Reverse Crowdsourcing: How Millennials are using brands to make sustainability happenShelton Group’s latest special report explains how the most sustainably minded generation can also be one of the least likely to participate in simple daily actions that promote sustainability.September 14, 2017 | Susannah Enkema Explore by categoryExplore by CategoryAll CategoriesBuilt EnvironmentCorporate SustainabilityEfficiency & ConservationEnergy & Environmental MarketingEnvironmental IssuesEnergy & Renewables Explore by authorExplore by AuthorAll AuthorsSuzanne SheltonAlex WadeCasey WardJacob RouserLauren de WetLee Ann HeadLyn MeanyMartha Wampler BehmMatt BrassMeghan McDonaldMike BeamerMike TwardyPenny KempSusannah Enkema Search the blog Subscribe via emailEmail Address Latest PostsRead moreSeptember 14, 2017Reverse Crowdsourcing: How Millennials are using brands to make sustainability happenShelton Group’s latest special report explains how the most sustainably minded generation can also be one of the least likely to participate in simple...Read moreSeptember 7, 2017Are we in the golden years for gated content?As the digital content strategist at Shelton Group, I read a variety of articles on content marketing to stay up to date on best...Read moreAugust 31, 2017Convenience vs. sustainability: Good news from KnoxvilleFor over a decade now in our Pulse studies, we’ve asked consumers to tell us their priority: comfort, convenience or the environment? And for...Read moreAugust 24, 2017When it comes to social media, do fewer things, betterSocial media is a great outlet for your sustainability story ... when you follow the mantra of doing fewer things, better. Here are 3...Read moreAugust 17, 2017The Rise of the Vocal CEOSomething really interesting – and different – has been happening over the last several months. CEOs have been taking a vocal and visible stand...Read moreAugust 10, 2017More on EVs: Insights from our readersBack in late June, I wrote a post titled “The mainstreaming of EVs … what’s your take?” It discussed the divide between two schools...Read moreAugust 3, 2017Why do we keep making it so hard for people to get what they want?We’ve written a lot over the last year about the trend we’re seeing in our data related to a massive cultural shift we’re in...Read moreJuly 27, 2017THE energy efficiency model every utility should be followingIf you’ve been reading this blog for a while, or if you’ve seen me speak at an energy efficiency-related conference, you’ve heard my plea...Read moreJuly 20, 20173 Digital Strategies for Telling Your Sustainability StoryIn an age where storefronts and consumer goods appear overnight, differentiation has become key in encouraging consumers to make specific purchases. Simultaneously, the challenge...Read moreJuly 13, 2017It’s Time to Force Behavior ChangeA lot has been written about the potential impact that Volvo’s announcement will have on both the auto and oil and gas industries.Read moreJuly 6, 2017What can we learn from a “doomed” city?As an optimistic, soon-to-be resident who happens to be more engaged than most in these issues, I decided to learn what New Orleans is...Read moreJune 29, 2017The mainstreaming of EVs … what’s your take?One topic has continually surfaced during this 2017 conference season, no matter if the gathering was focused on energy efficiency or if it had...Read moreJune 22, 2017How to Inspire Sustainability Heroes: Your Positioning MattersWe’ve all read the “we’re a nation divided” rhetoric. And, fair enough, it can feel like the majority of us here in the U.S....Read moreJune 14, 2017Connecting Global Issues with Local AudiencesAccording to the Ocean Conservancy, plastic has been found in every known sea turtle species, and in more than 25% of fish sampled from...Read moreJune 8, 2017Brewing for a Better FutureI recently took a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, with my wife, and we toured the newly opened New Belgium Brewery. With a focus...Read moreJune 1, 2017Putting Americans FirstAs I write this, President Trump is preparing to tell us all whether or not America will stay in the Paris Climate Agreement. All...Read moreMay 25, 2017It's personal: CEOs and sustainabilityAmong the many interesting stories and ideas shared at Sustainable Brands were some insights from Andrew Winston and John Izzo about the common themes...Read moreMay 18, 20172 Lessons from the Bottom of the Cereal BoxWe eat a lot of cereal at Shelton Group. (You may have seen the evidence – our business cards are made from the emptied...Read moreMay 11, 2017Security and Safety Concerns Are Holding Back Smart Technology AdoptionI’ve been closely following the movement toward connected homes over the past few years – particularly the potential impact of these technologies on energy...Read moreMay 4, 2017“I don’t use a MacBook … why are you driving cars with internal combustion engines?”That point by the Director of Energy Strategy at Microsoft – an excellent one I must say – was made at the Smart Electric...Read moreApril 27, 2017Science Marched On, and Business Missed OutIn more than 600 cities spanning all seven continents, people gathered last Saturday to March for Science. To celebrate the role it plays in...Read moreApril 20, 2017Why Your Earth Day Events May Come Off as Tone DeafEvery year, thousands of companies do thousands of well-meaning and beneficial Earth Day activities. This year, however, those activities may appear to be a...Read moreApril 13, 2017Death by a thousand cuts. Or not.Much has been written about the utility industry’s “death spiral.” I’ve got some data points to add to that scenario … and a possible...Read moreApril 6, 2017Take a Second Look: Pulse InsightsWe all come across great insights over the course of the day, and then, like Snapchat, they quickly disappear when we turn our attention...Read moreMarch 30, 2017Just because you can burn coal doesn’t mean it’s in your best interestIn case you missed it, here’s a good summary of Tuesday’s executive order to review the Clean Power Plan and begin rolling back the...Read moreMarch 23, 2017As Expectations Evolve, So Does StorytellingAs marketers, we face some pretty routine hurdles: How do we genuinely connect with our target audiences? And how do we shift them from...Read moreMarch 15, 2017Upselling Insulation Isn’t Easy – So We Made an AppIf you’ve ever built or remodeled your home, you remember the sort of images that were flitting around in your brain - hardwood floors,...Read moreMarch 9, 20173 takeaways from GreenBiz 17 – where the biggest players in CSR all got together in the desertAs most (if not all) of you know, conferences are a mixed bag in what they deliver. The larger they get, the more likely...Read moreMarch 2, 2017Glass Recycling: A Problem of AlignmentWhen it comes to recycling, I’m spoiled – I have single-stream, curbside recycling pickup at my house here in Knoxville. When the city recently...Read moreFebruary 24, 2017Survey says: EPA under Scott Pruitt is less trusted; companies should stay the courseAs a regular reader of our work, you received a short poll earlier this week intended to help us gauge your perceptions of the...Read moreFebruary 15, 2017Stay the course. And then change it.I talk with a lot of people working in energy and the environment every week. And for the most part, when I ask the...Read moreFebruary 9, 2017The Fun, the Bold, the Risky: Super Bowl AdsThe sustainably focused Kia Niro ad stole the show for laughs in my highly unscientific focus group (the 16 people eating pizza in my...Read moreFebruary 2, 2017The Mainstreaming of the Circular EconomyIf you read our insights regularly, this won’t be a news flash: Most of us can recall a time when we’ve considered a company’s...Read moreJanuary 26, 2017Homebuyers Want “Better”I recently spoke at the International Builders’ Show, along with two successful residential homebuilders, in a session called “Taking the Mystery Out of Marketing...Read moreJanuary 19, 2017Yes, Americans are divided – but not on the environmentThe results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election exposed some deep rifts in the American psyche and leave many of us feeling more divided...Read moreJanuary 12, 2017It’s time to talk turkey about the environment.Once upon a time – back when we first started marketing energy efficiency and sustainability – we told our clients that if you wanted...Read moreJanuary 4, 20172017: The Year We Start DoingShelton Group turned 25 years old last year, and 12 years ago we made the decision to be exclusively focused in the energy and...Read moreDecember 15, 2016Why did we do it this way?Somewhere long ago and far away, someone decided that the value proposition for energy efficiency was saving money. “Everybody loves to save money,” these...Read moreDecember 7, 2016Sustainability Made EasyLast week I wrote a blog post entitled, “Why do we keep making sustainability so hard?” and ranted a bit about the challenges of...Read moreDecember 1, 2016Why do we keep making sustainability so hard?Years ago, I used to rant in this blog about how Americans said they wanted to buy greener cleaning products, but they either weren’t...Read moreNovember 17, 2016Go BoldLast week was a big week. Shelton Group celebrated its 25th year in business, we pulled together