Future 2049: Farmer Exxon

1 July 09

The conversation would go something like this with a mom talking to her young son in 2028: “Honey, Exxon used to make gas to run cars. I know – really, It sounds funny but they used to be what we called a ‘oil and gas’ company, when cars ran on gasoline – and they made hundreds of billions of dollars doing it (that was a lot of money back then, son).” But apparently with the adoption of hydro-electric cars (brought on by legislative and economic incentives (read: subsidies)), that made the auto industries ‘dream to be green’ possible. Exxon therefore had to find a new industry or go out of business, It was shocking, really. With tremendous real estate and technology assets on their balance sheet (refineries) they wondered what else could be done with these refineries now that drilling for oil wasn’t a major revenue stream anymore.  So, after fighting Mother Nature all these years, they finally embraced it. Sun (solar), wind power, water and manufactured land platforms at their disposal in the oceans across the globe (with some architectural tweaks) they became the largest farmer in the United States with more water/farm land than the states of (Nebraska, Iowa..and…). Exxon’s offshore farming industry took off – growing vegetables and farming fish while creating new eco-environments with the reefs they created. Now with grazing land at such a premium, both the Argentinean and US governments have asked Exxon to begin using some of their platforms for raising livestock. We expect the first offshore cattle to be ready for market in 2 years.


Arm & Hammer’s Empty Bottle

15 October 08

It’s fall cleaning time. Time to take out the air condtioners and put the summer clothes into storage for a few months. In preparation, I headed to the store to pick up some supplies. Walking down the cleaning aisle, I was immediately struck by a new line of Arm & Hammer Essentials cleaning products. 

The concept isn’t new, nor is Arm & Hammer’s presence in the cleaning aisle; but the execution deserves admiration. Arm & Hammer Essentials is a line of eco-friendly, all-natural cleaning products in little refill containers with empty spray-bottles attached. Your first time, you’d purchase the bottle (which stands out because it’s empty on the shelf) and one included cleaning concentrate ‘refill’ (though I don’t think one can consider the first use a refill).  You simply fill the spray bottle with tap water, add the concentrated cleaning formula (they have all-purpose, glass cleaner, and a de-greaser). You then purchase packages of two concentrated refills every time you run out of the product. Read the rest of this entry »

The Future of Green Business Strategy

21 August 08

We’ve just wrapped up publication of our latest research report: The Future of Green Business Strategy, and I’ve noticed the volume on Green has turned up a few notches since we began researching this report a few months ago.

Just today, I came across a new site by the American Institute of Architects designed to inform both architects and the general public on the world of Green building. The site is a perfect example of how various organizations around the globe are cutting through the “noise” to communicate a clear, focused message on sustainability and the environment. It’s called Walk the Walk, and it features a number of resources, tutorials, and videos that inform visitors on the many facets of Green architecture and construction. There are two dedicated sections: one for people in the industry (architects, builders, designers) and one for everyone else (anyone considering remodeling or construction). The information on the site is clear, honest, and direct. It doesn’t focus too much on the “crisis” aspect of Green—rather, it offers much food for thought around how to simply make things better.

I then stumbled on a recent Newsweek interview with William McDonough, a Green architect and co-founder of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, the organization that hatched the very progressive (and smart) Cradle-to-Cradle certification program. Read the rest of this entry »

Green(er) Works

23 January 08

Clorox is hard at work trying to up its green street cred. First, the company made a widely publicized acquisition of Burt’s Bees. Now, the company has launched a new line of eco-friendly cleaning products, which it has dubbed Green Works. The lineup is designed to compete with the likes of Seventh Generation, Method, and Mrs. Meyer’s. The biggest difference between Green Works products and the competition is most notably the price. Green Works range in price from $2.99 to $3.99, making them far more affordable to the average consumer than competitive “green” products, which are often priced 2-3 times as high.

Clorox Green Works

Read the rest of this entry »

Go Ahead, Litter

13 December 07

Pangea Organics, a young, “ecocentric” skincare/bodycare company, is the first manufacturer we’ve seen to actually deliver its products in plantable packaging. All of Pangea’s product boxes are made “using a Zero Waste process with 100% post-consumer paper and organic seeds like sweet basil and amaranth.” Customers simply have to remove the box’s label, soak the box in water for a few minutes, and then plant it directly outdoors or in a pot of soil. The company, which sells its products in Whole Foods’ Whole Body stores and other specialty outlets,  offers a full line of personal products, including soaps, scrubs, washes, toners, and cosmetics. Learn more at Pangea Organics.

Evolving Mobile

7 December 07

Nokia recently unveiled a new mobile handset that the company claims is the greenest phone ever made. The 3110 Evolve phone features a casing made from over 50% renewable materials, and it is packaged in a smaller box made from 60% post-consumer recycled content. The device will also get its juice from Nokia’s most energy efficient wall-charger, which uses a reported 94% less energy than current Energy Star requirements. The Evolve will hit stores sometime in 2008, and there’s no word on pricing as of yet.

Nokia also announced a new “Comes with Music” offering this week, which will give customers one year of unlimited music downloads through a subscription service. Thought the tracks will be DRM-laden, they will not expire once the user’s subscription is up. Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia’s VP of Multimedia says: “Comes with Music fulfils our dream to give consumers all the music they want, wherever they want it, while rewarding the artists who create it.” Learn more and read other recent announcements at Nokia.

A Deeper Shade of Green

7 December 07

The WWF (World Wildlife Foundation) recently published a fascinating report entitled Deeper Luxury: Quality and Style when the World Matters. The document aims to educate consumers, manufacturers, and celebrities about the impact of luxury goods on the environment and society, and goes so far as to grade various companies on their global stewardship. The premise is simple: high-cost luxury goods should come from a luxury value chain – they shouldn’t be produced using unfair labor practices and they shouldn’t put undue strain on the environment.

The report is on the long side, but here are some of our favorite highlights:

“Many luxury consumers are part of an affluent, global elite that is increasingly well educated and concerned about social and environmental issues. These consumers use luxury products as a symbol of success. The definition of success – and the way it is perceived by others – is changing. Many successful people now want the brands they use to reflect their concerns and aspirations for a better world.”

“Luxury brands have become more accessible, making it harder to appeal to consumers on the grounds of exclusivity. Instead, their added value for consumers could be derived from superior environmental and social performance, expressed through “deeper” brand values and more sustainable business practices.”

You can download the full report HERE.