Yesterday, along with Anvil president Kent Lewis, I attended the Portland Go Green Conference, a day-long conference for both businesses in the envir0nmental/sustainability industry and other businesses working to incorporate environmental & social sustainability into their processes.
It’s always interesting to attend a conference outside of one’s own direct field, and this one was of particular interest to a tree-hugging hippie like myself, so here’s a few very quick takeaways from the event:
- First of all, way, way, way less ADD-like behavior — texting, email, surfing — than at your average SEO/SEM conference!
- Based on several mentions of studying Analytics, Twitter campaigns, etc., non-techies & non-marketers are becoming more & more savvy about what we do.
- Of interest to Anvil & other marketers: New federal guidelines are in the works (but stalled) for using terms like “sustainable,” “compostable,” “biodegradable” etc. to minimize greenwashing (see greenwashingindex.com).
- From keynote speaker Lorie Wigle’s talk, Intel in particular is taking great strides to make sustainability a core principle of the company.
- Along those lines, there was lots of interesting discussion around the conundrum that, while the Web is good for the planet in that it reduces paper consumption and can reduce fossil fuel consumption, and new hardware is much less toxic and more energy efficient, it is also problematic in that data centers use huge amounts of power and “e-waste” increases with each & every new product release.
- The current generation of students increasingly see business & entrepreneurship, as opposed to political advocacy, as the path to sustainability (at least, that is, if you listen to business leaders).
- There was a lot of pessimism about the economy & government. One speaker asserted that the US has already blown it when it comes to competing in renewable energy, several concurred that the only path to recovery is to revive domestic manufacturing jobs (sustainable or not), and all lamented a climate in Washington in which any legislation not directly & immediately tied to job creation doesn’t stand a chance.