“I need advertising,” said Earth

“I need Advertising,” said Earth.
A Call for RFPs by Martha Shaw

Submitted by: Earth Advertising
Categories:Environment, Activism
Posted: Apr 20, 2012 – 05:27 PM EST

NEW YORK, Apr. 20 /CSRwire/ – If Earth had an ad budget, it would hire Earth Advertising, or at least that was my assumption when I invented the agency in 1999, originally eFlicks Media. “Earth needs a good ad agency,” Walter Cronkite had suggested to me back then.

Here on the eve of Earth Day, there is tremendous pressure to share what it’s been like over the past 13 years since Earth Advertising hatched in Soundtrack Studios. It’s been up and down. The fisheries went down, the trash went up. Water down. Temperature up. Species down. Chemicals up.

But, Earth Day is a day of celebration, not mourning. Although not the kind of celebrating we’re used to. Celebrating without plastic balloons, stirrers, straws, cups, bottles, bags, plates, forks, spoons and other harmful substances. We can celebrate by refusing single use disposable plastic on Earth Day. I know I’ve given up all these addictions, including on special occasions. Believe me, I fall off the wagon. But I get right back on. You can even take a pledge. Go to http://plasticpollutioncoalition.org/support/pledge/

But I digress. If Earth did have a budget for an ad campaign clearly nobody would ever agree on which agency to hire anyway. And should it be positive or negative?

With the help of Stuart Ross, an advisor to Earth Advertising, we brainstorm the idea via social media. His ideas arrive by simple text, “What if there was an RFP?” I text him back that I love it. “Help Wanted. Mid-sized terrestrial planet seeking immediate advertising support.”

Objective? Long-term sustainable relationship with inhabitants.

Single Most Important Message? Help Wanted.

Most Valuable Available Asset? Unlimited intellectual capital.

Single Most Limiting Factor? Natural resources.

Single Biggest Challenge? Old habits.

Metrics for Success? Cleaner atmosphere. Fresher water. Healthier people. Abundant fisheries. Fertile land. Swimmable oceans. Peaceful co-existence.

As the world turns its attention to Rio+20, the 20-year anniversary of the first global Earth Summit, an RFP from Earth is a novel idea. World leaders need our community’s help right now. They need a collective RFP.

Connect with us on Twitter: @earthadv.

Sylvia Earle and Sam Low Win Cronkite Award as Mission Blue Debuts on Martha’s Vineyard by Martha Shaw

What do Walter Cronkite, Sylvia Earle and Sam Low all have in common? They have mastered the might of media on behalf of the sea.

The 2014 Walter Cronkite Award was bestowed on ocean all-stars Dr. Sylvia Earle and Dr. Sam Low by the MVYLI, Martha’s Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative, which honors people who create positive social change in the world through the power of media.

Like the award recipients, Walter Cronkite was a champion for the 71 percent of Earth’s surface that is the sea—our omnipotent, astonishing, complex, generous and sorely neglected neighbor who rules our planet and keeps us terrestrials alive. Since the industrial revolution, the ocean has been polluted, and literally put through the meat grinder as never before in its 4 billion year history. Walter stirred the hearts of people, young and old, to take an interest not only in the beauty and bounty of our ocean, but in its health and future. The Walter Cronkite Award recognizes leaders who provide this level of inspiration to today’s youth.

Award recipient Dr. Sylvia A. Earle is a world-famous ocean pioneer and former chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who has spent her life exploring the world’s oceans and sharing her boundless curiosity for what lies beneath the surface of sea—once a glass ceiling for women scientists. In 2009, she formed Mission Blue as a collaborative platform to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas large enough to save and restore the “blue heart” of the planet, known as Hope Spots.

“We are at the sweet spot of human history,” said Dr. Earle. “More has been learned about the ocean in the last decade than throughout all of human history. For the first time, we have access to information about our ocean as never before. Now we can actually do something. What will we do with this new knowledge? As a new generation that knows more than anyone has ever known before, what will you do with your future?”

“Walter Cronkite epitomized the spirit of what went up (to space) and what went down (to sea) and as a young scientist that inspired me,” said Earle. “I see his presence is still alive and well on Martha’s Vineyard. I am honored to be receiving this award with Sam Low, who has offered such a boatload of information about the ocean to all of us. I bow low, to Sam Low.”

The co-recipient was Dr. Sam Low, an anthropologist and award-winning storyteller dedicated to island people in their quest to raise awareness of our planet’s fragility, of which islands are most vulnerable. His film, The Navigators—Pathfinders of the Pacific, and recent book,Hawaiki Rising—Hokule’a Nanoa Thompson and the Hawaiian Renaissance, tell the story of the Polynesian settlement of the Pacific and ancient mariners who use native intelligence and natural signs to navigate our ocean. Low has both Vineyard and Hawaiian roots, and will join a global voyage in an ancient Polynesian canoe with the Polynesian Voyagers Society to share and celebrate the ancient wisdom of the sea.

Following the awards presentation, young leaders from MVYLI remarked on how the ocean was bringing everyone together, particularly island people, and shared their ideas for creating a more sustainable blue planet.

At sundown, the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival set up a big screen on Menemsha Beach to premiere Mission Blue, the remarkable and breathtakingly beautiful documentary about Dr. Sylvia Earle’s life. The film was directed by Vineyard filmmaker Bob Nixon, and Fisher Stevens, who followed Earle with their crew around the world ocean for more than five years. Island residents and summer visitors laid blankets on the sand to be among the first to see the film, before it goes up on NetFlix on Aug. 15.

Native Vineyard fisherman and advocate for sustainable fisheries, Buddy Vanderhoop, shared his admiration for the mission of Dr. Earle and his support for marine protected areas to allow the depleting local fish population to spawn and populate again, and to prevent massive fish factory ships from destroying what is left. Dr. Earle promised to return to Martha’s Vineyard and work together toward this, in light of NOAA’s recent invitation to communities across the nation to nominate national marine sanctuaries.


