but consumers won't pay thousands more for them.  Even if that turns out to be true, there seems to be a trickle-down effect that benefits everyone.  That is, even good old fashioned gasoline automobiles now get anywhere from good to stunningly great fuel economy.  You don't have to go hybrid or electric to go fuel efficient.  For example, most gas models of the Fiesta, Focus and C-Max from Ford will get 30-45+ mpg.  Those are numbers that even three years ago were almost unachievable.  Clearly, the emphasis on going green has affected the designers and engineers, as has the Federal fuel economy fleet requirement to average 35 mpg by 2020.  They say you cannot mandate technology, and that the free enterprise system won't allow for products that consumers don't want to buy.  What's happening right now with fuel efficient vehicles may prove otherwise.  How great is that for the environment, and consumer pocketbooks?

Another example worthy of mention is why Ford invited me and several other green bloggers to the Detroit show in the first place.  Ford Digital Communications Director Scott Monty brought these greenies in mostly to show off its commitment to open communications with the environmental media.  Participants came from as far away as India, South Africa, Australia, China and Italy, all of which are important international markets for Ford and most major automakers.  Many of these writers were not car people, and for that matter, some didn't even have driver's licenses.  Ford wanted to show off its environmentally responsible activities such as the clean and green River Rouge plant, previously a classic "Allentown" style hot, dirty and polluting facility which now boasts a green roof, grey water systems, green packaging and recycling top to bottom, and cool, well lit working conditions.  For years I wondered about Executive Chairman Bill Ford's grandiose claims from the green soapbox.  The rebuilt Rouge plant is truly a great example of a Rust Belt industrial nightmare turned green showpiece.  Ford also demonstrated its in-car "Sync" system which is directed at Gen Y and Net Gen with everything from full voice activation to internet hot spot, inputs for all forms of digital music, state-of-the-art NAV systems, and more, all at a price point that younger drivers can afford.  All of these features will be offered in the lower priced car lines, not only the upscale models. 


Ford Factory Assembly Line

Most major automakers can point to many green product claims and internal practices that were just a pipedream a few short years ago.  For this, a green blogger such as I, one who admits to liking cars as part of Americana and the freedom of personal transportation, can feel a lot better about where this industry is headed and what it is doing to address climate change.  If the green movement is more hype than reality, this industry ain't buying it and for that we should be grateful.

Soaking Up the Sun

Thursday, October 21, 2010 by

LOS ANGELES -- Shades of '99-'00, it feels like the Tech Boom Act II. Otherwise known as the Solar Power International show, held Oct. 12-14 at the L.A. Convention Center.

A feeling of seemingly limitless optimism filled the hallways and auditorium, as 1000s of senior executives from top renewable energy and solar companies participated in SPI. For those who think the solar business is a fringe industry, think again. Many of the world's top venture capitalists have plowed hundreds of millions if not billions into solar power, much less the governments of China and Germany to name a few. If any naysayers don't believe in the power of green jobs and the positive impact the solar industry can have on the U.S. economy, I sincerely wish they could have been in attendance to see and feel the continued momentum of the solar industry.

The lack of a federal energy policy has hurt the U.S. solar business to be sure, but federal, state and local subsidies have been what's needed to overcome this problem in the interim. Did you know that about 80 percent of the world's solar panel production goes to supply Europe, as the Continent is way ahead of us in creating consumer acceptance for home solar and subsidies to match. Germany has the world's best incentives, which has fueled the growth of the European solar market. This was reflected in attendance at the SPI show, as a hefty percentage of the exhibitors were European.

2010-10-20-CPVpanel.jpg

After exploring booth after booth of traditional, clunky solar panels, one thing caught my eye -- the prominence of CPV development. CPV stands for Concentrated Photovoltaics, and it represents a new technology that generates significantly more power and efficiency per square inch of solar panel. The benefits of this are obvious: fewer and smaller panels can make and store even more power than their conventional photovoltaic panel counterparts. According to SolFocus VP of Sales and Marketing Nancy Hartsoch, CPV is a nascent technology that will work best in desert-like conditions, as in very hot, sunny, dry climates like Nevada, Arizona, or inland Southern California. Product has been deployed commercially as we speak. I was particularly impressed with examples being developed by SolFocus of Mountain View, CA. SolFocus has raised over $200 million, and is being hotly pursued by Aminox, another CPV startup with backing from Kleiner Perkins. Another promising CPV cell developer is EPIR of Naperville, IL, outside of Chicago. (I should mention in the spirit of journalistic integrity that I have done some consulting for EPIR.) By 2011 we will hopefully see 150 MW of CPV deployed and by 2012, up to 515 MW. If these figures are correct, CPV could be a huge step forward in finding a tipping point for both the consumer and utility markets. Continued improvements in technology and price cuts are essential for solar to go en masse.

