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It’s not easy being “green”

Clear definitions separate the wheat from the chaff

Just last week, I spent a few days in Deauville, France attending the 2010 Global Meeting of the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society. The theme of this year’s event was “Change: Make it happen” and focused specifically on change in politics, business, health and the environment. Easily the most important factor that arose from all the discussions, keynotes and breakouts on these topics was the role of technology in taking these ideas from vision to practical application.

I think Paula DiPerna, Executive Vice President of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) and President of CCX International, articulated it best: “Environmental change is a soufflé in the oven 25 years too long. Finance and technology will drive initiative to action.”

Among the many topics of relevance for women and men alike, I found the discussion in which DiPerna participated particularly noteworthy. Titled “Change in the environment: How to make the green economy a killer app for business and a reality for the planet,” the panel emphasized the important role of business in recognizing sustainability as a crucial opportunity to drive growth rather than a response to government intervention. With new FTC rulings to curb “green washing” just released in early October, I applaud this type of dialogue as long overdue.

So it’s not just about only recycling and it’s not just about how much energy a device consumes. To measure and describe yourself as green, you must evaluate the full lifecycle. [A point well made in this paper by Cleantech Firm Pike Research.] Moving forward our focus will continue to be aimed at developing products that provide the most energy efficient option at our stop in the lifecycle.

What are your thoughts?

The FTC’s two-page overview of their green-related changes is available here: http://www.ftc.gov/os/2010/10/101006greenguidesproposal.pdf

This GreenBiz piece by Joel Makower helps put the changes in perspective: http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2010/10/06/what-new-green-marketing-guideli...

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