Saving our Seas: Tapping into the Wisdom of Ocean Elders by Martha Shaw

Saving our Seas – Tapping into the Wisdom of OceanElders
By Martha Shaw, OCEAN TIMES
(New York, NY) – For 10,000 years, the ocean has been the life support system that has generously supplied us with air, food, and shelter in the embrace of a livable climate. In a perfect world, human beings might have fit nicely into the Earth’s ecosystem, in balance with the rest of nature. Over the last half-century however, that’s not been the case. Since the industrial revolution, man’s effect on the ocean has been likened to an invasive species. Man’s greatest predator has quickly become man himself.
As a species, who will save the day?
One thing working against the ocean is that problems are out of sight, out of mind. Its wounds lie beyond and below our line of vision. Many people have never even seen it except on television, in books and movies, on menus, or in pictures on the packaging of ‘seafood.’ Of those who have seen the ocean, most only see a surface that glitters and shines, and splashes upon the shore in a spectacular show of white frill. What most of the population doesn’t see is that our ocean lies unprotected and exposed, subject to looting, polluting and plundering. As a result, we have depleted the ocean’s fish stocks by 90%, clogged it with trash, saturated it with chemicals, cranked up the temperature, and altered the acidity to the point where seawater is dissolving coral, cartilage and bone.
On a positive note, with new technologies and greater knowledge we now know more about the ocean than ever before. With the advent of these new tools, a woman named Gigi Brisson has become determined to make a difference. After an inspiring Mission Blue expedition with oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle in 2010, she decided to start something that would have the potential to reverse the ocean’s steady, if not alarming, decline. She developed a plan for how people of influence could pool their talents and resources in the best interest of the ocean, and founded OceanElders.
OceanElders combines science, business, philanthropy, art and star-power
Launched in 2012 with its first member Dr. Sylvia Earle, OceanElders now includes H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, Sir Richard Branson, Jackson Browne, James Cameron, Dr. Rita Colwell, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Jose Maria Figueres, Graeme Kelleher, Sven Lindblad, Her Majesty Queen Noor, Nainoa Thompson, Ted Turner, Captain Don Walsh, and Neil Young. Founder Gigi Brisson said, “These are people with power, experience, success and connections who are all passionate about the ocean and combining efforts to reverse its declining health. The plan is to grow over time and include individuals from Africa, China, India, Japan, and Central and South America.”
The hope is that the OceanElders can get things done together while everyone else is still talking about it, according to Dr. Sylvia Earle. “We used to think that the ocean was too big to fail. Now we’ve learned that it can. We are in a narrow window of human history when we have the knowledge and the technology to tackle these problems — just in time. It’s urgent. The next ten years can be the most important of the next 10,000.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGQJN0hgokg&feature=youtu.be


When asked about being an Ocean Elder, Ted Turner said, “OceanElders are older and supposedly wiser people trying to concentrate on solving the problems of the ocean.” Graeme Kelleher said, “It’s a group of people dedicated to saving the world ocean and the entire biosphere, including humanity. Sven Lindblad described the group as an aggregation of diverse influential voices that can collectively help shape ocean policy. Science advisor Dr. Greg Stone said, “It’s a committed group of people effecting change.” One of the earliest and oldest OceanElders, Captain Don Walsh described the group simply as people who can pick up the phone and do something, or stop something, as the case may be. There are rumors that more star power that can do just that will be added soon.
To date, OceanElders has been effective by partnering with global organizations to support ocean protection in the form of appearances, videos, Op-Eds and letters, including a letter to President Putin in support of Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
The Time is Now, OceanElders Summit 2014
OceanElders (OE) held a summit entitled The Time is Now on the eve of Climate Week 2014 in New York City. Colleagues, who shared the OE mission, gathered to meet one another with the intent to share wisdom and experience, explore new ideas and incite successful collaborations.
Speakers at the event emphasized the need to work together for a new global architecture for the high seas, the half of the world that is beyond national jurisdiction and lies unprotected. Trevor Manuel of the Global Ocean Commission and Dr. Sylvia Earle presented a poster to Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, reading “257,000 people from 111 countries want a new agreement for high seas protection.”
H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco said, “There cannot be social economic development without resilient and productive oceans.” The Prince went on to say, “The Earth’s marine environment provides humanity with a number of important services ranging from the air we breathe, to food security and storm protection. These in turn underpin lives and livelihoods around the globe.”
In reference to one of the biggest problems that plagues the ocean, IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing), Under Secretary of State, Economic Growth, Energy and Environment, Catherine A. Novelli said, “It is only fair that we both level the playing field for honest fishermen and do everything we can to manage fisheries around the globe in a sustainable way.”
Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. shared the wisdom of his island’s ancient tradition of “bul,” which places a moratorium on fishing in order to replenish those stocks and maintain balance. In this tradition he has declared his country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as a marine sanctuary, the first of its kind in the world. “We are on the brink when this free-for-all is coming to an end,” he said.
The event concluded with a brilliant performance by celebrated artist Norah Jones. Dozens of attendees then gathered at a nearby establishment to further the discussion.
Join the discussion
OceanElders invites everyone to join in the discussion athttp://community.oceanelders.org/forums/135006-discuss-your-ideas


Ocean all-stars make a splash in Monaco at BLUE Ocean Film Festival

Monaco and Tampa Bay set the stage for ocean film and entertainment


Video Link: HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco Attends the BLUE Ocean Mini-Fest. (VIDEO)


(Monaco) Oct 6  – If necessity is the mother of invention, then the pressing needs of our ocean explain the spawning of innovation at BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit (BLUE). This annual multi-disciplinary summit is a convergence of bright minds with big hearts focused on expediting ocean conservation – now when it’s needed most.


BLUE – a watering hole for ocean aficionados


BLUE sets in motion a mix of ocean all-stars mobilized by a supportive environment of breathtaking (and sometimes gut-wrenching) films, creative ideas and new technology.


Inventors, leaders, filmmakers, explorers, producers, artists, scientists, and celebrities gather to see what’s new and share thoughts on how to amplify the voice of the ocean. BLUE has created an ecosystem of diverse intelligence with one mission – to use the power of entertainment to educate and inspire ocean stewardship.


Chief executive and visionary, Deborah Kinder co-created BLUE’s platform for showcasing exceptional achievement in the ocean world, which is now acting as a springboard for rapid collaboration across cultures and disciplines in the interest of a healthy ocean. Ms. Kinder explained that working for a healthy ocean is in our own best interest. “I learned that ocean issues urgently need our attention and not just for the well being of future generations, but for the health of our own children. If humanity’s life support system is lost, little else matters.  I believe film and entertainment are the most powerful tools we have for reaching a large number ofpeople in a short amount of time, hopefully before our only choice is crisis management,” she said.


Like our fellow species in the sea, we are interconnected and our web of life is fragile and interdependent. BLUE takes lessons from nature to help build its ecology of ocean professionals working together to protect the planet’s blue heart, on which life on Earth is dependent.


Mini-BLUE in Monaco


A one-day version of its larger week long BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit, a mini-BLUE was held at the world-renowned Oceanographic Museum of Monaco last week, where BLUE’s new partnership with the Museum and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation was launched. Long standing defender of protective ocean policy, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco endorsed BLUE’s mission to use the power of film, photography, entertainment and science to educate, empower and inspire ocean stewardship across the globe. “This is as much a moral duty as a vital necessity, because the risks hanging over the oceans are today so pressing,” he said.


The setting was fitting as the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco has played a key role in ocean stewardship since 1906, when it was first conceived of by ocean explorer HSH Prince Albert I. From 1957 to 1988, the Museum thrived under the directorship of Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Today the Museum’s Director General, M. Robert Calcagno, is at the helm and joined a panel discussion at the mini-BLUE.


Panel explores the delicate balance of urgency and hope


Celine Cousteau, granddaughter of Jacques, moderated BLUE’s panel of ocean luminaries. She asked M. Calcagno to cite an example in history when the ocean won out against all odds. He described the time when the Calypso vessel showed up to protest an international agreement that was about to be signed that would allow mining in Antarctica. “At considerable risk, Jacques managed to get it protected until 2048,” he said.


