Twelve Reasons Why the Green Movement Will Never Die


Photo:Tom Lolan Photography

Green in today’s vernacular is not just a color. It’s a badge worn proudly by millions of Americans that screams, “we love the world we live in and we are doing our part, are you”? It’s a statement. Green stands for a lifestyle that pushes the intellectual limits of capitalism to find a way to not just think about profits, but the impact of making these profits is having on the world that it’s developing. Green doesn’t just mean money anymore. Hippies, Deadheads, Stoners, Tree Huggers, Phishies, Smellers, call them what you like, but they have beat the environmental drum long and loud enough that finally the mainstream culture is starting to listen.

The environmental movement was born over 100 years ago with the preservationists visions of John Muir and conversationalist dreams of Gifford Pinchot, but real action came forty years later with the fear of nuclear war and the publishing of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. Green Politics was born from the mother of our polluted rivers, streams and lakes and the father of acid rain and nuclear waste. All of this neglect and abuse eventually set the stage for the cultural shift that we are seeing today. The Green movement is here and it’s profitable. Whether it was from the hundreds of years of social pressure, over-population, diminishing raw materials or rapidly growing costs this need to save the earth and its resources is real and here are ten reasons why.

1) Recycling is Mainstream – It has not only become easy to do, but it has become a profitable business. Companies like Waste Management and Rumpke have found a way to sort, pick and repackage our trash into profitable bundles and steer millions of pounds of trash clear of filling up their limited spaced dumpsites. Recycling has been integrated into our daily lives. Programs have been established in schools, public buildings and you can almost find a recycling bin next to every trash can in most new neighborhoods. The need for reducing, reusing and recycling will only continue to grow along with the global population.

2) The Birth of Upcycling – It is now a major business to take someone else’s trash, re-salvage it and manufacture something that looks great and makes you feel good about buying it. Not only are these the hippest soccer moms/dads on the block, but they are keeping up with the latest trend and helping the environment at the same time. This is green-branded capitalism at its finest.

3) Natural & Organic Products are Exploding – Natural and organic products continue to expand dramatically to over $36B in 2012 and growing 13.3% last year versus traditional CPG goods in grocery with dollar sales up (3.4%) and volumes flat (-0.3%). The demand for cleaner label products and allergen friendly alternatives is also an area that continues to gather momentum as more consumers turn to gluten free, soy free, dairy free and other naturally sweetened products.

4) Sustainability and Green have hit the Boardroom – Sustainability and green alternatives is now a topic of discussion in most CEO offices and boardrooms around the country. Whether by choice or force it is a topic that all companies must face. Consumers are demanding corporations reduce their carbon footprint and the environmental impact they are having on the earth. As the reigns of leadership are being handed over from the Boomers to GenX/Y, this new generation who have grown up with the environmental movement as a way of life will start to embed this part of their own DNA into the company DNA.

5) Investment dollars are going green– – According to a 2012 Price Waterhouse Cooper report nearly one out of every eight dollars under professional management in the United States today—12.2% of $25.2 trillion in total assets tracked by Thomson Reuters—is involved in sustainable and responsible investing. Investors see the growth potential and are supporting companies focused on green initiatives.

6) You can get a Green degree or an MBA in Green – Yes, many major universities and business schools from Babson College to the University of Michigan to Duke to Stanford have begun offering classes and programs in “Green Business” with sustainability, conservation and LEED certification at the foundation. Merylhurst University offers a sustainable business degree where you can choose from six different green concentrations. Specialized training has begun for the next green business leaders of the future.

7) Raw material costs are rising – It should be no surprise to anyone, but everything has gotten a lot more expensive and analysts as well as futurists are predicting that prices for all major commodities will continue to sky rocket over the next twenty-five years. Start by looking at gas, five years ago a gallon of gas was $1.00, now it is almost $4.00 again. According to Oxford Economics, energy prices are expected to rise 166% and food 91% over the next twenty-five years. Pair this with a growing middle-class demand from developing nations like China and India its a recipe for disaster. It will be a necessity for their survival that businesses become green to simply save costs and remain efficient.

8) Increasing Government regulation– Both Domestic and Global regulation is becoming more intense and the world is demanding more efficient products and tougher standards for pollution control. More focus is being placed on these polluters and heavy fines are being applied for those who do not comply. Tax incentives and green dollars are being made available to companies to build cleaner factories and upgrade the outdated and antiquated ones they currently have.

9) The alternative energy revolution has begun – Even though coal is still king, billions of dollars have been invested in seeking alternate energy sources over the past ten years. Government incentives have been developed and more efficient wind, solar and hydrogen sources are slowly making their way onto the homes and into the cornfields across this country. U.S. solar photovoltaic (PV) installations increased 70% in 2012, after doubling in 2010 and again in 2011. There is still room to improve, but the race for energy independence in the United States as well as the single home consumer will continue to drive this sector for the next fifty years to come.

10) Consumers are demanding visibility – The beauty of the internet is that it has the power to connect millions of people instantly, but this is also what most company’s dread. Consumers are in the driver position right now and do have the power to organize, publicize and boycott products and corporations they don’t agree with. Hispanics as well as the LGTB community have utilized the power of the internet to mobilize and revolutionize their purchase decisions as groups in objection to standards they feel are not appropriate.

11) It’s profitable to be green – According to a new Harvard Business School working paper, it found that sustainability leaders who are incorporating green initiatives tend to have better stock performance, lower volatility, and a greater return on assets than those who are not. The authors suggest this higher performance is based on superior governance structures and better engagement with stakeholders. These companies tend to have dedicated teams that are focused on these green and sustainability initiatives and engrained these mindset into the fabric of their organizations.

12) The green generation is coming of age – An entirely new generation of green consumers has been born. Starting with GenX, preservation, protecting the environment and clean living has been a major part of daily life. The millennials have seen the concepts of recycling, renewable energy and organic food since birth. They have been raised with an entirely different set of values and respect for the earth than the Boomers could ever imagine. It’s not because they necessarily love the earth more, but they just see it in a different light and embrace these initiatives differently. The millennial generation is huge in terms of sheer numbers and when they finally get working their spending power alone will be enough to keep this movement truckin along.

At the end of the day just remember 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

“Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species — man — acquired significant power to alter the nature of the world.”
– Rachel Carson – Silent Spring


  1. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button!
    I’d certainly donate to this outstanding blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my
    Google account. I look forward to new updates and will talk about this blog with my Facebook group.
    Talk soon!


    • I wish I had a donate button. I’ll have to look into that. Sorry for the delayed response, but I am starting a new job in the flavor industry and life has been crazy. I will be getting back into the swing and updating the blog on a more regular basis very soon. Until then, keep eating well and living flavorful!


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