Speaking of which, one of the most interesting characters I met at SPI was Lyndon Rive, the South African-born CEO of consumer solar provider SolarCity. Foster City, CA-based Solar City is essentially a full-service provider of home solar panels and installation, providing the key additional services of leasing packages and assistance filing all the necessary forms to obtain federal, state and local incentives and rebates. SolarCity uses panels made by leading solar companies such as Yingli Green Energy, First Solar, Kyocera and Sharp, among others. Currently operating only in California, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona and Texas, Solar City has aggressive expansion plans and employment is scheduled to grow from around 1,000 to over 2,000 by the end of 2011. Like many green businesses, profitablility is not happening quite yet because of the sizable investment required for a startup of this magnitude. However, Rive says that SolarCity is cash flow positive, they just have to recognize revenue according to GAAP accounting procedures so this occurs over a 20 year period on each lease. As the company expands into other states, profitability should dramatically increase.

2010-10-20-SolarCity_Residence_Phoenix2.jpg

I hope you can feel the excitement that continues to build around home (and commercial) solar electricity that permeated the L.A. Convention Center's Solar Power International. Next time, I'll tell you more about this compelling conference and the companies that participated. Amidst the uncertainty of our economy and rampant unemployment, this is a bright spot -- one that you should be thinking about when you cast your votes for various candidates and state propositions on November 2nd.

 

Follow Jennifer Schwab on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SCGreen_Home


ECO:nomics -- Creating Environmental Capital

Thursday, March 11, 2010 by

Santa Barbara, Calif -- Talk about brains, power and money in one room. This was the ECO:nomics Conference, put on by The Wall Street Journal at the lush Bacara Resort. Legendary investor T. Boone Pickens; top venture capitalists John Doerr and Vinod Khosla; CEOs of Royal Dutch Shell, Rio Tinto and American Electric Power; Energy Secretary Steven Chu; the list goes on. This was almost enough business horsepower to warrant autograph seeking.

If there is one clear message coming out of this gathering, it's that we need to assign a price or cost to carbon emissions, and soon. Almost all the speakers agreed that be it through a direct tax on carbon -- which would affect the average consumer at the pump and on their energy bills -- or the cap and trade model, which auctions off "permits to pollute" to all businesses that emit carbon, we need to enact some serious legislation on this immediately.

Other provocative subjects discussed included wind energy, natural gas, nuclear energy, other types of alternative power, synthetic genomics (I will admit I had a hard time following J. Craig Venter's rocket science, but it involves using genomic research to discover new ways to produce energy) and not incidentally, water.

In fact, one of the best speakers was Patricia Mulroy, General Manager of Southern Nevada Water Authority. She explained that even with the winter rainfall we have been enjoying, Lake Mead (which supplies water for most of Southern Nevada) will be at dangerously low levels by 2016 and Hoover Dam may stop producing electric power. Scary stuff indeed. Mulroy added that water conservation efforts have been quite successful so far, including incentivizing citizens and developers to remove grass and replace it with low-water landscaping. Southern Nevada's water requirements have been reduced by almost a third since 2002, quite an amazing statistic. My comment is this: for those who think climate change is a myth, what do you propose we do about a situation like this? Even with strong conservation measures in place, we are running out of water...

I am one of many who were wondering whatever happened to T. Boone Pickens' wind energy initiative? Well, the answer is oil prices that were $125 a barrel ended up around $80 and thus the math no longer works. Pickens had 648 wind turbines on order from GE, he was able to negotiate that down to 324 and those will indeed be arriving on his doorstep. He will deploy them but the problem with wind energy remains transmission. Of course, Pickens has now moved on to natural gas as our savior. This concept had a number of supporters in the room but was far from unanimous.