SE M. Bernard Fautrier, CEO of Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, shared the success story of Reserve Du Larvotto, a marine protected area that could be seen from the terrace and was established in 1976. He described a new collaboration sparked by BLUE with Catlin Seaview Survey. The project is filming this underwater environment in 360 degrees which will not only allow armchair explorers to experience the shoals, but help scientists to benchmark changes over time.


Champion for the ocean and past-director of NOAA, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, was also asked for good news. As an example of hope she referred to 32 fish stocks that have been rebuilt and to the European Union, which has reformed its foreign fishing policy. However, she didn’t want to give the impression that all is well, or necessarily heading in the right direction. “I’ve been fortunate enough to see both the beauty and degradation of the oceans myself,” she said. “There are so many opportunities for government and for businesses to be choosing a more sustainable future – but in many places in the world that’s not the case. All people who make decisions should know the consequences of their actions. Films can inspire them… What we really need is a more cohesive sustained drumbeat of urgency and hope. I’m so excited that BLUE exists to see this on a regular basis. Majesty and magic, but also action.”


The notion that we only protect what we love, and don’t protect what we don’t know about, resonated among the BLUE panelists. M. Didier Noirot, Emmy award-winning cinematographer of BBC/Discovery epic series Planet Earth and Blue Planet, made a case for film as a means for building passion, and for sounding the alarm. “Emotion cannot be shared just by wanting to. Getting close to the subject evokes emotions. Our lenses make it possible to get close to the animals.”


DisneyNature’s founder and general manager, Jean-Francois Camilleri, declared that it is the responsibility of filmmakers to share information and educate. He then compared film to television. “There is less immersion in television than in film. Though there are less people in theaters, films get more media coverage – people find themselves sharing and comparing feelings and emotions. They can launch discussion of a topic that remains the subject of discussion far after the film,” he said.


Manager of Google Ocean Program, Jenifer Austin Foulkes, demonstrated Liquid Galaxy, which uses consumer-contributed, crowd-sourced, mapping to create a dramatic environment in which to explore the blue planet from anywhere. According to Ms. Foulkes, the power of visual imagery put together the right way can make a huge difference, like posting video clips on Google Earth. She gave the example of a view of a turtle near Heron Island that had over a billion media impressions. When features are added to click and donate to a nonprofit that is working on the cause, this has the potential to move people toward action.


Shari Sant Plummer, BLUE advisor and ocean philanthropist, has founded and/or served on dozens of ocean conservation boards including Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue. She offers the scattered ocean community her knack for connecting the dots. On the panel, Ms. Sant Plummer shared an effective use of film to teach locals what is at stake in their own backyards. She pointed out that when a reef system is failing, natives may be the last to know why. Films can change that by motivating artisan fishermen to adopt bans on destructive practices that lead to the collapse of their livelihoods, and their food supply. Efforts like these have resulted in bans on commercial diving for lobsters, while targeted media exposure has helped to ban shark finning in nine countries since the first BLUE Ocean Film Festival in 2009.


In closing remarks, HSH Prince Albert II, who also participated in BLUE 2012 in Monterey, California last year, emphasized both the need to shift global consciousness and the power of BLUE to help do this. “This event uses the power of film, photography, entertainment and science to educate, empower and inspire ocean stewardship around the globe,” he said. “To awaken consciousness toward environmental protection more effectively, our best weapons are those that win over our hearts and minds.”


Within a week of the mini-BLUE in Monaco, cross-pollination of ideas and technology among participants had already helped to expand existing programs and create new ones that bring the beauty and the plight of the ocean to the public in new and engaging ways.


BLUE On Tour impacts millions around the world


Beyond BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summits, ongoing BLUE On Tour reaches hundreds of millions of people around the world through media impressions, outreach, and tailored festivals. The traveling show offers local communities the opportunity to host entertaining and inspiring events that feature winning selections from international film competitions and a chance to meet the filmmakers, and scientists. BLUE On Tour has traveled to China, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and throughout the USA, and been covered in over 800 media outlets.

“BLUE On Tour enables groups to host their own customized festival event with selections from BLUE’s extensive film catalog and network of people,” said Charlotte Vick who works with BLUE and is also curator of Explore the Ocean in Google Earth.

The challenge is to help people make a connection between their own health and the health of our ocean, even though the majority of the 7 billion people living on Earth have never seen it – or a living fish. As our population approaches 10 billion in this century, with most growth within 100 miles of the sea, the job of programs like BLUE On Tour to reach out and inspire more people to adopt new habits is critical.  BLUE On Tour benefits by sponsors that support the outreach, and sponsors benefit by the media exposure in a symbiotic relationship.


BLUE to alternate between two bicoastal homes – Monaco and St. Petersburg, Florida


Deborah Kinder announced that BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit will alternate between Monaco and St. Petersburg, Florida beginning in 2014. Given that Monaco is a global nexus for all things ocean under the leadership of its Head of State, and St. Petersburg is a vibrant center for oceanography, the two coastal enclaves are perfect backdrops for BLUE.


“BLUE will showcase on odd years in Monaco beginning in 2015, and in St. Petersburg, Florida on even years beginning next year November 3rd-9th, 2014,” said Ms. Kinder. “I am inspired by these two communities’ level of commitment to the one ocean that connects us all. Our upcoming festivals are going to be amazing gatherings of extraordinary people that you don’t want to miss.”


Find more information at www.blueoceanfilmfestival.org



Deborah Kinder, dk@blueoceanfilmfestival.org


Submitted by Martha Shaw, journalist and founder of Earth Advertising, which supports the growth of sustainable businesses that protect the planet above and below ‘see’ level.



Conscious Consumers in a Nutshell by Martha Shaw

Conscious Consumers in a Nutshell
Part 1 in Earth Advertising’s 4-Part Series on consumer behavior

Have you heard the one about the early adopter who married a true believer? Their children were 22% reluctant, 32% savvy, 17% enlightened, 29% adverse– and X% prone to little green lies.

Green Consumer Research Reports: It’s a jungle out there

It turns out that when you ask people how environmentally responsible they are, how much they care about polar bears, or what they would sacrifice for clean air, expect creative latitude in their answers. Studies show that studies need more studies to study. Earth Advertising thanks and supports all of our survey colleagues by offering an up-to-date directory of conscious consumer studies upon request. After all, we are all in this together. We are pioneers in the green marketing jungle. The truth is, green consumers are a moving target for media planners and the shelf life of research reports can be shorter than cheese. One poignant news story about risky spinach, an environmental mishap, or shipment of toxic toys, can turn a consumer behavior pattern on its heels.

Research reports on environmentally and socially responsible purchasing attitudes and behaviors are sprouting up everywhere. Marketing professionals have been intent on describing people most likely to shop with an environmental conscience for a decade now. In the early 90′s around the time Earth Advertising’s eFlicks Media published its initial marketing reports on “conscious consumers,” Paul Ray coined the term “cultural creatives” to better define the market potential. Today’s businesses, from Fortune 500′s to start-ups, are hoping to turn research numbers into sales figures. Some are staffing up on sustainability experts to decipher it all. Meanwhile marketing directors struggle to apply consumer research results to brand identity and media spending.

