I just visited the "Build It Green" expo in Phoenix today as an esteemed friend and associate had a booth at the venue. He has an eco-repsonsible home improvement store with an architectural division attached to it. He also offers LEED certification classes among others for professionals and non-professional alike in various best practices. While speaking with him, he mentioned sadly how much greenwashing was going on with many of the exhibitors. His was a tone that was lamentable but not bitter.
I noted this ruefully as lately I have read so many blogs and comments on this site that are scathing about green businesses and the Green Movement at large. Statements ranging from "...the Green Movement is a plot by our enemies, known and unknown, to destroy the economy of the United States" to "...green businesses are only interested in green of another sort.." But these declarations were angry, quite absolute and the volume of them was staggering to me. And it made me wonder how individuals who have not ventured into the personal up close economics of greeness could be so sarcastic and furious. What have they ventured and lost? Please don't tell me their innocence.
My friend, has a post graduate degree and could make a very fine living not being attached to anything related to greeness if he chose. Yes, he makes quite a bit less money but it is a choice due to his convictions. I have three companies and while two of them are eco-responsible one is all about luxury, quarried materials and mostly catering to the excesses of wealth. Yes, that is my confession in True Confessions of an Eco-Entrepreneur... For the first 7 years of one of my green companies, my accountant asked why I continue on at this appalling rate. But let's stay on track about the dissatisfaction with all things green by individuals who have not staked any claim financially or otherwise in this realm.
The reality is - for small business that are truly ecologically green, their revenue is smaller that the mainstream companies that are doing the exact same tasks. I know this. I don't just think I do. The large companies that are slapping on green labels that they don't want you to read too closely, they are making the lions share of dubious green profits. These are the same companies that perhaps, these angry detractors are quite loyal to. The giants, - Clorox, Unilever, & Johnson, yes, what we all used to know as the S & P 100, they are the ones that are duping the public en masse. Is that shade of green OK because the company has framed itself permanently as a traditional enterprise?
By the way, the answer to my accountant regarding that question about constantly subsidizing a fledgling company was this: the strength and longevity of your personal convictions lies within you and radiates outwardly - not the other way around. I now feel the sharpness of that double edged sword.
Michelle Viggiano Phoenix & Scottsdale Four Winds Healthy Home Carpet and Air Duct Cleaning www.healthyhomeaz.com