a small group of clients for two...Read moreNovember 10, 2016A giant step backward for green building, and a giant step backward for the environmentBuilder Magazine asked me to answer the following questions yesterday morning, the morning after the most shocking election outcome I can remember in my...Read moreNovember 3, 2016Dear Chipotle, It's Me AgainDear Chipotle, I just heard the bad news. For the fourth straight quarter, sales have fallen. Things are looking pretty bleak. But maybe the...Read moreOctober 27, 2016Conservatives are sliding under the climate change tent. How do we keep them there?Over the years, I have had some “lively” dinner conversations about politics and public policy with my family. Last year’s Saturday Night Live Thanksgiving...Read moreOctober 20, 2016Old school energy company; innovative marketing approachWith fossil fuels in the crosshairs of environmentally minded consumers, business decision-makers and lawmakers, you might expect oil and gas companies to be defensive,...Read moreOctober 12, 2016If your organization is committed to curbing water waste, make that commitment count with consumersAre you, as a company or brand, committed to conserving water? If so, do you talk about it? In a way that consumers can...Read moreOctober 5, 2016It’s Time to Start Connecting Environmental Impact to Home Energy EfficiencyI’m about to make an about-face. For years, I’ve been telling you, “Look, I get it that making one’s home more energy efficient is...Read moreSeptember 28, 2016Water conservation is the next big thing. Have consumers gotten the memo?Here at Shelton Group, we talk a lot about consumers and energy – how they use it, how they perceive the companies that bring...Read moreSeptember 22, 2016Changing attitudes to habits: How do we move people from green attitudes to green habits?A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the shift in American identity that we’re seeing pop off the pages of our Pulse studies....Read moreSeptember 14, 2016New B2B Insights: Sustainability is table stakes, renewable energy is the new “shiny object”Sustainability is table stakes, and renewable energy is the new “shiny object” for B2B decision makers. These are two key take-aways from our third...Read moreSeptember 8, 2016Branding and the Energy Industry: A Cautionary TaleA few weeks ago, I wrote a post about examples of successfully branded commodities and how that might translate into the energy industry, especially...Read moreAugust 31, 2016Sustainability and American Identity, Part 1This year’s Eco Pulse study came back with a really surprising statistic: 45% of Americans say buying/using eco-friendly products is an important part of...Read moreAugust 25, 2016Do You Believe in God? How About Climate Change?We just downloaded our 2016 Eco Pulse findings with our Shelton Inner Circle members this week, and in order to contextualize the stats on...Read moreAugust 18, 2016Branding the “Unbrandable”Our marketplace is full of products that are pretty darn similar, yet they have differentiated themselves by virtue of a strong brand (think Pepsi...Read moreAugust 11, 2016What Will It Take to Make Community Solar a Success?When you think about the prospect of community solar becoming a reality across America, it’s hard not to get excited – because community solar...Read moreAugust 4, 2016The Segmentation ChallengePerhaps the most critical challenge in marketing is to identify your most likely buyers or participants and understand how to reach them, and what...Read moreJuly 28, 2016The Biggest Benefit of Telling Your Sustainability Story – the Flywheel EffectAt Shelton Group, we’ve written a lot about why you should tell your company’s sustainability story. Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve said...Read moreJuly 21, 2016Teaching Kids So They Can Teach UsAs crazy as it may seem to readers living in some parts of the country, kids start going back to school in a couple...Read moreJuly 14, 2016An Important Lesson Big Companies Can Teach Their UtilitiesFor the last several years, a fundamental question has hung over sustainability conferences like the proverbial elephant in the room: how can the world’s...Read moreJuly 6, 2016Winning on Sustainability Through Emotional Brand ConnectionsCar buying could be one of the most emotional decisions you ever make. I was reminded of that recently, listening to the story of...Read moreJune 30, 2016Building Resiliency or Independence?As we design our proprietary national surveys each year, we discuss market intelligence needs with our Inner Circle members. This year, we heard the...Read moreJune 23, 2016Why the SolarCity-Tesla Merger Makes Sense … and Why It’s a Great Opportunity for UtilitiesI’m sure you’ve heard the nepotistic news: Elon Musk wants Tesla to buy his cousin’s SolarCity business, thus creating a one-stop clean energy shop...Read moreJune 23, 2016The Patriotic Case for SustainabilityIf you’ve ever heard me talk deeply about Shelton Group’s vision – that every home and building in America is energy responsible and sustainability...Read moreJune 16, 2016Bottled Water vs. Water Bottles: How Can Marketing Change the Trend?Summer has arrived! When it’s hot and you’re thirsty, what do you reach for? For a lot of Americans, it’s bottled water. In fact,...Read moreJune 9, 20163 Themes to Ponder from Sustainable Brands '16I’ve just finished up two days at the annual Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego, and, as usual, I have many thoughts and ideas...Read moreMay 31, 20165 Ways to Move Concerned Parents to ActionThe Concerned Parent segment is the largest of Shelton’s four energy segments, representing over one-third (34%) of Americans. They are (attitudinally) pro-sustainability for a...Read moreMay 25, 2016A Tale of Two CrisesWe had a very interesting finding from our Eco Pulse 2015 study that took us by surprise: the percentage of people who said they...Read moreMay 18, 20167 Key Insights from Fortune Brainstorm EI’ve spent the last two days holed up in a dark hotel ballroom with executives from a variety of traditional and start-up companies talking...Read moreMay 11, 2016SEO and Sustainability: Do Your Green Search Terms Make the Cut?Words matter – especially the words you use to describe your organization, your products and your services. And online, the stakes are even higher,...Read moreMay 5, 2016Language and the Art of Selling Better HomesIf you’ve read our Buzzwords report from last year, you know that one of the phenomena we uncovered is that words that sound negative...Read moreApril 26, 2016Green: Where Red and Blue AgreeIn this season of increasingly rude presidential campaign rhetoric, it seems that U.S. political parties have never been more divided – both internally and...Read moreApril 19, 2016Why Business Is Good for Earth DayThe health of our air and water in the U.S. has come a long way since Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970. So...Read moreApril 14, 2016Don’t Count Utilities Out YetI go to a lot of conferences. And I’ve often noted, with chagrin, that at the sustainability conferences I attend about one-third of the...Read moreApril 7, 2016The Smart Home: Energy Efficiency Friend or Foe?I spoke at the ACI conference yesterday on this topic and thought I’d share here what I shared with folks at the conference. If...Read moreMarch 30, 2016Finding Your BelieversAfter a five-minute phone call with Mr. Steve (a volunteer STEM classroom instructor in inner city Oakland), the project was all but in the...Read moreMarch 24, 2016An Open Letter to ManufacturersDo you ever have that Charlie Brown moment? You know, the moment when you’ve done something again for the umpteenth time, hoping for a...Read moreMarch 15, 2016What Drives Business Decisions?That’s a big question, right? Shelton Group set out two years ago to try to answer it, within the context of sustainability and energy...Read moreMarch 9, 2016What Utilities Can Learn from the Republican PrimariesI was on a plane last week when Mitt Romney delivered his speech deriding Donald Trump as a fraud, a bully and generally unfit...Read moreMarch 1, 2016Is Fear Getting in the Way?Last week, I attended the annual GreenBiz State of Green Business conference and the Edison Electric Institute Strategic Issues Roundtable. One conference is for...Read moreFebruary 24, 2016Utilities: Don’t Let the Clean Power Plan Stay Slow You DownIf you work in the energy/environmental arena (and haven’t been living under a rock), you know that the U.S. Supreme Court has stayed implementation...Read moreFebruary 18, 2016Telling your sustainability or CSR story – some great, recent examplesIf you’re a regular reader of ours, you’ve seen our most recent stats that bear out that sustainability is now a mainstream, basic expectation...Read moreFebruary 11, 2016David Crane, renewables and America: There is nothing permanent except changeLike many of you, I have been following the events around NRG and David Crane that have occurred over the past few months. Crane,...Read moreFebruary 2, 2016Super Bowl sustainability ads: Enough with the baby stepsThis Sunday, as America gathers to consume (according to Wikipedia) roughly 28,000,000 pounds of chips, 1.25 billion chicken wings, and 8,000,000 pounds of guacamole,...Read moreJanuary 