Even more important to some businesses is the amount of adversity they can expect from environmental deficiencies. Companies can no longer rely upon public relations to fix negative press about unsafe products and practices. How much people want to know about a company or product.

is the question many brands ask. Playing it safe, businesses are adopting responsible practices quickly on the chance that green is the new marketing tool.

“Cliff notes” on consumer behavior

Manhattan-based Earth Advertising inventories the landscape of research reports to help our clients get the real dirt on consumer data. Research is the foundation upon which we build strong marketing platforms. From these, we can promote media plans, product trial, brand awareness, loyalty incentive programs, pr, games, sales tools, and eco-tainment to effectively reach the audience with a compelling message. We believe that the most masterful market’eers are those willing to put both sides of the brain into overdrive. We call it research-based creative.
This report is intended to supplement the experience of industry professionals who attend branding conferences religiously, but might miss that one kernel of wisdom that can make the difference. Maybe you were schmoozing in the lounge about climbing gear, swordfish extinction, or why you got into this business in the first place.

Perhaps you dozed off in a lecture or they forgot to send you the power point. Earth Advertising’s 4-part Series is for serious professionals who didn’t know that saving the world would be so boring. This is not meant to discourage conference attendance, but give you the option to hold out for ones in nice places like Hawaii or Aspen. We hope you enjoy our 4-part Series of reports on Green Consumer Research.

Who is conscious about what, when and how much

Exactly how many are really out there? Many studies have competing new terms for customers who are likely to choose responsible products over toxic, polluting ones. Most agree that there are millions of consumers out there willing to pay extra for toxic-free products, and still others willing to make earth-friendly choices purely because they care about the future, other inhabitants, or the planet. The growth in eco-happy products and services is exciting for nearly everybody. There are trillions of dollars (ok, maybe billions) to be made selling good things to informed people.

Environmental policy reform is partly a result of the fact that dirty secrets don’t stay hush, hush as long, and information travels fast. A manufacturer half way around the world can be seen on webcam, and from space! More people know more about what they buy.

How many conscious consumers does it take to change a lightbulb?

Last year alone hundreds of millions of incandescent bulbs were replaced with compact fluorescents. But was that for environmental reasons? Nobody really knows, even if they say they do. Environmentally conscious consumption is not progressing as fast as some might hope, but it is growing. The burgeoning of triple to quintuple bottom line businesses is a promising sign. The concept of “bottom line” has become multi-dimensional and there are great social entrepreneurs to thank for this. People-planet-profits (but not always in that order)was the rallying marketing cry in 2007. Yet, still the retail economy is dominated by publicly traded companies pressured by quarterly earnings. In the upfront these environmental measures cut into profits. In the end, hopefully they translate into savings and less liability.

It feels like new business standards might be here to stay. Quality of life indicators, socially responsible indices, environmental risk assessment, shareholder activism, corporate transparency and new definitions for ‘standard of living’ can be found on the internet. They are at the fingertips of anyone interested in looking them up. There is a fresh sense of urgency among a strong, yet relatively undersized, group of consumers. Is the model citizen committed to protecting natural resources? Are their values reflected in how they spend their money? We do not believe there is a perfect formula for finding perfect people. Many people trying to do the right thing still can’t decide if it’s ok to go to Starbucks, or not. Are Christmas trees all right? They don’t know.

The most conscious consumers are motivated by health

Earth Advertising distinguishes between a) products that are personally harmful; and b) those that are harmful to the environment and animals at large but do not pose immediate and obvious personal risk. The most heavily populated environmentally conscious consumer group consists of, a) people gravely concerned about their own health and that of their family.
If they have friends or relatives recently touched by cancer, asthma, infertility, or other problems that they suspect are linked to their environment, they are more likely to choose toxic-free products. It starts with what they eat, drink, wear, touch, breathe, or feed the young. Many pregnant moms feel like they are staring right into the headlights, when they brush with chemicals that haven’t even been tested on rats. Not to support animal testing. But, moms are finally questioning the logic of “Keep out of reach of children and small pets” on the cleaners they use in the playroom.

Is level of wealth a good indicator?

One consumer data presentation showed a correlation between lack of education and obesity. According to some experts, this group is the “least” environmentally conscious. When you have only enough money to buy unsafe products, that’s despair not irresponsibility.
It’s more expensive to buy organic food, but if there is a CSA or farmer’s market nearby, you can go out of your way to buy local. By taking extra steps, environmental products can be more affordable—like buying in bulk or in concentration. Generally, green costs more, from non-toxic detergents and recycled paper to driving green cars and living in green buildings. Certain activities that engage in conserving energy, save money, too. If a penny saved is a penny earned, then an unused megawatt, known as a negawatt, is money in the bank.

Consciousness is a mixed bag that is hard to quantify. Motivation is a piece of the puzzle, as are informed or misinformed decisions. How can we classify someone who buys organic but doesn’t recycle? Also, the very workings of the planet are not always well-known. According the National Science Research, for instance, many Americans think the sun revolves the Earth.
For the most part, conscious consumers are not defined by a certain income bracket, ethnicity, geography or demography, but by “psychography.” People most fearful of the harmful effects of dangerous chemicals in food, drink, cleansers, clothes, cosmetics, paint, etc. are most likely to buy non-toxic things if they can afford to.

Please don’t kill the messenger

As it turns out, the household member most likely to make purchasing
decisions is predominately female. This woman is even making the choices when it comes to cars and gadgets. Women are nurturers and gatherers, which in this day and age translates to mothers, matriarchs and “shoppers.” Men are more likely to engage in goal-driven activities such as chasing and catching flying objects like hockey pucks, footballs, and big, powerful paychecks. (Again, we read the surveys, we don’t conduct them.)

Men do make many decisions and are concerned about the state of the planet. Just look at the ratios at conferences. According to most survey they just don’t make everyday-run-of-the-mill-family purchasing decisions like groceries. Power plants and fishing vessels? Yes.
These days it’s not just endangered species capturing the attention of researchers. There is most likely a huge database on each of us somewhere. There is no shortage of research out there on our purchasing patterns either. You could probably search golfers with a 50 handicap who only play on environmentally conscious golf courses, just in the North East, using a Yonex club and surmise quickly what kind of car he (or she) drives. Data is an export product. The Freedom Act probably didn’t hurt. For all we know our stats are sold to Japan. But do they know why you took the bus today? Maybe your car broke down.

Who is conscious about what, and why

One study suggests at least 90% of all people consider themselves conscious consumers. Let’s say it’s true. We must take a serious look at what conscious means. One can be conscious enough not to buy an outdated TV so she won’t have to replace it in two years. This person might, or might not, be worrying about the environmental life cycle of the electronic components. Frugality may be a survival instinct. Conscious shopping can be confusing in a world where media is supported by advertisers telling us to buy, buy, buy. Even the President encouraged everyone to keep shopping after 9-11 in the best interest of our country’s economy.

Yet, overproduction of senseless goods is evident wherever you look. Recently we heard a factoid about plastic ware. Americans alone dispose of enough paper, plastic cups, forks, and spoons every year to circle the equator three times. Does a conscious consumer use disposable utensils just on specials occasions, or whenever it’s more convenient?

