By Michael Ellis and Truman Semans
Today is a very exciting day for GreenOrder and, we believe, for our clients. Earlier today, we announced that GreenOrder will be merging with Cleantech Group to form a new company focused on helping clients grow through sustainability and innovation. (For more information, read our press release.)
We've long admired Cleantech Group for their iconic cleantech forums that bring together hundreds of leaders in the technology, investor, and corporate communities; for their industry-leading i3 platform with information on over 20,000 cleantech-related companies; and for their advisory work helping companies like Veolia and EDF better understand and source innovation.
How we work was on my mind at last week’s Business Climate 2011 conference as the new edition of a book by my company’s CEO, Dov Seidman, launched on September 21.
The book, entitled How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything...in Business (and in Life), made me realize that Business Climate was about how businesses must fundamentally change the way they work to become more sustainable.
First, we must work within and between companies more openly and transparently. At the conference, Joel Makower, executive editor of GreenBiz Group, pointed out how the convergence of multiple technologies is creating new opportunities. This convergence requires new collaborations between organizations.
GE’s Mark Vachon agreed. He emphasized that GE’s ecomagination is breaking down traditional silos to create new solutions for customers. Andrew Shapiro, founder and President of GreenOrder, an LRN Advisory Group, also lauded the ecomagination Challenge as an example of a large company collaborating with venture capital firms and dozens of entrepreneurial portfolio companies.
This piece is also featured on GreenBiz
Last week, Interbrand released its inaugural list of the Best Global Green Brands of 2011 following Newsweek by a couple of years. The methodology splits out each company’s actual environmental performance as determined by a Deloitte analysis of publicly available Thomson Reuters ASSET4 data and Interbrand’s own analysis of public perception of each brand. According to the study, companies like L’Oreal, Nokia, and HSBC are doing much more than they get public credit for, while for others like McDonald’s, GE, and Coca Cola the reverse is true.
Whether one is an executive, investor, or consumer, what are the implications of the gap?
The FTC’s long overdue update of the Green Guides announced last week will help protect consumers from vague green marketing claims. Among other proposed changes, summarized by the FTC here, the Guides will bar unqualified claims of “green” and “eco-friendly,” further clarify how companies can use “compostable” and “recyclable,” and require specifying what attributes of a product an eco-label applies to.
There are shortcomings in the proposed revisions. For example, they do not offer guidance on claims involving a product’s life cycle or hidden tradeoffs (e.g., a product that saves consumers 50 gallons of water but consumes 5,000 to produce). They also don’t address claims relating to Cradle to Cradle design or green chemistry, as Joel Makower points out.