Boston Globe: Catalyzing the clean-energy economy

new_england_clean_energy_councilThe Boston Globe published an interesting op-ed piece earlier this week with suggestions of ways that the incoming secretary of energy, Steven Chu, can spur the development of clean technologies in the United States.  The article, co-authored by Nick d’Arbeloff, the executive director of the New England Clean Energy Council, and Hemant Taneja, a managing director of at General Catalyst Partners and the council’s co-chairman, is aggressive, but elegant in its simplicity.  Clearly, the public chatter about clean energy has died down as oil prices have tumbled from $147 to less than $40 per barrel.  Nevertheless, these are very important issues that Chu must address , so our nation can avoid another energy bubble in the future, reduce our dependence on unstable regimes for our energy supply, and fight global warming.

Here’s a link to the article.

Upcoming Event: DM Going Green – Separating Fact and Fiction (1/13/09)

Hey all – A quick pre-holiday message of thanks for reading my blog.  Thanks for all of your comments and suggestions.  They mean a lot!

I wanted to pass along some information on an event in Massachusetts that I will be speaking at next month that is open to the public.  I hope you can make it!

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DM Going Green – Separating Fact and Fiction
Kermit the Frog used to lament, “It’s not that easy being green.” This is especially true for direct marketers. Our industry has been under pressure from the media and the court of public opinion – even as it develops and drives new sustainable practices. And, going green will continue to be a critical issue for vendors, clients and regulators in the coming year. At NEDMA, we’ve put together a panel of experts from a variety of direct marketing disciplines to talk about how direct is going green, what are the facts (and what is fiction) about the green movement, and exactly what it means to you and your business. These experts will talk about how they and their clients went green – and guide you through the pitfalls and business opportunities they encountered along the way.

When: 1/13/2009, 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM
Where: Microsoft Seminar Facility

Panelists:

Moderator:

  • Mariah Hunt, Senior Production Manager, Digitas

Please click here to read more about the event and to register.

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Best wishes to all for a happy, healthy and peaceful holiday season and New Year!  More insights, observations and news to come in 2009!

Agassi, Friedman, and sustainable enterprises

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The Better Place car (prototype)

In July, I used an op-ed piece by Tom Friedman from the New York Times to discuss the importance of renewable energy, and how we as marketers can incorporate it into our printed communications.  One of Friedman’s examples was Shai Agassi, the founder of Better Place, a company focused on creating electric car grids around the world.  What’s exciting about their business model is that it approaches the car business much in the same way that cell phone networks like AT&T and Verizon Wireless approach their own – they plan to sell miles like these networks sell minutes.

Friedman wrote a follow-up piece about Agassi and his company last week, and I wanted to make sure readers of Sustainable Ink didn’t miss it.

I had the opportunity to hear Agassi speak in person earlier this month at the Museum of Science in Boston.  He was an inspiring presenter and certainly a person with a great vision.  Although I cannot guarantee whether his plan will work, I was impressed by his resolve, especially in the face of rapidly declining energy prices.  Although people may be less apt to adopt his electric car model when gas prices are under $2/gallon in the United States, he laid out a plan for success, and delivered his message in a clear and exciting way.

His determination should serve as an excellent example to other executives who have either made public commitments to sustainability or had been considering green initiatives when the economy was stronger and now are mulling whether they should move them to the back burner until the economy turns the corner.  My strong advice to these leaders would be to not let the tumultuous economic times distract them from positioning their organizations for success in the future.  Shorter-term approaches necessary for ensuring a stable enterprise may involve cost cutting now, but longer-term strategy should not be overlooked.  Generally, for organizations to be successful in the long-term, they must be able to successfully create new products, compete in new markets, and recruit the best talent possible.

My belief, is that in this environment of limited natural resources, undoubtedly unstable energy prices, and a public that cares deeply about fighting global warming (not to mention an administration that has made the reduction of carbon emissions a stated goal), organizations that incorporate environmentally-responsible practices into their businesses will not simply be making moves to address a short-term fad, but instead will be building sustainable enterprises.  They will be ensuring the long-term survival of their organizations in a future where their customers want to buy products that use less natural resources and leave less of a footprint on this earth.  In fact, IDC, a leading research firm, reported last week that a recent study found “continued support for sustainability initiatives despite current economic challenges.”

Although many companies will hold off on making any green investments while they face a deep credit crisis and sagging revenues, if they want to remain successful enterprises and position themselves for long-term success, sustainability must be a part of these plans.

Forbes.com: “How To Go Green And Stay Cost-Competitive”

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Courtesy of Forbes.com

Forbes ran a story Friday on how green practices can help businesses compete and succeed.  The reporter heard about our success with our wind power initiative, through which we’re able to help our clients produce their marketing communications materials with Green-e certified wind power at no extra cost, and included us in the article.  Below are 2 links.  The first one is to the article.  The second one is to the slideshow associated with the story (we’re slide 7).

  1. Link to article
  2. Link to slideshow (we’re on page 7)

Despite the recent drop in oil prices, people are still very much interested in renewable energy and the concept of weaning our country off foreign oil.  I have written before about what we believe are the five best ways to go green on a print project. Using renewable energy, especially wind power, is definitely at the top of the list, as it allows an organization to send a values-laden message to its constituents without adding any extra cost to their bottom line, which is especially important in these turbulent economic times.