The Clean and Green Club, January 2017

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Shel Horowitz’s Clean and Green Marketing Tip, January 2017
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Happy 2017. May we all come together for a better world. I worry greatly about the future of my country: the US. I recognize that this newsletter goes to people who may have very different politics than mine. I offer these first five paragraphs in a spirit of dialog. Even if you don’t agree with me, as a businessperson who cares enough about social responsibility to be on my list, you need to have a sense of what’s going on in your logical market. But if you really don’t want to know this, skip down to this month’s tip.

But I take hope in knowing that the power of social movements is stronger than the power of governments. We will continue to work for the environment, for social justice, for better conditions for all, and for a climate where bullying, misogyny, and racism are no longer acceptable—and I hope you join me.

Thus, my wife and I will be marching in the streets of Washington, DC on January 21, holding the new president’s feet to the metaphorical fire on Inauguration Weekend.

Similar rallies are being held in several major US cities. The Facebook page is and you can find one near you at . Although they’re calling it a women’s march, they’ve made it very clear that men are welcome.

One easy specific action you can do if you agree is to Like the Facebook page 3NoTrump. Each week, my wife, daughter, and son-in-law provide three easy but meaningful actions you can do to not stand idly by: phone calls to make with the phone number and a sample script, copy-and-paste emails, that sort of thing. Already, we’ve been able to celebrate victory on a couple of the projects they’ve posted.

This Month’s Tip: How to Choose the Right Social Responsibility Path for Your Particular Business
The best types of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities do all this:

  1. Dovetail closely with your company’s skills, capabilities, interests, and goals
  2. Make a measurable difference in global problems, e.g., turn hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war into peace, and/or catastrophic climate change into planetary balance—ideally, look for strategies that create multiple wins and address multiple goals
  3. Launch profitable products and services
  4. Open possibilities for new marketing initiatives

Helping companies figure this out is part of what I do. If you visit , the first two links are self-assessments—one for social responsibility and one for green practices. Filling either or both out entitles you to 15 minutes of my time, via Skype or similar.

And here’s a real-world example, an excerpt from one of many case studies in my latest book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World. To me, this is a “perfect storm of positivity” with wins all around: for the company, the purchaser, the dealer, the community, the environment, and the economy. The references to Polak, Warwick, and Prahalad are all explained earlier in that section.

Let There Be Light

d.light—one of the companies Polak and Warwick mention—simultaneously addresses poverty, education, air pollution/toxic fumes/health risks, energy savings, carbon footprint, and more—and makes a huge difference in lives of those at the bottom of the economic pyramid. All with a simple three-item product line.

Headquartered in San Francisco with additional offices in China, India, and Kenya, d.light sells inexpensive freestanding bright-light LED lanterns with lifetime batteries powered by dual solar/plug-in electric chargers. The company’s mission statement: “to create new freedoms for customers without access to reliable power so they can enjoy a brighter future.”

And to accomplish this mission, the company employs a deeply holistic analysis of the problems faced by people at the bottom of the heap, and how a reliable and renewable source of good light can help solve them.

The lights go into two types of environments: places where light has been supplied by kerosene (or, conceivably, open fires)—and those with no pre-existing night-time light source.

If the lantern replaces an existing kerosene model, it accomplishes many desirable goals: It provides a better quality of light that needs no fuel, does not produce toxic fumes, has no risk of setting the house on fire, reduces pollution, and leaves considerably more money in the hands of the family using the lantern—because the savings over purchasing kerosene typically pay for the lantern in about two months.

Where the lantern provides light in a previously unlit area, the benefits are different, but just as significant: four more hours per day of productive time. Children can advance much further with their studies; cottage industries, farms, and microbusinesses can produce and sell more. In short, the lamp becomes a ladder out of poverty.

Using classic Prahalad-inspired design principles, the units are cheap, extremely durable, and designed for multiple environments. A company video shows the lamps dropped from a high balcony and run over by a car, and still working afterward. At least one of the three models can be mounted on a wall or ceiling. The top-line model can also charge mobile phones. In developing countries, payment plans can be arranged for less than the previous monthly cost of kerosene; in developed countries, 10 percent of the proceeds funds lamps for children who could not buy them. Worldwide, they’re sold with a two-year free-replacement warranty.

