Local and Green: Perfect Together?

Are you a “deep green? Do you wake up every morning thinking: ‘What can I do?’”

Most of us are “lazy greens,” says Shel Horowitz, whose mission is to “make green sexy” and to help environmental sustainability go mainstream.

At the Green Festival in New York, Horowitz extolled the financial advantages of green practices for business owners. Horowitz authored “Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green” with Jay Conrad Levinson, author of the bestselling “Guerrilla Marketing” series.

“It isn’t just good for the planet–it’s great for your bottom line.” Citing data from the Big Green Opportunity report, a study of small business owners who were divided into “three shades of green,” Horowitz notes that the greenest segments of industries across the economy are growing rapidly, and systematically taking market share from the conventional economy.

Shel Horowitz

Shel Horowitz addressing business owners at the Green Festival in New York City.

Seventy-five percent of survey respondents who offer green products or services saw an increase in sales of those products and services during the down economy, from 2008-2011. The green building segment grew during the official recession, and now represents 38 percent of new housing starts.

Local Joan recently spoke with Horowitz about how businesses can be part of a “circular, closed loop,” in which trash and shipping bills are slashed by purchasing locally, then reusing and recycling.

Your waste is somebody else’s asset, he notes. “We can do this. We know so much more than 30 years ago. Business has contributed to the problems and can be a big part of the solution.”

How can a mainstream business be green?

The definition is not limited to niche markets such as solar energy and vegan foods. A green business is any business whose policies and products demonstrate care for the earth, says Horowitz, which translates into tangible human benefits.

The lazy greens “will only live sustainably if we make it easy for them. So make it convenient and market not on the basis of should, but on the basis of benefit to people,” he advises.

“It’s in the community’s self interest to take care of its environment. Talk about values everyone has: clean air and water, reducing asthma, cost and durability.”

“If you’re eating local food, you’re eating food that’s not being trucked thousands of miles and you’re supporting local farmers,” he notes. “[Economic activity] is not just buying and selling, it’s the manufacturing and disposal of a product after it’s used. It’s mostly a linear progression ending in a landfill which creates more waste.”

Wasting resources is costly, he explains. “Seven percent of electricity is wasted in transport and 144 million pounds of food are being thrown away daily. That’s a crime. Green is only more expensive if you look at the short term. We pay for those costs in other ways–health and longevity and taxes.”


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