Tom Albanese, CEO of Australia-based Rio Tinto, one of the world's largest mining companies, believes in clean coal and thinks it can be part of the energy solution. (As Director of Sustainability for Sierra Club Green Home.com, I must add that I strongly disagree.) Gregory Boyce, CEO of Peabody Energy which is one of the largest coal companies in the world, gave statistics showing just how married to coal American, Japanese, India and Chinese industrial companies are. Albanese made a very strong point that businesses and investors have been preparing for a cost on carbon for quite awhile now, and not having legislation in place leaves a giant question mark going forward for everyone. This point was echoed by top V.C. John Doerr, who ought to know since he has deployed hundreds of millions of dollars into Cleantech over the past nine years.

One of Doerr's early investments was Bloom Energy, which makes a fuel cell technology called the Bloom Box. This self-contained power unit runs off natural gas and provides enough energy, off the electric power grid, to run a large industrial facility and eventually, a smaller unit will power homes. Bloom has used up over $400 million of investor capital already and the audience was mixed on whether the Bloom Box will ultimately be commercially viable. Stay tuned on this one.

The final speaker was Energy Secretary Steven Chu. I was hoping he would address the important question raised by Rio Tinto's Albanese: now that the world's leading companies have braced themselves for assigning a cost to carbon emissions, when will that be, what will that entail, and how will it be administered? His answer: I am optimistic that energy legislation addressing this issue will be passed this year. And that America still can win the worldwide race to lead the green economy. "The Clean Energy movement is ours to lose. China is moving quickly; they see this industry as a huge export opportunity," he added. "This is an incredible economic opportunity for the United States. We have to rebuild our energy infrastructure to make us energy independent."

 

Follow Jennifer Schwab on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SCGreen_Home


Which Sustainable Business Conference is Right For Me?

Thursday, November 12, 2009 by
If you have been following my tweets or Facebook updates then you know I have been living out of a suitcase for the past few months. It seems like there are a lot of green events and conferences going on this year and you know what – there certainly are. It used to be that there were standard events that everyone attended. Now that green business is all the rage there are more events that bring business leaders together.

I have been to quite a few and still have a few yet to go. Here is a summary of what I have experienced that I hope will help you determine which ones are the most suitable to attend for education and networking.

Conference season – Fall and spring are the times when most of the events happen. Fall is busier than spring so you newbies to the conference scene plan the fall to be traveling.

September:

Expo East – Is the Natural Food and Products show on the east coast. This event brings companies from the organic food and personal care industries together. This year it was in Boston. I didn’t go this year but have been in the past. It is much smaller than the spring west coast show and I like it because east coast companies are well represented. Plus you can actually have a conversation with people at booths rather than deal with a sea of people. If you are located on the east coast it certainly is a good one to attend.

Natural Cosmetic Congress – This is held in Germany and I presented U.S. LOHAS info. It is run by the same organizers as Biofach which is the largest European organic and natural food expo. I enjoyed this because it was about 200 people who focused on the German speaking areas of Europe and organic skincare. Germany has embodied much of LOHAS values into their culture including advancements in skincare. Companies like Dr. Hauschka, Primavera and Weleda are headquartered there. Even though many think Germany is light years ahead of the U.S. in sustainability they are still facing similar challenges such as ingredient listings and certification confusion. Nevertheless it was a great event to get some insight into the happenings of the cosmetic world of Germany.

Health and Beauty Expo – Happens in New York and brings together all the leaders in the cosmetic world. The floor is full of suppliers and manufacturers and well known brands such as Este Lauder and L’Oreal. I have spoken at this event as well which I thought was great. It is always good to get out to new people and educate them on healthy skincare and LOHAS consumer values.  If you are in the skincare market this is the big boy of the industry.

International Spa Conference – The big expo for the spa world and wellness. I have spoken at this event and see more and more green products and services every year. All the new information available on skincare and awareness of organic vs. chemical skincare products has many companies wanting to keep up with consumer demands. Also a very well groomed bunch.

October:

21st Century Book Marketing – A new event that was created for people who are looking to write a book and what steps to follow. It was created by people who have experience in the self help world which makes sense since that is the category that sells the most books. There were about 200 people and some great speakers such as Jack Canfield and Debbie Ford. The sessions were packed full of information on marketing practices and a lot of techniques on social media which I found very useful. Lots of energy and networking. If you are interested in creating, publishing and marketing a book this is a great event for you.

