|The Green Economic Revolution|
By Bill Roth
April 18, 2008
Going green is a trillion dollar industry propelled by the energy
independence and global warming solutions your customers, colleagues,
investors and competitors desire now. The scale and growing pace of the
"green collar economy" creates opportunities for your business to grow
revenues, enhance your brand and save money.
Now you should be asking yourself:
1. How much of that $1 trillion am I harvesting?
2. What should I be doing to jump aboard this trend as it transforms how
the world does business?
To help you answer these questions, this column will spotlight companies
that are making and saving money by implementing green policies. I’ll also
coach you on what has and hasn't worked, based on the results of companies
that have adopted green business practices and allies in marketing,
stakeholder outreach, business processes and product design.
Let's spark your creative juices by providing two areas of green
entrepreneurial opportunities. Refer to them often as you think about how
this green economic revolution will impact your business.
1. The United States produces 2 billion barrels of oil a year, but
imports 5.5 billion barrels. And 3.3 billion barrels of that produces
gasoline every year. Our largest known untapped oil reserve is believed
to be in northern Alaska with an estimated 4.4 to 11 billion barrels.
Get it? We can’t achieve energy independence by predominately running
our cars on gasoline. Looking for an entrepreneurial opportunity? How
about the estimated $5 trillion plus to re-engineer our 200 million
vehicle national transportation fleet and the additional trillions in
selling parts, services, financing, non-gasoline-based fuel supplies, etc.?
2. The United States annually emits 6 billion metric tons of CO2, which
is the principal green house gas believed to be causing climate change.
That is equal to 120 pounds of CO2 emissions per day per person for
every man, woman and child who live in the United States. A year-end
2007 study on climate change summarizing the work of over 2,000
scientists estimates the need to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 50
percent. If we stopped using all of our coal-fired electricity
generating plants, it would only get us to an approximately 33 percent
reduction. The cost to do so is at least a trillion dollars as we adopt
renewable generation like roof-top solar, bio-fuels and wind plus
investments in energy efficiency technologies like in-ground geothermal
heating and cooling systems for our homes and offices.
This isn’t just an “energy thing.” Changes of this magnitude impact every
industry in our economy. For example, the entire agricultural industry
will benefit as "things that can be grown” substitute carbon-based
chemicals in our plastics, clothes and other products. And because carbon
is in everything--our paint, cell phones, plastic bags--you should be
seeing opportunities to sell something or save money by reducing or
replacing carbon-centric products and services.
This is a social revolution. It’s changing how your stakeholders think
about your business and how they make purchases. Because this revolution
is just gaining momentum, the “revolutionary results” are still modest
compared to their potential. For example, hybrid car sales represent only
1 percent of total new car purchases. But that's because operating
procedures at major corporations are just beginning to be shaped by
sustainability performance metrics that recently hired sustainability
officers are establishing. The growing list of major companies hiring such
officers includes Wal-Mart, Dupont and Google.
Today, marketing is focused on those who adopt green policies. Tomorrow,
the focus will be on mass marketing. At the CEO level, corporate America
has begun the process toward sustainability and the old saying ‘that a CEO
spitting creates a flood at the lowest level in the organization’ will
hold true. If your business doesn’t have a plan for this coming flood you
will be missing a great economic opportunity.
Buying into the green economy will forever change the way you view the
world and its business opportunities. Your customers and work colleagues
will be your greatest resource in crafting strategies, green cost savings
actions, new products and green marketing promotions that will harvest
this commercial opportunity. It's also an opportunity to network with
innovative, caring and astute business leaders.
Don't miss out on a green collar economy projected to grow to more than $4
By taking advantage of these opportunities, you will make money while
making the world a cleaner and safer place to live.
Bill Roth is president of NCCT, a San Francisco-based consulting firm
facilitating innovations in sustainability marketing and green business
strategies. In addition to participating in the launch of the first
hydrogen-fueled Prius, he has held executive leadership positions as
senior vice president of marketing and sales with PG&E Energy Services, as
COO of Texaco Ovonics Hydrogen Solutions and president of Cleantech
America, a developer of solar power plants. Roth’s latest book, On Empty
(Out of Time) details an emerging multi-trillion dollar green economy that
is revolutionizing how the world does business, and how you can make money from it.