Who’s Responsible for Making Our Economy Green? We All Are

Green Blogger Joel Makower wrote an entry awhile back that is a reality check for us "greenies."

In order to turn the economy green, corporations that are still waiting for their "marketplace" to go green must step up and lead. And individuals must play a more proactive role in holding corporations accountable.

Though it may seem that all the world is going "green," he shows evidence that this is not necessarily the case.

He writes:

First, the bottom line. ‘Given consumer attitudes today, green is best characterized as a niche opportunity in the consumer marketplace,’ says Walker Smith, president of Yankelovich. ‘It is a strong niche opportunity, but it is not a mainstream interest that is passionately held or strongly felt by the majority of consumers.’

Or perhaps more to the point: ‘The majority of consumers really don’t care all that much about the environment. Green simply doesn’t has not captured the public imagination.

So what is it going to take? And who really is leading the markets?

Corporations say "the consumers." Yet if the corporations adopted environmentally responsible practices and began offering truly green products and services, the consumers would follow. If companies really educated the public about the challenges in their industries and appealed to customers and fellow corporations to change the markets, I think we would be surprised as to the ease of the transition to a sustainable economy.

I attended the Social Venture Network conference last fall and we heard from a Nike (NKE – $66.82) executive who shared with us some amazing things that Nike is doing. As to the speed and effectiveness of their efforts she said that Nike is subject to the markets and the financial constraints in the quarter to quarter profit system we have created on Wall Street.

I got her point yet I stood up and asked a question, "Is Nike really a victim of the markets, and the stock market?"

Nike is one of the leaders in the apparel industry. Who are the players in the market if not the consumers and the corporations? The corporations who make up the market have the power to create the constraints and therefore begin to remove the constraints of the markets. If consumers are waiting for leadership and the corporations speak as if they are controlled by the markets that they create, what is going to turn this around?

Obviously many of the characters are either ignorant, asleep or downright malevolent. Yet many people throughout the system are waking up to the reality of what is going on in the planet and individual acts do make a difference. The combined efforts of human beings acting with responsibility and care can bring about a change in the economy.

If the positive innovations connect exponentially before the massive breakdowns reinforce one another, the system can repattern itself to a higher order of consciousness and freedom without the predicted economic, environmental, or social collapse.

-Barbara Marx Hubbard

Disclosure: I have no formal relationship with the company, and I have no investment in Nike either long or short.