Is The Color of the Future Green?
There was a time in the not too distant past when being environmentally and socially responsible and making money were incompatible concepts in the investment world. However, with heightened awareness of the damage being done to the earth and its atmosphere through careless misuse of natural resources, along with the damage caused by pollution, many consumers and investors are choosing to go “green”.
While not all scientists are in agreement as to what extent humans can be held accountable for the state of the environment, documentaries such as Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and the TV series “Planet Earth” highlight the damage being done, and emphasize that everyone on the planet needs to make an effort to minimize, or even reverse, the current situation. As a result, more consumers are starting to appreciate that, as individuals, they can make either a negative or positive difference to the environment.
The green investment market offers investors a number of exciting options. For example retailers, such as Whole Foods Market and Starbucks highlight the fact that their products are earth-friendly, organic and socially responsible and consumer response and support is a clear indication that this is what customers want. Retail giant Wall-Mart has its share of critics. Nevertheless, it has taken the initiative to promote compact fluorescent light bulbs as a money and energy saving item, while drawing consumers’ attention to the difference each person can make to the environment by reducing their personal carbon footprint.
Additionally, companies such as Pacific Ethanol, Evergreen Solar and Suntech Power continue to put forward innovative products in an effort to create profitable alternative energy sources. Through its Eco Options program, Home Depot offers a host of options for home owners to make their homes greener and more energy efficient. Eco Options aims to list 9,000 environmentally friendly products, which will be stocked at all Home Depot stores.
Another noteworthy corporation that is taking its social and environmental obligations seriously is Disney World, which is making extensive use of solar panels as an alternative energy source. They are also continually working on waste minimization and water conservation, while focusing on educating employees and visitors with regard to its green policy, integrating environmental themes into its attractions and promoting wildlife and habitat conservation. Clearly, Disney is proving that it is not only their superstar, Shrek, that is green.
Many corporations are introducing socially responsible initiatives into their marketing strategies, as well as their daily operations. Many of these initiatives, which offer investors the opportunity to make the world a better place, are aimed at improving the environment, enhancing education prospects or assisting to alleviate poverty. Certainly, there is concrete evidence to support the view that consumers are the driving force behind the growing availability of environmentally responsible products and services. Management teams with foresight understand that their companies need to fall in line with green policies to ensure that they maintain investor confidence.