Ten Points About Innovation-Based Environmentalism Summary

JANUARY 16, 2009

On Jan. 16, 2009, Josh Dorfman, an environmental entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Vivavi, a retailer of ecologically friendly modern furniture and furnishings, presented “Peering Into the Green Future: The Trends and Innovations Forging an Abundant Society in Balance with Nature,” which contained the following excerpts:

  • The tactics we have been using as an environmental movement – preaching, guilt trips and moralizing – aren’t really working because Americans are not making the changes we ought to make.
  • The new way to get people to make the green choice is to make the product desirable: What sells is a stylish design, a more convenient model, a product that saves the consumer money, or a product that is fun to use.
  • Smart companies are using waste or recycled material to make desirable new products. The Patagonia outerwear company has a program in which customers bring in an old garment and its fibers are recycled into new products, which means the company purchases less new fabric and uses fewer resources.
  • Renting rather than buying is a growing trend that reduces consumption of resources and allows consumers to enjoy the desirable products they want. The company Bag, Borrow or Steal allows customers to rent a designer handbag rather than buy one for thousands of dollars.
  • You can’t succeed unless you hit the right price point, have the right distribution, and offer products where consumers actually shop. Target introduced a line of eco-friendly clothes by the fashion designer Rogan Gregory in the spring of 2008 and it sold out immediately.
  • Consumers will make the eco-friendly choice if they get paid to do so. A company called RecycleBank has trucks that can scan the contents of home recycling bins. The company gives homeowners points they can redeem at major retailers.
  • Studies by the architectural firm Perkins + Will found that students who study in green school buildings improve their performance 20 percent because of better air and light quality and other factors.
  • We have to get away from cars. The city of Boston recently put free Wi-Fi access in its trains at a cost of $1.5 million. The program manager says it is the best idea anyone ever tried to get commuters onto trains.
  • The current poor economy has slowed momentum in the green movement. It will take longer to put systems in place, but it will happen because the entrepreneurial drive is still there.
  • Our car-ownership culture probably won’t change. The U.S. automakers keep pushing back the date to roll out truly fuel-efficient cars. Whether the car companies can make the fundamental changes needed is the ultimate challenge.Religion has been expanding across the world, with Christians representing the largest body of religious people, some 2.1 billion or about one-third of the global population in 2005.

Josh Dorfman is an environmental entrepreneur, media personality and author of The Lazy Envirnmentalist: Your Guide to Easy, Stylish, Green Living. He is also the founder and CEO of Vivavi, a retailer of green furniture and of ModernGreenLiving.com, a green real estate directory for homeowners. Inc. Magazine has called Vivavi one of the top 50 companies driving today’s green revolution. He is a spokesperson for numerous environmental products, including Brita water filters and Green Works, Clorox’s line of natural cleaning products.

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