27, 20167 steps to getting your share of the green building marketAs Suzanne said two weeks ago, 2015 marked the tipping point on several sustainability fronts, and building products appears to be one of them....Read moreJanuary 20, 2016Do you have the insights you need for a winning smart home strategy?I don’t know if you kept up with the media coverage of CES® 2016, but the annual conference of the Consumer Technology Association took...Read moreJanuary 14, 20162016 will be the year of …Happy new year everyone! I officially declared 2015 the year of the tipping point, and I actually do think in a couple of years...Read moreJanuary 6, 2016Where will you be when the smart home market takes off?Smart homes are so much more than just cool gadgetry. They’re the new point of connection for consumers when it comes to combining energy...Read moreDecember 16, 2015What do you stand for?I’ve written posts about the financial and brand-building power of Purpose before. (If you want to learn more, check out Simon Sinek. He’s the...Read moreDecember 10, 2015Digital advertising to the rescue: Strategies for marketing low-interest productsAt Shelton Group, we work with brands at the forefront of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability – which means we primarily work with brands...Read moreDecember 2, 2015Are smart home enthusiasts into energy efficiency?This year’s 2015 Energy Pulse study confirms several suspicions and busts a theory or two. We learned that 27% of Americans could be categorized...Read moreNovember 18, 2015The value proposition for recyclingSunday, November 15, was America Recycles Day. It immediately reminded me of an opinion piece I read a few weeks back in The New...Read moreNovember 12, 2015We are more powerful togetherThis week I had the absolute pleasure of participating in a unique and fascinating event put on by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) called...Read moreNovember 5, 2015Four things you can learn from facilities managersOver the last two days, Shelton Group has been hosting our annual Inner Circle Symposium. This is an intimate event of clients from a...Read moreOctober 28, 2015How patriotism could motivate Americans to be more energy efficientSeveral years ago, back when we were still fighting a war in Iraq and we were all very tense about that, we tested some...Read moreOctober 21, 2015Under fire: What to do when your sustainability story is questionedIf you’ve eaten at Chipotle, you know their sustainability story. If you haven’t, take a tour of their website, and you’ll learn about how...Read moreOctober 14, 2015Focus group of one: Real-world experience trying to make a home more energy efficientIf you’ve seen someone from Shelton Group speak or you've read some of our research, you know our overarching point of view when it...Read moreOctober 8, 2015Who will control our energy future? 4 takeaways from Fortune Brainstorm EAccording to the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook 2015, America’s demand for energy will increase slightly over the next 35 years. According to...Read moreSeptember 30, 2015Are your certifications qualified? The FTC issues warningsAt Shelton Group, we’ve long espoused the merits of third-party certifications – the ones that lend credence to green claims made on product labels...Read moreSeptember 24, 2015Smart home technology: friend or foe?I’ve been doing a little premature pontificating that smart home technologies could be a threat to building product manufacturers. Based on some secondary data...Read moreSeptember 16, 2015The smart home is here (because retailers are going all in)We’ve learned, through years of work with sustainable product manufacturers, that growing sales without good retail distribution can be a steep uphill battle. It’s...Read moreSeptember 9, 20154 things we can learn from California drought communications campaignsOne of my coworkers here at Shelton Group lived in San Francisco during Jerry Brown’s first time around as governor. When the drought of...Read moreSeptember 2, 2015Turnoffs, turn-ons and wild expectationsWhich green buzzwords irk your customers – and which set expectations you can’t meet? For those of us who work all day long in...Read moreAugust 24, 2015Is green jargon a dealbreaker for consumers?How do Americans feel about the green buzzwords you use? We’ve got the scoop. When it comes to selling products with an environmental benefit...Read moreAugust 19, 2015Utility customer loyalty – it’s the new imperativeGoogle, Comcast, ADT, SolarCity and other corporate giants have set their sights on utility customers. Soon they'll be trying to lure them away with...Read moreAugust 12, 2015Keep it simpleIf you’re reading this post, you’re living in the extremely complex world of energy, conservation and/or sustainability. You’re working on Big, Complex Things all...Read moreAugust 6, 2015Is energy efficiency broken?If you’re a regular Shelton Group client, reader or follower, you’ve heard our party line about the problems with successfully marketing energy efficiencyRead moreJuly 29, 2015Americans believe in climate change! Problem (NOT) solved.Our soon-to-launch Eco Pulse study found that American opinion about climate change has shifted more strongly than ever before toward belief in the phenomenon...Read moreJuly 22, 2015Optimal solutionsIf you sat for the SAT, ACT or like tests, you might remember hearing during the instructions: “There may be more than one right...Read moreJuly 15, 2015A tax on electric vehicles? Surely not!Georgia, my home state, recently passed HB170, the Transportation Funding Act of 2015. The bill, which was signed by Governor Nathan Deal in May,...Read moreJuly 9, 2015Will you lose your commercial customers to a better offer?My quick answer is that we’re heading in that direction. And I’m not sure “lose them” is right; it’s more like “lose a significant...Read moreJuly 1, 2015The new solar buyer may surprise youAs I noted last year, solar pricing has dropped dramatically. According to Triple Pundit, PV panel costs declined 20% in both 2011 and 2012,...Read moreJune 24, 2015Let’s talk about loveOne of the ah-has from our soon-to-be-released 2015 Eco Pulse study is that, indeed, a company’s sustainability or social responsibility commitment IS a reason...Read moreJune 17, 2015Is convenience the enemy of energy conservation?Over the past few months, we’ve talked about some exciting new gadgets (like the Amazon Dash Button) and the role convenience plays in clinching...Read moreJune 8, 2015Turning importance into actionMy favorite behavioral economist, Dan Ariely, likes to say, “We are all wonderful people in the future.” We’ve seen that bear out repeatedly in...Read moreJune 4, 2015Turning issues into opportunities – Sustainable Brands 2015I’ve been at the annual Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego this week, and for the first time in years I didn’t actually speak...Read moreMay 28, 2015Prius and the art of brand maintenanceI’m kind of embarrassed to admit this, but it never occurred to me that “Prius” originates from the Latin meaning “to go before” (I...Read moreMay 20, 2015My not so green MillennialWe’ve all heard the stereotype: Millennials really care about the environment! And we’ve seen the studies like the one published by Morgan Stanley that finds...Read moreMay 5, 2015So why do I need my utility, exactly?I was at the Solar Electric Power Association’s Utility Solar Conference last week, and I was struck by a couple of things:All the presentations...Read moreApril 30, 2015Looking for a CSR initiative? Think outside the box but inside the brand.A few months ago, we wrote about this year’s CSR-related Super Bowl ads – and pointed out which ones did an excellent job of...Read moreApril 22, 2015Energy efficiency is king in the commercial built environment – but indoor air quality and water are gunning for the crown.It’s no longer a matter of IF sustainability is important in corporate America – 82% of business decision makers say it is. Our new...Read moreApril 15, 2015Consumer expectations just got higherIf you’re like most people who read the news about the Amazon Dash Button on April 1, you thought it was literally an April...Read moreApril 1, 2015Pay attention to AppleApple is on the move. Earlier this year, Apple was reported to have nearly $178 billion in cash reserves. As noted in a CNN...Read moreMarch 24, 2015Who will consumers trust to secure their connected homes?The connected home is coming. In fact, it’s here. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, countless firms highlighted their connected home products: security cameras,...Read moreMarch 12, 2015Meet your new sales guy: the local bug manWould you ask your pest control guy for help making your house more energy efficient? How about your lawn care company? Apparently it happens...Read moreMarch 4, 2015Balance between frenemiesMcDonald's has a new commercial called “Love Is Endless,” showing the Joker making a balloon animal for Batman, Dorothy and the Wicked Witch taking...Read moreFebruary 25, 2015How to talk conservation to conservatives: A great example from Goldman SachsGoldman Sachs recently launched a campaign steeped in environmental messaging that seems to be squarely aimed at a conservative audience. Don’t cover your eyes...Read moreFebruary 18, 2015Comfort is in the eye of the beholderAt Shelton Group, we believe that “comfort is king.” We think it’s important for energy-efficient home, product and program marketers to tap into deeper...Read moreFebruary 5, 2015The Social Responsibility BowlThe worst call of Super Bowl XLIX wasn’t Pete Carroll’s decision to pass on the goal line. It was Nationwide’s call to run "Make...Read moreFebruary 5, 2015Why winning some political battles could cost you the warBased on the results of last year’s elections, and what we’re seeing over the past few weeks, it looks like 2015 will be a...Read moreJanuary 28, 2015Where was sustainability at the International Builders’ Show?Last week I spent three days in Las Vegas speaking in the Owens Corning booth at the annual International Builders’ Show®, doing presentations about...Read moreJanuary 21, 2015It’s not about politics: Why cheap energy is the biggest threat to curbing climate changeIn his 2015 State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama noted that “no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than...Read moreJanuary 14, 2015What's riskier than new ideas? Not using them.“Ideas are scary” is the theme of GE’s freakishly touching ad. "Freakish" and "touching" are not words often paired together, but GE’s spot illustrates...Read moreJanuary 7, 20152015: The year of the tipping pointIn a few years, we’ll look back on what I’m about to say and think, “Wow, Suzanne’s really an excellent connector of the dots.”...Read moreDecember 17, 2014On the road again: How old tires may change the future of electric vehiclesTires have been a source of much scrutiny when it comes to their disposal. While their existence is a necessary one for safe driving,...Read moreDecember 3, 2014$7 billion later …Lawrence Berkeley National Lab published a study in January of last year which quantified that, as of 2011, utilities were spending a collective total...Read moreNovember 19, 2014Our most important Energy Pulse everI can’t honestly remember if this is our 9th or 10th annual Energy Pulse study. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is that it...Read moreNovember 12, 2014Are your green claims helping – or hurting – your brand?A new report from UL Environment and Shelton Group sheds light on this question. We’ve expounded on the perils of greenwashing and the benefits...Read moreNovember 5, 2014The power’s in their handsYou’ve probably noticed we’ve been undergoing a revolution over the last several years. Americans increasingly want companies to do the heavy lifting for them...Read moreOctober 22, 2014The U.S. oil boom: What does it mean for American consumers?Filling up the car this weekend, I received a pleasant surprise at the gas pump. Where you live it may be a different story,...Read moreOctober 15, 2014Because health is everythingOne of the best quotes I’ve ever heard about strategy is this: Strategy is the stuff you say no to.Read moreOctober 15, 2014Do it for me!As I write this, we’re wrapping up the analysis of our new Energy Pulse 2014 report. In a recent conversation about the results, I...Read moreOctober 8, 2014Rockefellers divest from their oily pastIs John D. Rockefeller rolling over in his grave? One can’t help but wonder how the founder of Standard Oil, who led America into...Read moreOctober 7, 2014The power of passionThe University of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium is the fifth largest in the country, hosting 102,455 people at home football games. The stadium looked particularly...Read moreOctober 1, 2014Simple but not easyMy role, as usual, was to give the American consumer perspective and answer the question, “How do we market this energy-conserving and/or more sustainable...Read moreSeptember 24, 2014The story people want to hearIn 1939, Roosevelt’s New Deal was in full force, the Tennessee Valley Authority was six years old, and Appalachia was trying to dig its...Read moreSeptember 23, 2014The subscription retail crazeIt seems there’s a subscription service for everything these days. Just take a look at My Subscription Addiction. The site is full of companies...Read moreSeptember 17, 2014Linking CSR to your supply chainThe World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the World Resources Institute recently announced that they had brokered an alliance between a dozen large and disparate...Read moreSeptember 17, 2014What’s a materiality assessment – and should you be doing one?In the broadest sense, material issues are simply those that have a great impact on a company’s ability to do business. In essence, it’s...Read moreSeptember 10, 2014Utilities: capture your customers' attention through innovationConsumers have a tendency to think of their utility only when they have reasons to grumble: higher-than-expected bills, power outages, unhelpful customer service.Read moreSeptember 10, 2014Are global companies weighing a future without utilities?Yesterday I facilitated a GreenBiz webcast called “Surviving the Utility Revolution.” We put this program together specifically for the utility industry, allowing them to...Read moreSeptember 4, 2014Surviving the coming utility revolutionAs we’ve noted in several recent posts, the utility industry is rapidly changing and facing challenges unheard of even a few years ago –...Read moreSeptember 2, 2014Social media's holy grail is a bucketThe holy grail of social media has been found. That free, successful-beyond-imagination, viral campaign that every corporation, product and cause has been searching for...Read moreAugust 27, 2014Pushing the Concerned Parent: Greenpeace and LEGOA few years ago in this space, we wrote an article about Greenpeace and their targeting of Mattel. Through their “Ken dumps Barbie” campaign,...Read moreAugust 20, 2014Getting beyond incremental changeI go to a lot of conferences. And a consistent theme I’ve seen this year is incremental change: At sustainability conferences, companies are talking...Read moreAugust 19, 2014Higher education is a bright green marketAcademia has long been in the vanguard of the sustainability movement. Although we cannot credit students alone for its origins, it is to their...Read moreAugust 13, 2014Toward a never-ending circle: The circular economy modelI recently read a report sponsored by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation that describes a new sustainable economic model called the “Circular Economy.” It’s defined...Read moreAugust 13, 2014Which comes first: Products or behavior change?I was at the Association of Energy Services Professionals (AESP) Summer Conference last week, and it seemed nearly every session got into behavior change:Read moreAugust 7, 2014Directly Addressing the Weakest LinkI had been riding for almost an hour on an ancient school bus, bouncing down dusty, rutted roads that wound their way inland through...Read moreAugust 6, 2014Sustainable semantics: “Global warming” vs. “climate change”In sustainability communications, even synonyms can inspire vastly different reactions. Take “nature” and “environment,” for instance. We’ve learned that “nature,” when coupled with “conservation”...Read moreJuly 30, 2014Transparency bites backRestoration Hardware has recently garnered a lot of returns. This is not unusual for a mail-order business; however, the items landing on the company's...Read moreJuly 30, 2014NASCAR and INDYCAR: PR or progress?This month, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway held a ribbon-cutting ceremony along the backstretch of the famous brickyard oval.Read moreJuly 24, 2014Certifications: Their time has comeEvery year in our Eco Pulse study, we ask Americans, “How do you know a product is green?” and offer a long list of...Read moreJuly 24, 2014The other kind of smart meter: Parking fees could drive changeCruising in search of parking is estimated to account for about 30% of traffic in downtown business districts and could even account for thousands...Read moreJuly 17, 2014Eco Pulse 2014: The Curse of the Improving EconomyLast year, an improving economy seemed to be stimulating environmental engagement and green product purchase intent, and all signs pointed to an increase in...Read moreJuly 16, 2014What to do when there’s no perfect solutionAs I recently ran an Internet query on an energy-related issue, an ad reading "Ethanol mandates fuel hunger" popped up. It caught my interest...Read moreJuly 9, 2014LiveWire: Harley-Davidson attempts to electrify its business modelA battery-powered Harley? Merely mentioning such an amalgamation is a good way to get unceremoniously removed from your local biker bar, but this oxymoron...Read moreJuly 8, 2014Give the people what they want – start selling “better.”Our annual Eco Pulse study will be out later this month, and we’ll start blogging about what we found over the next few weeks....Read moreJune 25, 2014There’s Definitely Something in the WindThose who bemoan the seemingly slow adoption of renewable energy in the U.S. should take heart. Not only is the use of solar energy...Read moreJune 25, 2014Danger! Do Not Operate While in or Near WaterThere has been growing interest in expanding hydroelectric power generation. An article written earlier this month by Linda Church Ciocci, the executive director of...Read