Published on Mar 02 2010 in blog
Joel Makower of Greener World Media spoke at EcoTuesday in February, right after hosting two successful "State of Green Business" conferences in San Francisco and Chicago in the weeks prior. It was our Three Year Anniversary, and Joel was a fantastic addition to the celebration.
Joel started out by explaining that there are really two "green economies."
"We don't really have one green economy. We have a couple of green economies. First, there's the green economy of big businesses, such as the GEs, PGEs, and the Nike's. These are the companies that are going through huge fundamental changes in some very exciting ways. Along with them are the VCs and the big dollars going into a few smaller companies, such as Tesla and Bloom Energy. These are big companies with big dollars, or smaller companies with big ambitions."
He continued, "the other green economy is everyone else. It's full of small emerging companies or companies that aren't necessarily green businesses in the sense of offering green travel services, making a green building material, or offering green energy. They've been developed by people who have thoughtfulness around their business and want to run their businesses similar to how they run their lives. Those aren't the ones that get as much attention, and it's a bit challenging. There are a lot of exciting things happening within this green economy."
While Joel is hopeful about what's ahead in business, he is also concerned that innovation is "happening much too slowly."
"Everyday we look at stories that come through GreenBiz.com and see examples of companies that are integrating environmental thinking into their operations and doing it in a way that aligns with their missions, with their product, in some sense, of their business value. Whether its increased profits or decreased costs, etc. This isn't a new story. There's been this confluence that's making this come to the fore and all of these actions are necessary."
"We're seeing this convergence of energy, information, building and vehicle technologies coming together to create this smart world that will start to tranform things in fundamental ways over the next generation. People in those businesses are in the middle of a revolution that they probably don't see. It will be greener technology, better, cooler technology that will allow us to do a number of things we can't do today."
Joel believes that change occurs with the right mix of money, policy, and technology. "The business community is critical to all three of those things," he stated.
Despite these exciting advances in all of these industries, the rate at which change is happening is not happening quickly enough.
"The political climate isn't contributing to big shifts in the environment, food security, job growth and economic development. We're still seeing this as a fight. Why isn't there a sense of urgency here? Why aren't people taking to the streets around climate change and the lack of energy policy? Why isn't this seen as a great abandonment of leadership? I'm concerned that there's this great appetite for green, but there's not an appetite for change."
Joel ended with a "challenge" to the audience to inspire them to act. "I challenge you to understand what it takes to make change."