Social Venture Network  – An member organization of entrepreneurs who focus on social and environmental business as their business mission. The founders of Ben & Jerry’s, New Leaf Paper, Odwalla and Aveda are members. This event brings together pioneers of the LOHAS space with new upcoming start ups and nonprofits and provide great opportunities for creating relationships for mentoring, advising and sometimes even investing. There is a lot of heart at this event and a lot of bonding. For those who are not willing to hug strangers – be wary. I really enjoy this event for the heart that is involved and the heartfelt participation that people provide during the conference. SVN has 2 events – 1 in fall and a members only event in spring.

SRI in the Rockies – focuses on socially responsible investing and brings together financial planners and SRI fund managers to talk about investing and shareholder advocacy. I enjoy this event to get a pulse of financials as they relate to LOHAS. They also have great speakers such as Marc Gunther and Jane Goodall speak to add to the social element. Plus they hold a killer dance party. Those fund managers know how to boogie.

Bioneers – A blend of ecological, social justice and artistic creativity that absolutely astounds me. There are about 3,000 people who come together for this and the speakers are unbelievable. I really enjoy hearing and learning about the earth and struggles that people are experiencing so I can share with others. It is very inspirational to see the line of biodiesel and hybrid cars in the parking lots next to the prayer flags and yoga tents and meet people that have ecological thinking in the forefront of their minds. They also provide satellite events throughout the country that are live feeds of the main event to create more local awareness and community. A great one to get really inspired.

Green Spa Network Congress – a fairly new nonprofit attempting to take back spa from the concepts of commercial luxury and pampering and bring it back to is wellness essence. This was a great workshop that had spa and property owners mingle with skincare companies and suppliers to talk about how to create green health spas and sustainable spa practices. Very good people who really care about their businesses and want to do the right thing.

November:

Opportunity Green – a new event held at UCLA focusing on sustainable business and green design. A very high energy event and has about 600 people in attendance. Ther is a mix of eco friendly fashion meeting vibrant upstart green technology. It is a mix of small businesses and some larger corporations. The presentations are go good mix of ‘how to’ for smaller and mid size businesses and case studies from larger corporations that show how much money can be saved by going green. It is also the only big sustainability business conference I know of in LA.

Green Business Conference – held just before Greenfestival, this event is a great one especially for green small and mid size business who really want to be sustainable through and through. They provide a lot of workshops and insight and networking opportunities. Plus it is followed by the largest Greenfestival that has about 40,000 people attend and have wonderful booths, food and speakers. There are also Greenfestivals that occur in Chicago, Seattle, DC and Denver.

Greenbuild – Run by the USGBC and is a massive expo on green building and design. If you are in the design or construction world this is where you get to see the latest innovations in energy efficiency and eco materials. Denim insulation, counter tops of recycled glass, solo tubes, solar panels, energy efficient AC units, LED lighting and everything in between. A very informative event with a lot of momentum that only looks to grow.

Good and Green – held in Chicago and for those interested in learning about green marketing strategy this is a great event. It is also a great place to mix with larger company green marketer and agencies. Companies like Edelman, Martin Agency, Planet Green, Ford, Toshiba and Cotton USA were present last year. I saw a really interesting presentation last year at this event on color patterns in green advertising. Being a marketer myself I find this to be a great event to hear what is happening in larger companies as it relates to their sustainable story.  I am to do a presentation this year and it will test me to see if I can play with the big boys.

LOHAS – The grand daddy of them all! Ok I am biased but we are very proud of our event that brings together 600 business executives that are not only interested in the LOHAS market but also have a personal affinity to the movement. I think the difference between our conference and others is that it provides a bridge between large and small businesses and provides content that is informative and soulful. Many events focus on the business aspect and we provide that plus the ability to network at a heartfelt level. It is a bit difficult to explain but once you go you will know. Mark your calendars for June 23-25th to come to Boulder Colorado for LOHAS!

So as you can see Ive been a bit busy. All of these are great events and please go to the websites of the ones you think are most appropriate for you. You really can’t go wrong with any of them. However I do recommend coming into an event with eyes wide open and to read who is speaking and what topics are going to be spoken about so you can manage expectations and have a bit of a strategy. If you have other events that I have missed and worth mentioning please share them. Love to hear what events you think are good to attend.