moreJune 19, 2014My (Somewhat) Green WeddingIt takes two hands to count the number of weddings I have attended or will attend in 2014, and it’s been that way for...Read moreJune 19, 2014Collaborative, Normative, Better: Thoughts from Sustainable Brands 2014I recently spoke in the Consumer Research and Insights Workshop at the Sustainable Brands conference and attended several other sessions on a wide variety...Read moreJune 11, 2014Prepay It ForwardWhen it comes to energy efficiency, it’s apparent that one size does not fit all. Our Energy Pulse study finds that different groups respond...Read moreJune 11, 2014World Cup frenzy and (hypocritical?) outrageA storm cloud of environmental accusations and controversy surrounds the 2014 FIFA World Cup. I can see why people are incensed by some of...Read moreJune 4, 2014Health messaging takes rootOn the final day of April, Seventh Generation took a group of children, dubbed the Toxin Freedom Fighters, to Washington, D.C., armed with 120,000...Read moreJune 3, 2014An opportunity disguised as a problemThis week, the EPA released the long-anticipated standards for the reduction of emissions from coal-fired plants. The proposal calls for a 30% cut of...Read moreMay 29, 2014Walmart: Dark Lord or Bringer of Light?Walmart suffers almost daily denigration in the blogosphere and fares not much better in the mainstream press. The motivations for the sentiments expressed are...Read moreMay 29, 2014The game has changed for solar energyI’m just going to come right out and say it. We think that the U.S. government and many U.S. utilities are out of synch...Read moreMay 22, 2014Are we getting anywhere? Musings from Fortune Brainstorm Green 2014One of the interesting challenges of running a marketing firm entirely focused in sustainability is that our clients define the spectrum of sustainability in...Read moreMay 15, 2014GMO labeling laws: The writing on the wall is getting clearerA new bill introduced in April has brought the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) back into the spotlight. Dubbed the “Safe...Read moreMay 15, 2014Plan B for energy generationOver the past few years, the electricity generation sector has been moving away from coal. The recent Supreme Court decision to uphold the EPA’s...Read moreMay 8, 2014You’ve got energy drama.Here’s the reality from our Energy Pulse study: 80% of us think we don’t use more energy than we did five years ago.Read moreMay 8, 2014What state's your air in? Public health and the Cross-State Air Pollution RuleHealth is making an increasingly larger ripple in the energy and environment space. According to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2014...Read moreMay 1, 2014Beyond CSR: What Disneynature's Bears can teach us about cause-related marketingPretty much everyone knows the importance and benefits of corporate social responsibility (CSR) these days, and for companies around the world, it’s become an...Read moreMay 1, 2014Could drones give your package a sustainable lift?During the holiday shopping season last year, we posted a story comparing the sustainability of online shopping vs. a traditional trip to the mall....Read moreApril 24, 2014The politics of Earth DayEach April, I look forward to the product launches, promotional campaigns and environmental press coverage sparked by Earth Day. While we at Shelton Group...Read moreApril 24, 2014COMMON Marketplace: Giving the common consumer power to be sustainableCollaborative consumption has been a hot topic over the past few years, and we’ve had a chance to see how car sharing, home renting,...Read moreApril 17, 2014The simple truth about label claimsBack in October, the FTC issued a press release announcing six new enforcement actions related to the revised Green Guides. All six had to...Read moreApril 9, 2014Advice for the utility industry, post WSJ ECO:nomicsI once read that when Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights legislation into law he said something like, “I’m ceding the South to the...Read moreApril 2, 2014Why Earth Hour might not actually create changeLast week was Earth Hour. It would have come and gone without my notice but for a fortuitously timed switch of the television channel....Read moreApril 2, 2014Is clean coal the future of power generation?We’ve all become pretty used to delays in efforts to make clean coal technology a reality. We’ve been waiting a decade for FutureGen, the...Read moreMarch 27, 2014Don’t forget us renters!Spring’s finally arrived, and I’m looking forward to giving the heat pump a rest. As a renter, I know the feeling of helplessness you...Read moreMarch 27, 2014Let's make a deal: Tesla and the traditional sales modelThe state of New Jersey recently decided Tesla cannot sell their electric vehicles unless they set up a traditional dealership. New Jersey is now...Read moreMarch 20, 2014Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.I recently read about two proposed large-scale solar projects in the desert that are being opposed by environmentalists. The arrays would be built on...Read moreMarch 20, 2014Playing the Game: J.D. Power and UtilitiesCustomer satisfaction is a nebulous concept. And it’s particularly challenging for a sector that doesn’t exactly “feel the love” from consumers. According to an...Read moreMarch 13, 2014What’s in my air and how did it get there? Confusion about indoor air quality, carbon monoxide and VOCsThere’s been a lot of talk in the news lately about carbon monoxide poisoning – from a death and 19 people hospitalized at a...Read moreMarch 12, 2014I might have been wrong.If you’ve heard me speak at a conference, you know there’s a point in the presentation where I typically say, "Don’t try to educate...Read moreMarch 6, 2014Water, water everywhereLast weekend was a day of service for my church. There were many great volunteer opportunities for my family, and we decided to spend...Read moreMarch 6, 2014Ukraine and the geopolitics of energyIt’s been several years since the topic of energy and national security has been front and center in the news.Read moreFebruary 26, 2014Green homes and bragging rightsWe’ve all bought something we were excited about but then immediately regretted after the purchase. It’s the worst feeling – like you’ve been duped....Read moreFebruary 26, 2014Has all the low-hanging fruit been picked?Last week, I spoke at the annual Greenbiz Forum. They’ve moved to a new (much warmer) location and brought on the Sustainability Consortium and...Read moreFebruary 20, 2014Electric vehicles: The good, the bad and the possibilitiesA gap can exist between perceived environmental benefits of EVs and reality. But it doesn't have to – if we start changing how the...Read moreFebruary 19, 2014Want to increase recycling rates? Put the message where it matters.Americans need to recycle more AND stop throwing non-recyclable materials in recycling bins. Here's a way to aim for both goals at once.Read moreFebruary 13, 2014Natural: Are you sending the wrong message?The older I get, the more I look at what I put into my body. A recent trip to the physician’s office made me...Read moreFebruary 12, 2014Musings following the NAHB International Builders’ ShowEarly each year, the building industry gathers at the annual National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show. More than 1,500 exhibitors with everything...Read moreFebruary 5, 2014Sochi Winter Olympics: Sustainability failure on a global levelWith recent environmental and social scandals reported on an international scale, Russia's reputation as a global power may be harmed more than helped by...Read moreFebruary 5, 2014What corporate sustainability efforts are doing to the utility industryConnecting the dots between utilities and consumer packaged goods companies doesn't require as many dots as you might think. It does require thinking about...Read moreJanuary 30, 2014Super Bowl XLVIII: Football fans are greener than you thinkOver 100 million people are expected to watch the Super Bowl this year. The event might be associated with consumption and indulgence, but the...Read moreJanuary 30, 2014The State of the Union: Renewing the call for renewablesThe president urged more action on renewables in the State of the Union, but an important piece of technology wasn't part of his focus.Read moreJanuary 28, 2014Capitalizing on the polar vortex to spur more energy-efficient behaviorsAnother cold winter, another increase in heating costs: The U.S. is seeing a dramatic rise in prices for natural gas, while the Midwest and...Read moreJanuary 22, 2014Proximity makes the heart grow fonderBuying local can mean more than a reduction in mileage for both consumers and businesses within a B2B value chain.Read moreJanuary 22, 2014Environmental responsibility vs. social responsibility: Which one’s the winning approach?How does your company define “sustainability”? Is it a synonym for “environmental responsibility”? Is it about health and wellness? Maybe it’s about quality, longevity...Read moreJanuary 15, 2014What’s in it? Business customers care more than you might think.While few companies have stated initiatives directly addressing the issue, B2B decision makers share the same concerns about chemical content as consumers, overall. This...Read moreJanuary 8, 2014Avoid the Drama"Six