Signs do indicate that a kinder, gentler, safer world is what most people want way deep down inside, even if it’s buried under discount mattress sales and factory closeouts. When presented creatively, any and all people of any gender can rise to the occasion of a healthier planet. If we asked dogs, they’d probably give it a “paws up” too.

Media is great when the story is real

People are exposed to media about wars, fossil fuel, over-manufacturing, excess packaging and toxic industrial processes that have wreaked havoc on our natural resources. Until recently, most people didn’t like to talk about it, or hear about it. Now it’s vogue. The digital airwaves are becoming environmental messengers as never before. Leaders both young and old want to engineer a better world moving forward. Environmental heroes have gained status as our society’s celebrities. There is much debate about how these consumers get their information. Most agree that they make decisions from sources in the way of networking and reading, and from “gurus” and medical professionals.

As information technologies converge, you can expect these people to be more and more influenced by non-commercial media in all forms. Above all, be honest and passionate about your product and your company. It is interesting to your target audience, so be sure it is told by master craftspeople in communication.

A finely told tale can weave in and among all forms of media with a memorable message. This message must be easily understood to be spread by others. Have a clear, redundant mantra that is easy to remember and share. It can even be a factoid. Pass it to hairdressers, teachers, grocers, family, ministers, cab drivers, employees and everyone throughout the supply chain. A rock hits the water with one simple thunk! The hole fills instantly, but the ripples reverberate almost endlessly. Thanks to media coverage and the internet, consumers can get a sneak peak behind the company logo to see what it really stands for. Green washing does not always fail immediately, but it never wins out.

Who do conscious consumers believe?

People in this psychographic tend to believe expert sources. The nickname “guru” here simply refers to people who are focused enough on your product category to have read about related topics or heard things in the news or discovered it at an event or chance encounter.

Words used to describe the “most” conscious consumer can easily be confused with those who talk about products the most. We like to believe the most responsible consumers are the ones who listen the most. They actively look for advice from gurus in all mediums.

In various reports, gurus are otherwise described as “brandvangelists”, “brand stewards”, “product ambassadors”, “diehards”, “conscious consumers”, “cultural creatives”, “enlightened”, “converted”, “true believers”, “environmentalists”, “activists”, “thought leaders” and “the choir” among others. They are people who may or may not have chosen to live healthy lives, but they at least read about it and talk about it. They keep pace with news and statistics on the risks of scary things in our environment.

These gurus are most likely to create the link between a healthy planet and human health in general. If you took the time to read this, you may be a bit of a guru yourself.

There is a gap between how we perceive ourselves and what we really do. A surgeon is still a surgeon even though he rarely wields the knife, and the same may be true for self-proclaimed conscious consumers in varying degrees. This is no excuse to be judgmental toward people. The green movement should focus on helping people help the planet, thus help themselves. The same is true at high levels of government and industry. By all means, it’s more effective when people believe it’s their idea, not somebody guilt-tripping them.

Though media planners are often inclined not to spend media dollars preaching to the choir, this is the very root system from which your brand will grow and gain momentum. Treat your choir with respect or the choir may sing someone else’s tune, and you want them to sing yours. Clearly, loudly, memorably, and often. They are the journalists, the media voices, the industry leaders, the gurus and they are often very vocal and passionate about their opinions.

People are human

There are several sources that would make a healthy addition to any choir, and they are health professionals, scientists, and religious leaders because conscious consumers tend to listen to these ‘experts’ more carefully. The ‘experts’ are not necessarily your consumers, however. An example is the sight of nurses huddled in the cold, smoking outside hospitals after spending the evening caring for a patient dying of lung cancer. It is not always human nature to practice what you preach.

You might find that a family buys organic milk but they eat processed cheese. Parents might see a TV special and link hormones in cows to premature development in their teens. Others are convinced that mercury in fish can cause learning disabilities. They might have solar panels and drive an SUV. One person might respond to Anderson Cooper’s televised blood work showing industrial chemicals in his body by detoxing with lemons for a week. Another might respond to the same thing by reaching for another beer.

It’s easy to pick and choose your customers carefully with new media techniques. In a way, marketing agencies like Earth Advertising are matchmakers bringing customers together with products that align with their belief systems, or will be aligned by the time we’re done.

Bribing for shelf space

If you feel uncomfortable coercing a retailer to put your product at eye level in the store, go outside your comfort zone. Location at point of purchase gives you stature with customers. It is an implied endorsement. If a customer must ask where your organic tomato sauce is, you could lose them to all-natural along the way. Create a campaign directed at store managers and tell your customers what section you’re in. Once a conscious consumer has your product in hand and reads the ingredients, you have made a connection.

Conscious consumers do read packaging. Use positive reinforcement. If McDonald’s posts how many burgers they sold, post how much pesticide you helped to save from groundwater by supporting organic agriculture.

If you want to get your customer’s attention, you must be available. Create an aura around yourself and your company quickly through all mediums. Hand out an award, start a club, give things away, make friends with your consumers.

Media is the message only if the message is done well

In short, the media techniques most effective are news stories, public relations and events, newspapers and magazines, and social networking. You cannot fool your consumer so be respectful and authentic. It’s your only option or your first sale to that customer will be your last. You must penetrate the media with interesting points.

Someone will want to argue about positive vs. negative messaging. The negative effects of dangerous chemicals are not positive. When your colleagues ask why you are being negative, tell them because negative sells when you’re in the non-toxic business. You are asking people to switch over to healthy alternatives from toxic products. Very few people are deliberately trying to poison the environment, although that sector does exist and there’s a name for them not included in this report.

Who does the planet belong to anyway?

How can we instill the thought that the planet belongs to all of us, when we have grown up in a world where companies are to buying water rights, and mining whole countries and mountain ranges for minerals and building materials? This is what Earth Advertising and agencies like us think about most of the time. How to sell the idea of purchasing eco-friendly products not just for one’s own health, but for every one and every things.

There is positive research to support that people do care and given the tools and information, will vote at the cash register for the better good. Some scientists believe that the evolution of man included natural selection for those who care about man as a group.

The dichotomy here is that we have an economic system that prevents people from being able to afford to do the right thing. In schools we teach children about an environment that can be saved by making purchasing decisions that their parents can’t afford. Yes, we can all recycle, but can we afford organic cotton sheets? And yet the pesticides used in cotton industry are some the world’s biggest polluters of soil and groundwater.

Connecting healthy planet to healthy people

In the product categories of environmentally sustainable food, cosmetics, beverage, clothing (particularly baby and maternity) the best media channels and message platforms will be about health to the people who are most concerned about it, and you can expect women to be making the decisions.

The mental process of connecting the health of the environment to human health may have been easier in days gone by when man interacted with the land more intimately in order to survive. Today, a surprising amount of evidence suggests that many people don’t know where drinking water comes from. Many do not drink from water taps, but plastic bottles. Perhaps the intention of the industrial revolution was to make us all more comfortable after surviving the first ten thousand years. Maybe we believed that companies would take care of all our needs no questions asked. Now more people are beginning to notice that many products don’t make any sense to our environment and our survival.

