Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Clean Water - Good for the Environment and Great for Business

Clean Water – Good for the Environment and Great for Business

Clean water is a necessity for not just humans but for an array of wildlife.  There is no possible way to sustain life on this planet without clean water.  Yet, everywhere we turn we see examples of clean water becoming polluted, wasted, and depleted.  To add to this challenge is the need to obtain fossil fuels for the everyday energy requirements of modern life.  The two main ways fossil fuels come into the picture are by hydraulic fracking and off shore drilling.  There is even a desire by many energy companies to start off shore drilling in the pristine waters of the arctic.
This is important to everyone on the planet because, even when sea water is affected, water pollution has a detrimental effect on the entire ecosystem.  Clean water is also important to a variety of businesses.  The first businesses that are affected are the many fishing companies that rely on the sea for their livelihood.  Then, water pollution affects tourism for all areas that are downstream of the source or are on the coast close to the source.  Finally, it affects shipping lanes that have to be halted or diverted during clean up periods.
From a strictly environmental standpoint, it is easy to simply demand that companies end all fossil fuel use immediately.  However, abruptly ending fossil fuel use without an abundance of renewable energy sources and the infrastructure to support them would hurt, if not severely harm, the world economy.  Publicly traded firms are required, by their investors, to be as profitable as possible at all times even if that means doing things that are not environmentally friendly.  Therefore, the public has to give these corporations the latitude to, at least for a relatively short period of time, not be as profitable while they transition to more sustainable methods of delivering energy.
Peter Smithson
There needs to be a global understanding of the quandary that energy companies are in.  In one instance they have to do what is right for their investors, and also do what is right for the environment.  Surprisingly, the very investors that are demanding profits above all else are also the ones that want these companies to be environmentally friendly.  Unfortunately, most investors would simply force the company to figure out the monumental task of transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy without ever considering a possible a momentary slowdown of record breaking profits.  The ability to improve our water ways and oceans is up to us.  Fortunately, once we realize that we are contributing to the reckless nature in which corporations deal with the environment we can have a cleaner planet.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Environmentally Friendly Repurposewear

Environmentally Friendly Repurposewear
There will always be challenges associated with running a successful business.  Environmentally friendly businesses have the added challenge of repackaging and repurposing various items for a variety of applications.  In fashion, this challenge can be increased even further due to the ever changing nature of trends and styles.  In an attempt to gain a better understanding of the challenges repurposed and recycled products face The Environmental News Bulletin interviewed Renata Dunkle who is the owner of Repurposewear in Lakewood,Washington.
The motivation to become involved in environmentally friendly products can come from many sources.  While following their passions some entrepreneurs find themselves creating environmentally friendly companies.  The owner of Repurposewear is one of these people.  Renata’s passion for clothing and fashion lead her to create Repurposewear.  Her business gives her the opportunity to keep quality clothing items from being discarded, maintain evolvement in her community, and the opportunity to utilize her talent for fashion and design.
When it comes to whether Renata believes re-purposed clothing will come in vogue she simply says “fashion is a matter of attitude, not a function of what you have in your bank account.”  Renata admits that the business of retailing re-purposed or preowned clothing items “…can be a bit of a challenge”, but that the key to her store’s success is “presentation”.  Her business sense allows her to understand that customer experience is everything.  She ensures that her store is clean, well-organized, and smells pleasant.
The challenge that most established fashion companies have with large scale re-purposing may be in the fact that they have little to no experience that arena.  In other words, most companies stick to what they are familiar with.  Also, companies like Repurposewear do not have the internal politics that may prevent established brands from experimenting with new methods of manufacturing, reselling, or repurposing clothing.  This means that most of the change in our environmental and business practices will most likely have to begin at the local business level.
What can be done?...
There is no perfect solution to addressing the lack of focus and attention on re-purposed clothing and accessories.  However one thing is true, to do nothing simply because large manufactures are not currently on board is foolhardy.  Only when community retail companies begin to demonstrate the profitability of their operations will the larger, shareholder controlled, organizations invest capital.  To this end, there should be a national professional re-purposing association that can certify the quality of a community store and/or its products.  Each store would be able to display this certification for customers in their store and website.  This association would thereby increase consumer confidence and therefore drive sales and community involvement.