hundred dollars for a plumber? Are you kidding? I can fix it for $40 – max." I thought those words would be greeted...Read moreDecember 31, 2013The Green Dollhouse: A step towards making sustainable homes the norm?This dollhouse could give green building a jump-start with the future generation, shaping their expectations for how a house should look.Read moreDecember 31, 2013Target carts pull more than their weightTarget's commitment to quality in many areas, including sustainability, helps some customers overcome the retailer's most recent security mishap.Read moreDecember 17, 2013World-traveling meat: The unintended consequences of sustainabilityA mounted jackalope head hung over the meat counter at the back of my town's butcher shop when I was a kid. (For the...Read moreDecember 16, 2013Giving Tuesday and holiday gifts with meaningIt’s that time of year again, and I find myself in the midst of my annual “First World” challenge. Finding perfect gifts that are...Read moreDecember 12, 2013Are you de-railing your sustainability story?This week, I was checking out at my neighborhood pharmacy (part of a national chain) and shoved the twelve-inch receipt into my purse with...Read moreDecember 12, 2013Chipotle’s "Scarecrow" shares their dream for the futureAfter wiping my eyes over the sacrificial bovine and the poultry injections in Chipotle’s latest online video, “The Scarecrow,” I scratched my head and...Read moreDecember 4, 2013Convincing Americans that “it’s worth it”According to Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, utilities spent $6.9 billion in 2012 on rebate programs – all designed to nudge Americans to make energy...Read moreDecember 3, 2013Black Friday vs. Cyber MondayI do not go out on Black Friday. That’s not to say I do not like the idea of Christmas shopping; I just prefer...Read moreNovember 20, 2013How Walmart could be more than just a Friday night hangoutJust talking about their crowdsourced delivery idea could help change Walmart’s brand perception in the minds of Millennials.Read moreNovember 19, 2013Let the circle be unbroken: Closing the loop on electronicsI spent Saturday morning getting a new cell phone. I don’t know exactly how many I have owned, but I once had a phone...Read moreNovember 12, 2013Taking a turn in conservation: We’re all in thisWildlife conservation is taking a turn in perspective. According to a recent article in Ensia, conservation efforts that are relevant to today’s world are...Read moreNovember 6, 2013Cucumbers on a plane: The gift of a marketing campaign with real people"Can you take cucumbers on an airplane?" I asked my co-worker. Not a typical question to ask during a TV talent scout, I know,...Read moreNovember 6, 2013We are not as awesome as we think we are.Thanks to low natural gas prices and mild temperatures over the last couple of years, many of us think our homes are “just fine.”...Read moreOctober 30, 2013My grandparents don’t take selfiesA few months ago, Oxford Dictionaries Online made some additions that included words like “twerk,” “selfie,” “emoji,” and my personal favorite – “food baby.”...Read moreOctober 23, 2013Placing green products on the silver screenOur latest Eco Pulse™ study tells us that, in the wake of the lingering recession, many green habits and purchase behaviors have plateaued or...Read moreOctober 23, 2013Millennials respond to brands with meaning they can trustNew York Times Columnist David Brooks has a knack for identifying cultural realities or trends in a way that can be useful for readers...Read moreOctober 16, 2013Let the sunshine in: Utilities and solar energyI’m guessing many of you who work in the electric utility industry have been purchasing a lot of aspirin lately. Activist groups are working...Read moreOctober 2, 2013Don't just sell green, sell great: TeslaHeading into this year’s Sustainable Brands conference, I was looking forward to driving BMW's electric prototype that was on display. In hindsight, however, the...Read moreSeptember 25, 2013Why you can’t fight fear with factsThe field of environmental sustainability is fraught with emotional issues: climate change, water shortages, population growth, food purity, animal extinction … the list goes...Read moreSeptember 16, 2013Think outside the smartphone to reach utility customersIt will take new ways, old ways, and ways we haven’t thought of yet.Read moreSeptember 16, 2013Bursting the dams: Where can we rethink water conservation?Water is scarce in Chennai, India, where Madhan Sundaram, product manager for Fiveworx, Shelton Group's new affiliated digital startup, grew up. “If you had...Read moreSeptember 13, 2013To increase interest in time-of-use pricing, install a monitorConsumers get on board when they see what they are saving. About 41 percent of respondents to our Utility Pulse™ 2013 study said they...Read moreSeptember 13, 2013Your most powerful marketing tool? Your sustainability story.We’re going to keep hammering this home for a while because it’s important: Green consumers are not “green consumers.” They’re “the most desirable consumers.”Read moreSeptember 12, 2013Goodbye tree huggers, hello brand huggersWe’ve been thinking about “green consumers” all wrong, starting with calling them “green consumers.”Read moreSeptember 12, 2013“Made in the USA” counts with consumersAnd so do “chemicals of concern” and recycling. For our Eco Pulse™ 2013 study, we asked respondents to choose the three most important things...Read moreSeptember 11, 2013Don’t put those green products in a separate aisleMost people simply never visit the “green ghetto” in grocery stores.Two keys to selling green products is to make the purchase experience affordable and...Read moreSeptember 11, 2013From mushrooms to plant plastics, it's time to start thinking outside of the (cardboard) boxWhen I started working in an office last year, I suddenly developed a taste for mushrooms. It was purely psychological – I was lamenting...Read moreSeptember 10, 2013Need to make the business case for sustainability? Try Bob Willard’s dashboard.This handy tool for quantifying and selling the triple bottom line can be the sustainability officer's friend.Read moreSeptember 10, 2013The WATERisLIFE campaign: An emotional route to issue awarenessThe viral video finds a balance between information and inspiration, tears and hope. It's a hard line to walk when the issue is dire...Read moreSeptember 9, 2013Minorities like the idea of new pricing plans and information optionsMinorities are interested – utilities should develop targeted marketing initiatives to get them enrolled.Read moreSeptember 9, 2013Wallpaper for recycling: New York's "Recycle Everything" campaignNew York City's simple message in campaign ads points to the importance of integrating advertising, infrastructure and support.Read moreSeptember 6, 2013Getting and keeping A-list employees: A bonus benefit of sustainability effortsAs corporations embrace sustainability programs, they are reaping benefits they expected – like reduced energy and water costs – along with other bonus benefits...Read moreSeptember 5, 2013Why Actives are happy in their pursuit of possessionsActives make up 24 percent of the consumer population. Although they are the greenest segment, they also shop more than the average person, they...Read moreSeptember 5, 2013True confession: I have an eco dogAnd I'm not the only one. People and pets like Frankie and I represent a fast-growing market opportunity.Read moreSeptember 5, 2013GMO Answers: A website walk-through with tips from Spock, Kirk and AristotleBiotech companies have teamed together to launch a website answering consumer questions about GMOs. While the timing is good, the strategy gives the rest...Read moreSeptember 5, 2013Millennials are greener! Really?You’ve been hearing the truisms for years: “Millennials are more focused on sustainability.” “Millennials prioritize buying greener products.” “Millennials care more about the environment.”Read moreSeptember 4, 2013Which should come first, the carrot or the stick? Bag taxes actually change behavior.A fee at checkout for plastic bags is more motivating than a reward for returning bottles. Last night, I was driving home through our...Read moreSeptember 4, 2013Americans are holding back on energy efficiency improvements because ...Our Utility Pulse™ '13 study shows that investment in energy-efficient (EE) products and home improvements is stagnant, as it has been since the economic...Read moreSeptember 3, 2013To find smart solutions, CPG and energy companies should cross-pollinateAs consumer packaged goods and energy companies tackle overlapping aspects of the same problems, there's a lot they can learn from each other.Read moreSeptember 3, 2013Consumers want to learn how to get energy savings“Show us how! Offer us tips!” say key market segments.On Friday, the Daily Insight touched on the goodwill available to utilities that manage the...Read moreAugust 30, 2013Setting expectations on energy efficiency savings can win customer heartsConsumers want to save on their power bills, but they need to know how much. Our Utility Pulse™ 2013 survey shows that 42 percent...Read moreAugust 30, 2013Get the power! Coalitions can help you move the market.When companies work together on sustainability efforts, they can more easily push the creative