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Participatory Retail and Carbon Advantages
Alex Steffen, 14 Jan 08

With each passing day it becomes more obvious that a bright green economy works differently; that if we truly want to reach one-planet sustainability in the next three decades or so, we'll need to rapidly move from changing the kinds of objects we use (swapping our hummers for priuses, say) to changing the things we do.

It's an evolving field of thought, to be sure, but more and more useful concepts keep arriving for the tool chest. Here are two recent tidbits:

Participatory retail as a dividend of transparent supply chains -- if you're already displaying your backstory, allowing people to pick and choose their products, designs and production methods is a no-brainer.

Carbon advantage: getting a leg up by offering products and services which reduce the carbon footprints of the people and organizations using them:

[C]arbon neutrality misses the point. It's good for companies to invest in others' good deeds, but right now it's absolutely critical that companies invest in creating more sustainable versions of themselves. More than ever, we need the innovation that comes from competition and open markets. We need companies that view climate change not as a threat but as an opportunity—and are pursuing it with the enthusiasm that big opportunities engender. We need companies to go beyond carbon neutrality to something I call "carbon advantage."

You can create a carbon advantage for your company in two ways: First, you can use efficiency and resource reduction to provide a fundamental cost advantage in your operations and products. Second, you can use innovation in green products and services to offer customers a competitive advantage, thus differentiating your offerings.

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