Friday, January 4, 2013

Using green to make more green

When it comes to convincing people to live a greener life, the equation is pretty simple:

You're trying to overcome inertia, history, habit, the way things have always been done. It won't be easy.

People will rarely do anything just because "it's the right thing." If they did, every urban commuter would ride a bicycle and we know that's not going to happen anytime soon.

Recycling programs work when they're easy and free. The minute you make them confusing or add a fee, participation goes down.

That's why I think this move by Starbucks is pretty smart. They're hoping to cut down on the number of paper cups their customers put into landfills by selling reusable plastic mugs for $1.

They're also reducing their operating costs by having to give away fewer paper cups and passing it off as an environmental initiative, which is good marketing.

It should work. It's easy, cheap and gives people a way to feel like they're making a difference everyday without having them make a huge change in their behavior.

The challenge for people will be to remember to bring their cups with them. That's the convenience factor. If Starbucks wants to incentivize people who buy the cups, they can either knock a few pennies off the cost of a refill – as grocery stores do for those who bring their own bags – or add a 5¢ to go fee for those who still want paper.

If you're trying to sell a more environmentally-friendly product experience, think about what's in it for your customers beyond just a "better world." Otherwise, neither your balance sheet nor our world will be any greener.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Give more than thanks

This is my two hundred and fourth post of the year.

The previous two hundred and three have been an attempt to help feed the mind, sometimes successfully, sometimes not so.

Today, I'm going to help feed the hungry by making a donation to Feeding America and encouraging everyone who reads this blog to do the same.

Please take a moment and give what you can. Local food banks assist over 37 million Americans a year and Feeding America does a great job of getting food to where it's needed most.

Most days I write this blog for me, accepting no advertising or any other compensation other than the occasional attaboy. Today, you can compensate me for the content I create by donating a few dollars to a cause and organization I believe in very strongly.

Thanks for your help.

Thanks for reading.

Here's to an incredible 2013.