envelope and increase their impact.Read moreAugust 29, 2013“Protect the environment” on labels can turn off Cautious ConservativesA recent study shows how political beliefs can affect light bulb choices. A group of consumers were briefed on the benefits of compact fluorescent...Read moreAugust 29, 2013Solar gardens on the riseUtilities can score points with customers by supporting the development of community solar arrays.Read moreAugust 28, 2013Use "whole home" incentives to sell improvementsConsumers are more comfortable when choices are simple and clear. Is it self-evident to say that homeowners are more likely to take advantage of...Read moreAugust 28, 2013Hit the grand slam with time-of-use pricing, smart marketingUsing smart marketing to show customers how to cut their bills, OG&E scored a ratepayer-utility-environment triple win.Read moreAugust 27, 2013The freshmen speak: a snapshot of Millennials’ views on global warmingAs they embark on their college careers, a class of entering freshmen provide a microcosm of evolving attitudes.Read moreAugust 27, 2013Fight the smart meter conspiracy theoriesReal information and an emotional appeal help counteract urban legends about smart meters.Read moreAugust 26, 2013Get ready for the HVAC and water heater replacement boomWorking together, manufacturers, utilities, retailers and contractors can help homeowners pick the right energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and water heatersRead moreAugust 23, 2013In-home energy displays can spark behavior changeConsumers will cut energy use if they can see what they’re using.Read moreAugust 23, 2013Walk like an Egyptian -- in the shoes of electric utility executivesYes, they follow a century-old generation-and-distribution model. But they also juggle a complex, contradictory set of variables – and pray for good weather.Read moreAugust 22, 2013Vintage bikes, Millennials and collaborative consumptionThese financial realists avoid excess and debt – and don’t mind buying used or sharing instead of buying.Read moreAugust 22, 2013Aspirational Working Class Realists need a smoother road to rebatesThey are optimistic that they will buy energy-efficient products but held back by their finances. Streamlined, point-of-purchase rebates can make a difference.Read moreAugust 21, 2013Listen for epiphanies: Those stories can make your casePersonal sustainability moments appeal to emotions and provide anecdotes people can remember.Read moreAugust 21, 2013Underlying motivation: The bridge over troubled watersIn analyzing core values of our consumer segments, we found surprising areas of common ground.Read moreAugust 20, 2013For Hispanics and moms, greener attitudes and behaviors are based on personal experienceThis demographic group believes in caring for the environment because they have seen the consequences of being careless with natural resources.Read moreAugust 20, 2013Utility customers are happier when they have options and feel in controlSatisfaction levels differ with the ways customers get and pay their utility bills.Read moreAugust 19, 2013How to reach Gen Xers, the least green age groupGeneration X, born roughly between 1965 and 1981, bears the burden of following the Baby Boomers. In our Eco Pulse™ research, Gen Xers have...Read moreAugust 19, 2013The alphabet soup of fear and consumer turn-offEMFs, GMOs, VOCs – and whatever happened to radon? Years of membership in the Fear of the Month Club have trained consumers to worry...Read moreAugust 16, 2013Utilities and retailers should partner to spark sales of energy-efficient products and home improvementsBy joining forces, they could create win-wins on some of their toughest problems. Three-quarters of American homes need energy efficiency improvements.Read moreAugust 15, 2013Investors need an imagination boostMost of the technological advances humans have made throughout history would not have been possible without strong imagination.Read moreAugust 14, 2013Awareness of indoor air quality is changing the way homes are builtConsumers want their homes to be as clean and healthy as possible. In our 2013 edition of Eco Pulse, we found that nearly half...Read moreAugust 14, 2013Engage activists to enhance your brand and increase salesA study of companies and boycotts shows the benefits of reaching out, even to those who might bite you.Read moreAugust 13, 2013What makes solar power contagious?Two marketing professors test the effects of social influences on the adoption of solar power.Read moreAugust 13, 2013After the storm, utility customers want phone calls – and the power back, fast!There is no better test of a utility’s relationship with its customers than an epic outage.Read moreAugust 12, 2013Coping with the pesky "rebound effect"When consumers do the right things, they often give themselves the moral license to backslide. By identifying the phenomenon, we can help consumers retain...Read moreAugust 9, 2013Social media leads to actionA Pew Research Center study on social media, “Civic Engagement in the Digital Age,” has an important message for marketers: social networking often spurs...Read moreAugust 9, 2013You can't spell "conservative" without "conserve"Concern for the environment doesn’t necessarily follow party lines. We often associate sustainability with strong liberal or Democratic principles, with those on the opposite...Read moreAugust 8, 2013Empower consumers to replace windows and install extra insulationMarketing of proactive improvements should be directed to both consumers and contractors.Read moreAugust 8, 2013To market prefab houses, show buyers the glamourHaving written several books on prefab and spoken at numerous professional conferences, I assume people now understand the many advantages and scope of prefab...Read moreAugust 7, 2013Seize the opportunity of the coming appliance-replacement boomHow utilities can "get credit" for the 75 million household appliances that will need to be replaced over the next five years.Read moreAugust 6, 2013Consumers need free trials, coupons and money-back guarantees to help them try green cleaning productsOur Eco Pulse™ 2013 research tells us that most American consumers feel a strong attraction to the idea of natural cleaning products. But when...Read moreAugust 6, 2013Which should come first – the carrot or the stick? Bottle bills give some insights.The first of two articles examining the effectiveness of rewarding vs. taking away. The long-discussed, recently proposed Massachusetts bottle bill expansion is an opportunity...Read moreAugust 5, 2013Behavior change in the Big Apple: trading compost for fresh-produce creditsRecently, my co-worker Meghan McDonald wrote a Shelton Insights feature about composting programs around the country. She singled out New York City Mayor Michael...Read moreAugust 5, 2013Three messages utilities can promote to improve customer satisfactionBased on our Utility Pulse™ 2013 study, three key messages in utility companies’ TV ads will be the most effective in improving customer satisfaction...Read moreAugust 2, 2013Home sales are up: Here’s the key to selling that energy-efficient houseShow green home buyers the exact amount they'll save. The past few months have shown a re-energized real estate market, with rising demand and...Read moreAugust 2, 2013Will sustainability work for IKEA?Though IKEA's environmental record may not be perfect, consumers will give it points for making the effort.Read moreAugust 1, 2013The fuel-efficient auto industry is no longer running on fumesThe landscape of environmentally friendly vehicles has never been brighter. Widespread adoption, vehicle support within cities and the development of bigger, faster and more...Read moreAugust 1, 2013Consumers are avoiding disposable paper products. They need to hear more about sustainable forestry – and soon!We’re seeing a dramatic shift in the disposable paper product category. In our Eco Pulse™ 2013 survey, 30 percent of respondents said they avoid...Read moreJuly 31, 2013By touting incentive programs, utilities can engage a key market segmentIn our Utility Pulse™ ’13 survey, we found that 42 percent of those surveyed are less than satisfied with their electric utility.Read moreJuly 29, 2013Growing numbers of utility customers want texts, apps, Facebook and Twitter updatesOur Utility Pulse™ ’13 study shows a broad variety of ways that Americans want their utility companies to communicate with them.Read moreJuly 29, 2013Nagged by the rags: The daunting task of buying clothes made in the U.S.A.As a busy mom, student and writer, the idealistic, cause-embracing days of youth had long given way to more practical realities. But over time,...Read moreJuly 26, 201360,000 Canadians can’t be wrong – they just have smartmeterphobiaBritish Columbia Hydro is the latest utility to feel the wrath of smartmeterphobia. The answer is to meet customers where they live and speak...Read moreJuly 25, 2013Before your company uses a “no VOC” message, you’ve got to explain it firstIndoor air quality is on the American radar screen, but "no VOCs" is not.Read moreJuly 25, 2013Where is the trash can?If it's not close at hand, we may be tempting the litterbugs while encouraging the recyclers.Read moreJuly 24, 2013Time-starved, health-conscious Americans are a market opportunity for all-natural prepackaged