Operating 6000 retail outlets in 40 countries, d.light is very successful, both financially and in the social and environmental good it has created. As of February 28, 2013, the company claims:

  • 13,638,438 “lives empowered”
  • 3,409,610 school-aged children reached with solar lighting
  • $275,817,462 saved in energy-related expenses
  • 3,589,490,280 productive hours created for working and studying
  • 656,952 tons of CO2 offset
  • 10,115,224 kWh generated from renewable energy

Build This Kind of Success Into Your Own Business

So how can you build this kind of profitable social change focus into your own business? Start by filling out one or both of those assessments at , and get on the phone with me for 15 minutes at no charge. Wouldn’t you just love to start 2017 with a new focus on profitable social entrepreneurship?

Friends Who Want to Help
Over the past three years, I’ve worked closely with a remarkable business coach who has helped me wrap myself around the idea of thinking so big as to turn hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance.

As I do once in a while, I’m sharing a note from her. Just because working with her has been transformational for me and might be for you. I am not compensated for any referrals to her. Doing this just to help her—and you.

“I work as a business and life coach and a Certified Hypnotherapist. Working on your goals and letting go of the thoughts and feelings no longer helpful to you assists you to move forward in your life and work and create wellbeing for yourself and for others. You can do these separately or combine them together. To see how they can assist you to go forward, call Oshana Himot, MBA, CHT, at 602-463-6797 or email oshanaben at ”

Hear and Meet Shel
I’ll be one of the featured experts on the Monetise Your Passion Summit with Rita Joyan, February 13-March 5. That’s not a typo; she’s Australian. In fact, she was named Canberra’s Young Business Woman of The Year for 2015. Canberra, you might know, is Australia’s capital. And I’m especially excited because the other experts are not the same old same old. I’ll be learning for the first time from people like:
  • Stephanie Leigh Mulac – how to build 6-7 figure businesses
  • David Essel –  known as The new leader of the positive thinking movement.
  • Jesse Brisendine – founder of the 1 year 1000 challenge
  • Ally Laporte – radio personality and parenting expert  – her radio program has 6 million listeners.

Look for a solo mailing about this with the full details around February 5, once I have them to share with you.

Also look for these upcoming podcasts (details when I have them):

  • With Internet marketer Willie Crawford
  • On the Positive Phil podcast “interviewing entrepreneurs and positive people” (I’m both)
  • With Kymm Nelsen on the Conscious Business Weekly podcast
  • With Alyssa Wright on the Leading Change podcast

I also expect to be moderating at least one panel at Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business Summit in New York, March 27-28:

And shortlisted/in negotiation with meeting planners at several other events, but none are definite yet. Possibilities include Chicago and Rapid City, South Dakota, among others.

I missed Book Expo America last year after attending every one since 1997. But it’s back in NYC and my daughter is NOT getting married the following week (as she did in 2016), so I expect to be attending (May 30-June 2). If there’s interest, perhaps we can organize a gathering.

Order your copy of Shel’s newest book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World

Learn how the business world can profit while solving hunger, poverty, war, and catastrophic climate change (hint: they’re all based in resource conflicts). Endorsed by Chicken Soup’s Jack Canfield, business blogger and bestselling author Seth Godin, and many others. Find out more and order from several major booksellers (or get autographed and inscribed copies directly from me).
Download a free sampler with several excerpts, the complete Table of Contents and Index, and all the endorsements.
Another Recommended BookBorn on Third Base

Born on Third Base by Chuck Collins (Chelsea Green, 2016)

One-percenter Chuck Collins, an heir to the Oscar Meyer fortune who went to prep school with Mitt Romney, has written a dramatic and well-penned book on why wealthy people will benefit from getting out of their isolation bubble and getting down and dirty in social change organizing. It’s a great read, and a very provocative one—and it includes reader-friendly features including a resources list, detailed notes, and a thorough index (yay!). His primary audience is the wealthy themselves, with a secondary audience among organizers who would like to enlist one-percenters to work in and/or fund their efforts.

And he walks his talk. He gave away his own fortune, and he’s been community organizing on class and climate issues for more than 30 years.

