Guest blog post by Rita Brogan, CEO of PRR
The increased demand for green products and services comes from more than the consumer sector. Federal and state agencies, non-profits and major corporations have adopted process management standards and procurement policies that can have a significant cumulative impact on our environmental health. Businesses all over America are tripping over each other to prove their “greenness.” Many have sponsored Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs that proclaim a commitment to a triple bottom line of social, environmental and economic outcomes.
It is true that many CSR programs are more inclined to salute the green flag than to follow it—sometimes for purposes of public relations or to preempt the possibility of stronger environmental regulation. Among the most egregious examples of green-washing has been the push by nearly every oil company in America is to reinvent itself as environmental business. British Petroleum (BP) has gone so far as to spend millions to rebrand as “Beyond Petroleum.” Does this mean that these oil companies no longer rely on a business model driven by fossil fuels?
But the green economy is real—the result of growing market demand and the sobering need to drastically change consumer habits to save our planet.
Market opportunity for minority businesses is manifest in many ways. There is a growing need for products and processes that:
- Move away from petroleum-based products such as plastic bags and Styrofoam
- Make creative reuse of materials and substances
- Allow for better stewardship of our air and water
- Provide non-toxic garden care and cleaning products
- Promote more environmentally-friendly packaging
- Can help businesses and organizations adopt green practices
Communities of color have historically done more with less because of economic necessity. Now it is an environmental necessity for all of us.
The opportunity to push your business concept in the direction of environmental responsibility has never been greater. The effort can, in fact, give you a competitive marketing and branding advantage by adding value that has priceless benefit for the health of our planet and future generations.
Rita Brogan is the CEO of PRR, a public affairs and communications firm based in Seattle that is nationally recognized for its work in social marketing, public involvement, and community building. PRR is one of Washington’s 50 largest minority-owned businesses. Brogan was a recent recipient of the Foster School’s Business and Economic Development Center Asian/Pacific Islander Business Leadership Award. She writes the BEDC Brogan blog series twice a month, focusing on green economy issues with an emphasis on ways that businesses owned by people of color or women can create a competitive advantage.