People behave of their own free will

How do people evolve from health conscious to environmentally conscious? On their own free will. They make the mental connection either in a lightning strike moment, or over time. They begin to adopt, enjoy, and take pride in protecting resources as a more fulfilling way of life. You can define them by habits sometimes. Many research reports will tell you the ideal customer is politically active. Or an educated, informed woman with a family, and above average household income, If there is a member of her family with allergies, she’s even a better bet. We wish we could define green conscious consumers by the age, race, color, wealth, political party or astrological sign, but we can’t.

However, we do have clever, innovative ways to reach them. People adopt environmental practices to save face, save themselves or save the world and feel good. We believe people need to come to their own conclusions. Our job is to help them do that.

Upon request, Earth Advertising will provide you with recommendations on how much media to spend where, and how to optimize brand attributes. We offer corporate identity, messaging, and summary reports on market research, and ways to green your business while building team spirit among employees, vendors, suppliers, investors, management team, customers, shareholders and, yes, even the media.

We hope you’ve enjoyed Conscious Consumers in a Nutshell. This is Part 1 in a 4-Part Series on consumer behavior (see list). Ask us for our comprehensive directory of green consumer research. To find out more about how Earth Advertising can help strengthen your brand to resonate in the right places with the right message, contact: Earth Advertising, 44 E 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016 (212) 933-1391.


Earth Advertising’s Consumer Research Reports
Part 1. The conscious consumer in a nutshell
Part 2. Behavioral habits: public transportation, composting, recycling, reducing, water conservation, non-toxic home and lawn care, packaging, activism, green building, and energy efficiency
Part 3. Purchase decisions in clean technology: automobiles, transportation, renewable energy resources, and energy efficient products
Part 4. Tricks for popularizing your brand

What do you think about conscious consumers? Visit our blog at http://earthadvertising.wordpress.com/

Earth Advertising in Manhattan is a creative shop specializing in brand management, sales tools, media exposure, and studio production. The first publication about consumer behavior, “Conscious Consumption. Helping People Help the Planet” was published in 1998. Earth Advertising and studio eFlicks Media produce award-winning media campaigns and effective and innovative marketing programs in all mediums for earth- friendly clients.
To find out more about how Earth Advertising can help strengthen your brand to resonate in the right places with the right message, contact: Earth Advertising, 44 E 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016 (212) 933-1391, info@earthadvertising.com

Thanks to:
David Wigder
James R. Gregory Hugh Hough The Climate Group
Martha Shaw
Raphael Bemporad & Mitch Baranowski
Jacki Ottman
Green Media Enterprises
The Green Team The Hartman Group Egg Advertising
Steve French and Gwenn Rogers
Natural Food Merchadiser Claudia H Deutsch
Joel Makower Maryellen Molyneaux
Hilary Bromberg Thomas Friedman
A ‘Green Paper’
Bruce C. Ertmann DYG SCANTrend Identification Program
Eco & Co
Marketing Green
CoreBrand Green Team The Climate Group
Earth Advertising eFlicks Media
BBMG J. Ottman Consulting
GME Green Team
Hartman Group Egg Advertising
Natural Marketing Institute
Natural Food Merchandiser New York Times
Trend Watching Food Technology
Egg New York Times
TerraChoice Environmental Marketing Inc.
DYG Agence Conseil en Communication SurL’Environnement et les Questions de Societe
Consumer research references:
A look back at green marketing in 2007 Accounting for Brands as Intangible Assets
Awake & Aware
Carbon Down, Profits Up Conscious Consumption Helping People Help the Planet: marketing to conscious consumers
Conscious Consumers Are Changing the Rules of Marketing. Are you Ready?
Four Green Marketing Tips for 2008
‘Going Green’ Green Communications (Presentation)
Hartman Report on Sustainability Here come The Green Brandgelists
Lohas Market Research Review
New Hope from the Natural Food Merchandiser Now Looking Green is Looking Good
Ten Reasons Why There’s No Green Business Bubble The Changing Face of Organic Consumers
The Conscious Consumer: Marketing Strategies for a Greener World The Power of Green
The Six Sins of Greenwashing Toyota: Monitoring, Measuring & Managing Consumer-Generated Media (Presentation)
Understanding the “Green” Consumer (Presentation)
Who Are the ‘Sustainable Consumers’? (Presentation)

Martha Shaw Interviews Akaya Windwood, President of Rockwood Leadership Institute


Courageous Conversations: Social Venture Network Interview Series on Transforming the Way the World Does Business.

SVN (Martha Shaw): Does it take a lot of courage for you personally to be a leader of leaders?

Akaya Windwood: It takes courage to lead in these times. It’s dicey out there! The things we thought we could count on, we can’t count on anymore. People want concrete answers, which aren’t necessarily available in times of deep uncertainty — outcomes are not predictable. We need to be brave enough to say, “I don’t know.” It takes courage to say, “I’m not sure.” Or, “Let’s try something else.” It used to be you could make a good plan and if you had a good plan, you could predict what would happen. For instance, a social ill would be ameliorated. Or the financial risk factor would be X%. It’s not the case anymore.

SVN: How does fear play into courage?

Akaya Windwood: Courage is about acknowledging fear and doing what feels best for all concerned anyway. When people are not only putting their money, but their heart and their passion on the line, that takes courage. Woohoo! I think that this is a time in the world when people are operating in a great deal of uncertainty and that can make people afraid. When people are afraid, they don’t make the best decisions. That’s why good leadership is so important! That’s why Rockwood Leadership Institute is so important.

SVN: What does SVN mean for you?

Akaya Windwood: Well, SVN is a place where people go to say, “My business has to be about more than just my pocket book. I want it to have meaning” The days of doing things alone as a leader are past because it doesn’t get you very far. But when you get leaders together, it matters a lot. That’s why SVN matters. It’s a gift.

Akaya Windwood is the President of Rockwood Leadership Institute. She is recognized for elevating the effectiveness of leadership and collaboration, for infusing a sense of purpose, delight and wonder into our lives, and for her vision of a global community working together as a fair and equitable society.

Since 1987, Social Venture Network (SVN) has been the leading network of entrepreneurs and investors who are transforming the way the world does business. SVN’s Spring Conference, Courageous Conversations, will take place April 25-28 in San Diego. Visit www.svn.org for details and to register.

Interview by Martha Shaw, founder of Earth Advertising, which promotes the growth of environmentally responsible businesses through brand strategy and media campaigns.

Courageous Conversations: Martha Shaw interviews Lotus Foods


Social Venture Network (SVN) interview series on transforming the way the world does business: SVN interviews Caryl Levine and Kenneth Lee, founders of Lotus Foods

Social Venture Network has an exciting interview series on major responsible business leaders in the food industry who will be speaking at SVN’s Spring Conference.

SVN: The two of you have set out to transform the way the world grows rice. In keeping with the theme of the Social Venture Network (SVN) Spring Conference, Courageous Conversations, how much of your success can be attributed to courage?