Collins says many of the one percent are actually disadvantaged by their wealth. It binds them to a set of conventions and isolates them from meaningful community in the wider world. When he had a fire, the neighbors from the trailer park he’d organized came over with casseroles and offers of help. When he needs access to a tool, he can often borrow it. He notes that this kind of gift economy is additive, not zero-sum. Generosity creates more generosity; there are no losers if it’s done with balance and good intention.

But the wealthy, isolated in mansions within “gated communities and gated hearts,” don’t often experience those resilient and vibrant relationships. When they can buy whatever they want, they don’t bother to tap into those community resources. When the civic infrastructure fails them, they have the luxury to opt out and take advantage of for-profit private-sector alternatives—while the poor have to either suffer or agitate for change. Collins suggests instead that the wealthy stay and fight, “be the squeaky wheel,” and get results for the entire community. As an example, he organized to improve conditions at the local municipal swimming pool, rather than fleeing with his family to a private country club. He suggests forming “resilience circles” that build deep community while addressing neighborhood (and global) issues—and urges wealthy allies to tell their stories.

Wealthy people also have the resources to address systemic change through the economic system. As his late colleague Felice Yeskel said, they can work at “the intersection of personal change and system rewiring.” Collins is heavily involved in the climate movement, and he quotes a study showing that superior attention to climate risk correlates well with superior financial metrics. Thus, wealthy investors can choose to invest in conscious businesses. And the socially responsible investment sector is growing exponentially.

The one percent, he notes, is not a monolith. He divides the sector into five “neighborhoods”: substrata of class, ranging from “Affluentville,” with incomes in the $680,000 to $3 million range, on up to “Billionaireville,” a rarified enclave of just 540 households at the very top.

Many of those in the lower strata of the upper class are reachable, he says. Once they see the disconnect between their lives and the lives of others, once they understand the benefits that accrue by replacing purchasing power with real community, once they realize that when others climb out of poverty, it is not an attack on them—they will join and stay involved as long as they’re treated as human beings with something valuable to offer, and not just as either a human ATM machine or a target for class anger. He quotes social change theorist Gar Alperovitz: “You learn by engagement, not by hanging back.

And it’s in those risk-taking leaps that we find the excitement, the meaning of life.”

After more than 40 years of organizing and marketing for social and environmental change, a lot of his points were familiar to me. But one that wasn’t was his shocking chapter on charitable giving. Apparently, many family foundations are basically a way to scam out of paying taxes and do very little genuine charitable work. And this is part of how 22 percent of wealth now devolves to the one percent (most of it to the top 1/10 of 1 percent), more than doubling the 9 percent figure of 1978.

Collins is not anti-capitalist. But he distinguishes generative (healthy) capitalism from degenerative (unhealthy) manifestations. He shows numerous examples of how the wealth can make a difference day to day, and how wealthy people can grapple with their own issues around wealth. The book ends very powerfully, with his story of going back to his childhood community of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and discovering that he still had friends there whom he could turn into allies—he didn’t have to be alienated from others in the one percent just because he was working full-tine on social change and had given away his fortune.

And on the very last page, he shares an amazing metaphor: “Our job is to serve as hospice workers for the old world, the old story…and midwives to the new world, the new story.”

Disclosure: Chuck Collins and I lived in the same social change community in 1980-81. I didn’t know him well, but we traveled in the same circles.

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About Shel & This Newsletter

As a green and social change business profitability/marketing consultant and copywriter…award-winning author of ten books…international speaker and trainer, blogger, syndicated columnist – Shel Horowitz shows how green, ethical, and socially conscious businesses can actually be *more* profitable than your less-green, less-socially-aware competitors. His award-winning 8th book Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet was a category bestseller for at least 34 months (and is now available exclusively through Shel). Shel also helps authors/ publishers, small businesses, and organizations to market effectively, and turns unpublished writers into well-published authors.

Shel Horowitz’s consulting firm, Green And Profitable, is the first business ever to earn Green America’s rigorous Gold Certification as a leading green company. He was inducted into the National Environmental Hall of Fame in 2011.
He began publishing his monthly newsletter all the way back in 1997, making it one of the oldest marketing e-zines (it’s changed names a few times along the way).
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