The Emerging Green Economy
October 14, 2009 by The Dove
With much green talk amongst industries and households, eco industry watchers are saying the world has officially entered an emerging green economy – a trend that will only continue to gain momentum, says eco-expert Kim Carlson.
“As the economy rebounds, more investment will pour into green start-ups of all kinds,” she says. “Businesses of all sizes will begin to go beyond greening their facilities and products focusing on greening their corporate cultures to insure that sustainability permeates every nook and cranny of their organization for lasting change.”
Kim says green products will expand into more consumer product categories hitting health and wellness first, including: baby and childrens clothing, personal care and toys, the pet category and home and garden.
“Despite the gloomy economy of the past year, green has been on an unprecedented upswing.”
Here, Kim shares some examples with The Green Dove:
Sustainable Business: The recession has seemed to help green rather than hurt it as businesses large and small are finding ways to do more with less during the recession. After all, wasted resources do have a hefty price tag and do-gooder corporate differentiation does have a revenue upside. According to a September McGraw Hill report 76% of firms in the U.S. have made significant commitments to sustainability. While 57% believe sustainability practices are either unaffected or aided by the down economy. Some big announcements from the biggest corporations on the planet: In March, Disney announced a company wide sustainability initiative that will cut their carbon emissions in half by 2012 and waste – much from construction – eventually to zero.
Green Tech: According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, nearly 40% of all tech investment in the U.S. went to green tech start ups in 2008. Even though venture capital dried up in early 2009, there are signs that money is flowing back into green tech start-ups once again as investors are placing big bets on the “next big thing” as governments work on legislation to clean up the environment. This category includes bio fuels, plant-based cleaning products, renewable energy technologies, transportation and green chemistry.
Green Food: On the green foodie scene, the farm-to-table movement has taken root all over the US. The reality is that the food is fresher and perhaps even more nutritious when it doesnt ride in a truck across the country. According to the National Restaurant Association, green is playing big with chefs and customers this year. There is a trend of reducing waste, energy and water use by restaurateurs and suppliers. Technology has now made it possible to convert used fryer oil into electricity for hot water or to keep the lights on. And maybe for the first time ever, the environment trumps service as chefs are feeling emboldened to say “no” to customers who want out of season produce or seafood that is over-fished. Editor’s Note: The best way for restaurateurs to reduce waste, energy and water is by limiting meat and dairy based on their menus, as meat and dairy production is the number one global polluter.
Green Lifestyles: Out of the 27.5% of the U.S. work force that telecommutes, the Millennials or Generation Y workers are the largest group influencing this work behavior trend. There are 14 million Millennials telecommuting in 2009 according to the Gartner Dataquest report. The reason is that Millennials are tech-savvy, multi-tasking, non-cube dwellers that dont want to be chained to a desk or spend time in an office. They have begun to change the way we live and work. As a result we are becoming more virtually than physically connected resulting in a lower carbon footprint. Millennials are not only changing the way that we work, they are also moving us toward green living with their eco-enthusiasm.