Caryl Levine: It takes courage from our supply chain. We are working with farmers who have never exported their rice before. But they have the courage to change the way they have been growing rice all their lives, and how it’s been grown for centuries.

Kenneth Lee: It always starts with a few brave farmers in a village to try System of Rice Intensification (SRI) methods. By the end of the first season, their neighbors are saying, “What are you doing and how can I get involved?” For us, we think more about our ability to manage risk. We have to create value chains from scratch. What we are doing is risky.

SVN: The Social Venture Network fosters partnerships. What value do you find in partnerships?

Levine: We are able to expand our impact through partnerships. Agriculture is full of many challenges. Our rice farmers don’t have access to capital for seeds, for fertilizer, to build their own mills, or for the infrastructure to store rice. And then there’s the challenge of educating consumers about all the complex issues related to global rice production. Everything hinges on relationships and building trust. For instance, Whole Foods is a large platform and Lotus Foods is a small company. But, we need one another. It’s how our comparative strengths work together. From the Social Venture Network to the natural foods industry, from grassroots organizations to farmers all around the world, relationships have been a source of courage for us. They also keep us on track.

Lee: Transforming how rice is grown is pioneering work. We have a long way to go. Many players will need to act in concert to get the job done. We were lucky, for example, that when Cornell (CIIFAD) was promoting the benefits of SRI, one of their staff persons interested in marketing aspects discovered Lotus Foods on the shelf at Whole Foods. We soon found that we shared the same values and could strengthen one another’s missions. It was a no brainer.

Caryl Levine and Kenneth Lee are the founders of Lotus Foods, producers of distinctive ancient and new rice grown on family farms on healthy, chemical-free soils.

Attend the Social Venture Network Spring Conference, Courageous Conversations.

For 25 years, the Social Venture Network has been helping leaders and social entrepreneurs to succeed, while transforming the way the world does business in favor of a more just and sustainable economy. Join the most extraordinary social entrepreneurs of our time in San Diego, April 25-28 at the Social Venture Network Spring Conference, Courageous Conversations. To see who will be there, and why you should be there too, visit www.SVN.org

Interviewer and author,, Martha Shaw, is founder and CEO of Earth Advertising which promotes environmentally sustainable businesses.

SVN Courageous Conversations: Martha Shaw Interviews Errol Schweizer, Whole Foods Market


SVN: You are participating in the Social Venture Network (SVN) Spring Conference, Courageous Conversations. How much of being a pioneer is dependent on courage?

Errol Schweizer: I think courage is a big part of being a pioneer. Speaking from a perspective of working for Whole Foods Market, I think it’s one aspect among many. As a company with purpose, we’re looking for suppliers that also have purpose. So I think courage is one aspect of it but there are definitely other traits that go into being a good supplier and creating a product and partnership that is changing the world for the better.

SVN: Have you had to take some chances?

Errol Schweizer: Actually, for some reason I tend to find trouble. I tend to be attracted to the edge of discussions and to look for the seams or crack in situations that will either provoke innovation or new discovery. I don’t want to get too philosophical about this, but I tend to be attracted to those sorts of things. Sometimes people look at me with chagrin, but I have a good time. It’s better to apologize than to ask for permission. I’m good at saying I’m sorry.

SVN: Why are partnerships so important?

Errol Schweizer: It’s the main reason why I’m in business at Whole Foods Market. Partnerships are our bread and butter. It’s about being mutualistic. Creating win-win partnerships with our suppliers is core to what we do. Creating these mutually beneficial relationships in our business dealings is not always easy. It takes a lot of work on both sides. As just one example, when we find a supplier that we want to work with, we share ideas and devote intellectual energy and time to help them innovate their products and bring them to market so they’re not just out there on their own trying to figure out what’s going to work.

SVN: What would you say to a supplier about the strength it takes to be a social entrepreneur?

Errol Schweizer: You know, it’s retail so there are no guarantees and the customer always decides. So, it’s important to have ingenuity, and to maintain your integrity. And it always helps to be a little insane – not too insane. I think the most important of those is maintaining your integrity. We have shared values and passion for what we are doing. All of us, including the Social Venture Network, are attempting to do something that we value as good in the world.

Errol Schweizer is executive global grocery coordinator at Whole Foods Market. He is recognized for ethical sourcing and for creating ongoing win-win partnerships with suppliers. In his first three years as global coordinator, he brought more exclusive products to the shelves than in the company’s history.

Attend the Social Venture Network Spring Conference, Courageous Conversations, April 25-28, San Diego.

For 25 years, the Social Venture Network has been helping leaders and social entrepreneurs to succeed while transforming the way the world does business – in favor of a more just and sustainable economy. Join the most extraordinary social entrepreneurs of our time on April 25-28 in San Diego at the Social Venture Network (SVN) Spring Conference, Courageous Conversations. To see who will be there, and why you should be there too, visit svn.org/spring2013.

SVN Interviewer: Martha Shaw, founder and CEO of Earth Advertising which promotes environmentally sustainable businesses.

Stamping Money out of Politics: A Stamp Stampede, by Martha Shaw


By Martha Shaw

It’s impossible to say how many dollar bills stamped in red with Stamp Stampede messages to end political bribery have been introduced into circulation so far. But, if it’s any indication, I got one as change at New York Penn Station over the holidays. Mine said, “Not To Be Used for Bribing Politicians.”

The Stamp Stampede campaign was devised to spread the word across America about the enormous, devastating power of private corporate interests over politicians, which is threatening our democracy. The campaign calls for a constitutional amendment declaring that 1) money is not speech; and 2) corporations are not people.

Citizenship, Cash and Politics

My first reaction was, “Of course money is not speech and corporations are not people.” It turns out, it is and they are.

Apparently this faux pas happened right under our noses slowly over time, and with our own tax dollars. According to Stamp Stampede organizers, it got much worse in 2010 when a Supreme Court ruling under Citizens United allowed for unlimited donations by billionaires and corporations to Super PACs that fund elections. The complaint is that this loud, omnipotent and biased voice of Super Pacs is drowning out the voices of We, the People.

I asked Stamp Stampeders how much would it take to publicly fund candidates running for federal office. What would it cost Americans to free politicians from the gropes of corporation interests, and grant Americans independence from the rich and powerful, if not greedy, forces that drive our elections? What is the magic number needed to hold candidates accountable to voters, instead of donors?

What a Publicly Funded Election Would Look Like

According to Stamp Stampede, if elections were publicly funded, rather than by special interests, it would only take $2 billion dollars to fund all candidates running for a federal election. In the scheme of things, and considering how much is at stake (like, our democracy) that seems like peanuts. It’s only .02 percent of the annual federal budget, a small price to pay for true democracy.

Isn’t that what our soldiers have been defending since the Revolutionary War? Heck, according to an interview with Stamp Stampede, we already spend $716 billion a year on national defense, supposedly to defend our democracy. What’s another two million?

Stamp Stampede organizer, Charles Lenchner, points out though that overturning the Citizens United ruling in 2010 would not be enough to solve the problem of fixed elections. “Prior to 2010, obscene amounts of money were already being spent by private interests to buy political candidates,” he said.

