LOHAS (acronym for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) provided three days of insightful panels and networking opportunities attended by thought leaders across industries, government, non-profit organizations, research organizations and academic institutions including Faith Popcorn, Joel Makower, Dr. Alan Greene, Philippe Cousteau, U.S. EPA’s Stephanie Owens, Coca-Cola’s Tom LaForge, eBay’s Elisabeth Charles, Edelman’s Henk Campher, Alex Bogusky, Dr. Larry Dossey, 1% for the Planet’s Terry Kellogg, Mother Jones’ Madeleine Buckingham, Malika Chopra, Ode Magazine’s Jurriaan Kamp, among others.
Key insights from the LOHAS 2010 Forum include:
“Learning from the Past to Shape the Future”
• “We are in the midst of an evolution of our Cultural mindset from a ‘me’ mentality to a ‘we’ point of view. This transition is a response to a society where economics, ethics and environment are collapsing simultaneously,” said Faith Popcorn, founder of BrainReserve and best-selling author of EVEolution, Clicking, The Popcorn Report, and most recently Dictionary of the Future.
“LOHAS and LOHOE: How Health & Sustainability are Complemented by Hedonics or Economics”
• The mainstream is more often motivated to act upon hedonic reasoning (i.e. seeking pleasure and avoiding pain) and their choices are constrained by economic realities. 42 percent of the population considers buying eco-friendly or ‘green’ versions of big-ticket items if the price is about the same as conventional versions.
• “Frankly, there is a little HOE [hedonics or economics] in everyone. It is natural human instinct to gravitate toward those things that bring us both temporal pleasure and long-term satisfaction. We are all able to act upon our desires within the constraints of our personal economic situations,” said Wendy Cobdra, president of Earthsense.
“The Situation in the Gulf”
• “We spend 1,000 times more money every year in our federal budget for space exploration than we do to understand our oceans,” said Philippe Cousteau, environmentalist and founder of EarthEcho International. “Knowing whether there was ever water on Mars – not critical to surviving on this planet. The oceans are.”
• “There’s a lot of talk about boycotting BP while a lot of [BP] gas stations are owned by small business owners…it hurts those people. What we need to be boycotting is our dependence on oil, single use plastic bags, plastic bottles, coal; shutting off the power; and living in more reasonable houses,” said Philippe Cousteau.
• “The type of dispersant that was chosen, Corexit, was only proved 56 percent effective in a lab. There were 12 other EPA-approved dispersants, and two were 100 percent effective and they were not chosen. That was an inside oil industry thing because Corexit is produced as a by-product from the refining process,” said Charles Hambleton, producer of Oscar-winning documentary The Cove.
“Where are the Green Jobs?”
• The Obama administration has made it a priority to connect low-income communities to green jobs based on the billions of dollars placed into the Stimulus Bill. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor put out $148 million of green job training grants through its Pathways Out of Poverty grants.
• “The economic business case for sustainability is being made every day by companies as diverse as Patagonia and Walmart. Their effort to green their supply chains is driving the economy and creating new business opportunities, innovations and jobs in support of sustainable business practices,” said Andre Pettigrew, executive director of Denver’s Office of Economic Development.
“Phood and Kids”
• The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that children born in the year 2000 in the U.S. will be the first generation in our country’s history to have a lower life expectancy than their parents due to a projected 33 percent of Caucasians and 66 percent of African Americans and Hispanics contracting diabetes in their lifetime as a result of poor diet. “We are actually killing our kids with food and this must stop,” said Ann Cooper, author of Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children, chef and educator.
• One in three American children now have autism, allergies, ADHD or asthma. “As we work together, to inform and inspire each other about ways in which we can protect our children from toxins like growth hormones, pesticides, synthetic dyes and genetically altered ingredients in food, we realize that there is so much that we can do together to create the change that we want to see in our food supply,” said Robyn O’Brien -- author of The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It and founder of Allergy Kids.
“Understanding the Carbon Economy”
• The US represents five percent of the population yet emits 25 percent of the world’s carbon. “We need to reduce our energy use now and promote renewable energy to offset the remaining energy we consume. If we all do our part today, we can create a bountiful, healthy future together,” said Margi Gardner, CEO of Bonneville Environmental Foundation.
“Spirituality and Health: What the Fuss Is All About?”
• In 1993, three of the 125 medical schools in the U.S. taught courses in spirituality and health and now 90 schools have such courses.
• In 1997, the Joint Commission on Accreditation strongly recommended that every healthcare institution have a vehicle in place to assess the spiritual history of incoming patients, which is now a requirement.
• Mobium Group data shows that the Australian consumer market for LOHAS products and services has grown from $12 billion in 2007 to $19 billion in 2009 with 2011 projected at $27 billion. (Source: Mobium Group)
• “LOHAS in Asia is a brand rather than a movement and, as such, offers a great opportunity for LOHAS companies trying to enter the markets. By using LOHAS on their marketing material, they are appealing immediately to their target audiences in Asia,” said Adam Horler, founder of LOHAS Asia.
“Convincing Mainstream Consumers to Go Green: What really motivates them to make sustainable choices?”
• Conversations matter – when kids talk to their parents about green issues, it results in behavior change 68 percent of the time. Those conversations with neighbors and co-workers result in behavior change 56 percent of the time. (Source: Shelton Group)
“New Paradigms in Health & Sustainability: What's Working and What's Not”
• Mainstream consumers comprise the majority of users for many LOHAS products such as compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), organic food, natural personal care and natural household cleaning products. There has been an increase in usage of many LOHAS products despite the recession, such as organic foods. (Source: Natural Marketing Institute)
“The Social Currency of Social Media”
• If Facebook were a nation, it would be the third largest in the world with 50 percent of users logging in daily and over 70 percent of users outside the U.S. “Measuring ROI with social media marketing is tricky, but the consensus is that more engagement correlates to achieving more marketing objectives. So your goal should be to cultivate customer communities,” said Joey Shepp, founder of Earthsite.
“The Storytelling Value of Location-based Services”
• “Location-based social media is rapidly increasing in value, popularity and relevance. LOHAS businesses will benefit from experimenting with tools like Foursquare, Gowalla and Twitter Places to get a feel for how these applications can help engage consumers and grow business,” said Nathan Rice, interactive director for Haberman Group.
Promoting lifestyles of health and sustainability, the annual LOHAS Forum brings together entrepreneurs, government heads, Fortune 1000 executives, investors, research institutions, academics and media for a program designed to inspire innovation and further expand the LOHAS market share. The 2010 Forum was held from June 23rd to 25th at the St. Julien Hotel in Boulder, Colorado.