Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Does green play in Peoria?

More than 500 brand marketers, agencies and green marketing specialists are in Monterey this week at Sustainable Brands 2008. But despite our collective passion for what we’re doing in our own businesses, we don’t yet reflect the rest of corporate America, let alone the average American.

While the ranks of early adopters in the sustainability movement are growing, and the volume of interest at an individual level also grows daily, that interest still pales to our collective focus on other national issues.

A Gallup poll this past March indicated that 40 percent of Americans worry about the environment a great deal. That’s compared to 58 percent who worry about health care, and 60 percent who worry about the economy.

Yes, we’re worried about the environment, but not yet enough. Not enough to make it a national priority, and not enough to take collective action at a meaningful scale.

The critical mass of worry and action is still largely focused on the coasts. The West Coast, and California in particular, is leading the way in thinking and acting green. The Northeast isn’t far behind.

But the Midwest – where energy prices are almost half what they are in California or New York - isn’t there yet. Our job as sustainability leaders is to make our message relevant not just to early adopters, but to every American.

Products like the G Diaper may lead the way. It’s something every parent needs, it’s still disposable, but it’s also flushable. It’s biodegradable through our existing waste management systems, vs. sitting in landfills.

It’s continued innovations like this that will take sustainability from early adopters all the way to Peoria.

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