And Stamp Stampede is not acting alone in its call for a constitutional amendment declaring that money is not speech and corporations are not people. Lenchner cites hundreds of organizations around the country, including 400 cities, communities and small towns, and 150 members of Congress who have signed on to this amendment.

The problem they face is that most voters don’t get it.

An Ice Cream Maker Set on Educating Voters

According to Stamp Stampede, four out of five voters support the cause to end political bribery, yet the vast majority of citizens aren’t aware or knowledgeable about the need for a constitutional amendment. Yes, Americans hate the TV commercials and mud-slinging election campaigns fighting to outspend one another, but people don’t have the means, or the language, to address the issue.

The Stampede hopes to change all that.

“That’s why we are putting the message on money,” says Lenchner. “Our dream is that you won’t make a transaction in your local grocery store without encountering a bill that has our message stamped on it.”

The Head Stamper of the Stamp Stampede is Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. Cohen and his stampers first got their inspiration from Occupy George and Where’s George. “What better way to stamp money out of politics, than to stamp the money,” he said while assuring me that the movement is one hundred percent legal. “This campaign fuses social media and grassroots activism with various organizations in order to engage the public in protecting our hard-won democracy,” he added.

“Stamping money is political Jiu-Jitsu. We’re using the currency itself to highlight the issue of money dominating our political system. At the end of the day, Americans want one person to equal one vote, not one dollar to equal one vote. Corporate money doesn’t just degrade the quality of our laws and legislators, it devalues us, as citizens and as human beings,” Cohen emphasized.

The more I learned, the more I was convinced that our forefathers would probably have joined the Stamp Stampede. So, I ordered a stamp of my own. You can join too, and choose from messages including: Corporations Are Not People; Stamp Money Out of Politics; The System Isn’t Broken, It’s Fixed; and Not To Be Used for Bribing Politicians.

Anyone can join the Stamp Stampede and start stamping by ordering stamps (from $8-$10) online at http://www.stampstampede.org and follow the Stamp Stampede on Facebook and Twitter. Why not?


Supreme Court’s Shocker

Stamping out Big Money in Politics

The Fair Elections Now Act

Local and state resolution efforts to amend the Constitution

- See more at: http://www.csrwire.com/blog/posts/676-stamping-money-out-of-politics-a-stamp-stampede#sthash.xCNdCj1D.dpuf

Courageous Conversations: An Interview with Social Entrepreneur Adnan Durrani, by Martha Shaw


Part of a Social Venture Network (SVN) Series on Transforming the Way the World Does Business.

Submitted by:Martha Shaw
Posted: Apr 03, 2013 – 09:30 AM EST
Tags: svn, social entrepreneurship, american halal, whole foods, balle, net impact, bsr, asbc, green america, bioneers, culture, gmo, supply chain

By Martha Shaw

Hundreds of social entrepreneurs and business leaders who are committed to transforming the way the world does business will gather in San Diego this month for Courageous Conversations, the theme of Social Venture Network’s (SVN) Spring Conference, April 25-28. SVN has been fostering a movement toward a more just and sustainable economy for 25 years, and has spawned many of the world’s most successful triple-bottom-line businesses.

The historical significance of SVN is reflected not only in the role its members have played in transforming business, but in the many organizations which have sprouted, indirectly or directly, from the network over the years including B Corporation, BALLE, Net Impact, BSR, Slow Money, American Sustainable Business Council, Green America, Bioneers, and hundreds of others.

Among the business leaders who will be leading discussions at Courageous Conversations is Adnan Durrani, Founder and CEO of American Halal, Inc. As a prelude to the conference, SVN interviewed Mr. Durrani on courage and on the topic of his session, Big and Small Changemakers: Creating Smart and Effective Partnerships.

SVN: The theme of SVN’s Spring Conference this year is Courageous Conversations. What kind of courage does it take to be an entrepreneur?

Adnan Durrani: My wife jokes that only if you are truly insane are you qualified to be an entrepreneur. You are taking something that is a dream, developing it into a vision, and then hoping to execute it into reality as a for-profit business. Indeed, it is very irrational, yet requires extreme discipline. Being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 gig and one must have enormous passion and devotion. You need a certain amount of facts, research and knowledge on the ground, and good instincts. Also, of course it helps to have experience and you also need good luck. Underlying all of that is the courage of your convictions.

Having been involved in four successful start-up food companies, how do you stay sane?

I have been lucky. I’m on my fourth food company, and every one [of them] has been successful in turning something nascent into a market opportunity. To some investors they were silly ideas. For me, I continued to see healthy food trends in Europe and waited to see if those trends would cross to our shore. What convinced me to keep going was seeing the window opening on the other side of the Atlantic.

You are moderating a session at the conference. What can the audience expect?

If they are looking to make an impact in consumer goods, they’ll have a rare opportunity to hear stories from leaders of high-end mission-based companies that are transforming the way the world does business. One example is Errol Schweizer, the gatekeeper of Whole Foods in Austin. Because of Errol’s astute knowledge about innovative trends in the natural category, people clamor just to have a conversation with him. He’ll clue us in to Whole Foods and their cause, Whole Planet. The impact of Whole Foods is that it is one of the only retailers who will partner with an early stage start-up, and that has enormous social impact.

What role do partnerships play in social entrepreneurship?

When we launched our brand in Whole Foods, it was around the era when the tragedy of 9-11 was still raw. American Halal was among the first foods to appeal to the dietary restrictions of Muslims. The brand, Saffron Road, was developed not only to appeal to consumers who sought healthy, all natural, sustainably produced food, but to those whose spiritual principles guided their dietary needs. We were the world’s first halal-certified frozen entrée.

The launch coincided with the Islamic holiday, Ramadan.

Suddenly, there was an outbreak of bigotry in the blogosphere that became a media story. It was a tempest in a teapot. A heated religious debate was about to play out in the aisles of Whole Foods. But, they held their heads up high, taking pride in themselves as curators of culinary diversity. They weathered the storm like champions.

And thousands of American Muslim consumers flocked to Whole Foods stores for the first time to show their loyalty and solidarity with Whole Foods’ progressive values. Our sales soared 600 percent and we are now the No. 1 frozen entrée in Whole Foods stores nationally. It was a win-win. That is partnership.

There are hundreds of examples of partnership throughout our supply chain. Whole Foods is now requiring GMO labeling and Saffron Road is the first Non-GMO Project Verified entree as a result of partnership. Another example is our mutual relationship with our supply chain of organic chickpea farmers. These are the kinds of stories you’ll hear at the conference.


Adnan Durrani is the founder of American Halal, whose Saffron Road brand sells the first halal-certified frozen entrées available in mainstream supermarkets nationwide.

Find more Courageous Conversations, including interviews with Errol Schweiger of Whole Foods, and Caryl Levine and Kenneth Lee of Lotus Foods, at www.svn.org.

- See more at: http://www.csrwire.com/blog/posts/786-courageous-conversations-an-interview-with-social-entrepreneur-adnan-durrani#sthash.b21cf1DN.dpuf