meal helpersA convergence of trends presents a huge opportunity for organic convenience foods.Read moreJuly 23, 2013Why utilities need to get on board with big retailers and their solar installationsWalgreens announced about a month ago that it would expand its solar energy installations to 350 stores, up from 200. Walmart, Costco, Ikea and...Read moreJuly 23, 2013The challenge of connecting climate change to actionBring messages down to local effects and do-able actions; calculate objective risks and prudent steps.Read moreJuly 23, 2013Finding the sweet spot in food waste compost programsFood waste composting presents some challenges no matter the scale. From Knoxville to New York City, to organizations of any size, here are a...Read moreJuly 22, 2013Farmers and frackers: A pragmatic look at sustainable messagingWhoever the Frank is in your story, make sure your sustainability message works for him, too.Read moreJuly 22, 2013Compelling stories connect with values and spread ideasIt’s more important than ever to tell a story that shows what your product stands for.Read moreJuly 19, 2013It’s time to gear utility rebate programs to the folks who need themBetter-off homeowners take advantage of rebates while others – who really need them – don't.Read moreJuly 19, 2013Amid conflicting "science" and strong emotions about GMOs, food companies may want to get proactiveEven as genetically modified foods play a larger role in world agriculture, American consumers are avoiding them.Read moreJuly 18, 2013Developing a good environmental reputation is a good offensive and defensive strategyNearly half of Americans say environmental reputation matters at shelf, and almost three-quarters will punish environmental infractions.Read moreJuly 18, 2013How to be a corporate sustainability officer, from one who knowsThe best audience for Tim Mohin’s “Changing Business from the Inside Out: A Treehugger’s Guide to Working in Corporations” may be those who walk...Read moreJuly 17, 2013Don't make assumptions about green consumersWe love to put people into buckets. Whether it's how someone looks, speaks or how they act, we immediately form a "rock solid" opinion...Read moreJuly 17, 2013Consumers are concerned about chemicals in products, but their search for natural alternatives is laggingFor a number of years, our Eco Pulse studies have tracked increasing concern about chemical content in a variety of non-food products.Read moreJuly 16, 2013Americans are increasing their searches for “greener”/healthier food and beveragesEco Pulse™ 2013 statistics underline the trend that consumer concern for health is a key driver for green purchases and behaviors.Read moreJuly 16, 2013The tricky conundrum of responding to anti-wind NIMBY groupsPushback on wind projects sometimes comes from the environmentally minded.Read moreJuly 15, 2013Reducing water consumption by leveling the playing fieldVanderbilt University’s all AstroTurf® baseball field is an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of saving water.Read moreJuly 15, 2013Get ahead of the curve on awareness of water wasteIf utilities and corporations can start driving behavior change now, coming price increases won’t be as painful later.Read moreJuly 12, 2013Americans are worrying about natural resources again. Consider adding an environmental driver to your messaging mixWith an improving economy, more consumers have “the luxury” of considering sustainability in purchase decisions.Read moreJuly 12, 2013Sustainability and access to capital: If this doesn't get your CEO's attention, nothing willAccess to capital is the prime reason to sort out the alphabet soup of sustainability reporting.Read moreJuly 11, 2013Avoid the pitfalls of the Federal Trade Commission’s new Green GuidesLabeling your product as "green" can bring on a lawsuit.Read moreJuly 11, 2013Sellers beware: Buycott app reveals ideologies behind brandsA new app shows consumers whether a company's philanthropic allegiances match their own.Read moreJuly 10, 2013Will Millennials drive the shift from a consumption-based to a values-based, sustainable economy?When Millennials share, swap and buy used, it’s not just about the money.Read moreJuly 10, 2013ENERGY STAR® is a powerful persuader for consumersOur Eco Pulse ™ 2013 study tells us that about a quarter of consumers want to see third-party certifications on green products.Read moreJuly 9, 2013What other cities can learn from water conservation in Las VegasSuccesses like the Water Smart turf rebate program in Southern Nevada create opportunities for cities and regions to tell their sustainability story and create...Read moreJuly 8, 2013What the Climate Speech means for utility customers and what utilities can do about itYou’ve probably read a lot of coverage about the president’s speech last Tuesday. I want to hone in here on the piece about the...Read moreJuly 8, 2013How do consumers know a product is green?Almost a third of respondents pick out green products based on the brand or corporate story.Read moreJuly 3, 2013Cow skulls, wagon wheels and water: Las Vegas knows betterLas Vegas is greening up its act by making it possible for residents to throw away a lot of green – grass, that is...Read moreJuly 2, 2013Social responsibility programs can do good (and do your brand good)Localize your efforts and make sure to describe what’s actually being accomplished.Read moreJuly 1, 2013Does your product have a “but” attached to it?If your green product is undermined by your company’s reputation for sustainability, there are proactive steps you can take.Read moreJuly 1, 2013Goodwill’s success in re-use and recycling provides a window to the sharing, buy-it-used economyGrowing numbers of Millennials—and others—are sharing, buying used and repurposing products, not just because money is short, but also because they want to.Read moreJune 28, 2013Utilities can win friends by embracing rooftop solar. So why are they being cranky?Even though rooftop solar and net metering don’t fit the age-old centralized utility model, it’s smarter for utilities to join them than to fight...Read moreJune 27, 2013Make the emotional connection: an unforgettable illustration of a basic ruleSpreading a vision of sustainability begins with “unlocking the magic.”Read moreJune 27, 2013Harness the power of multiple screens to reach MillennialsA lot has been said about the importance of marketing to Millennials – that is, the generation that has come of age since the...Read moreJune 25, 2013Grainger’s Green Ambassadors spread the sustainability storyAbout a year ago, Grainger had a problem. It wasn’t that Grainger, the world’s leading industrial supplies provider, didn’t have a culture of effective...Read moreJune 24, 2013Ben Bezark of Cradle to Cradle on the cyclical economy and nutrient poolingBen Bezark of Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute talks with Brooks Clark, Shelton Insights managing editor, at the Sustainable Brands 2013 Conference in...Read moreJune 24, 2013What I heard and didn't hear at the EEI annual conventionWhen utility CEOs gathered for the Edison Electric Institute meeting, the discussion didn't include customer engagement and renewables.Read moreJune 21, 2013Why Walmart’s scorecard should score bigWalmart’s coming sustainability scorecard will link customers and suppliers to its own corporate sustainability story – and other companies may want to follow suit.Read moreJune 19, 2013Connecting inspiration to a business caseWhile showcasing examples of good works around the globe, the Sustainable Brands ’13 Conference hinted at the need to make the business case for...Read moreJune 18, 2013The five corporate excuses for not promoting sustainability and how to fight themLast week at the Sustainable Brands Conference, Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance, drew many nods of recognition by listing the following common...Read moreJune 18, 2013Fossil duels: How utilities can respond to activist groupsFaced with challenges from increasingly strident environmental organizations, utilities must choose a course of action.Read moreJune 17, 2013Storytelling and the Tennessee Energy Education InitiativeAlong with the rational facts about ROI, it takes an emotional component for businesses to make energy-efficient improvements.Read moreJune 17, 2013Sustainability marketing lessons of BonnarooPromoter Ashley Capps used nontraditional promotional channels to start his music festival 12 years ago. Now he focuses on the power of community.Read moreJune 14, 2013Builders are bullish and attentive to sustainabilityThe Pacific Coast Builders Conference showed a healthier building industry and a buying market interested in energy-efficient and healthy construction features.Read moreJune 12, 2013The Glad Tent that turns into a trash bagFor one weekend each June, tens of thousands of music fans descend on Manchester, Tennessee, for the four-day Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.Read moreJune 4, 2013The Sustainable Brands Conference – “From Revolution to Renaissance”Shelton Insights will spend the next four days in San Diego at the Sustainable Brands '13 conference, which started in 2007 with around 200...Read moreMay 29, 2013The High Fructose Corn Syrup ChallengeFrom trans fats and hormones to hydrogenated oils and monosodium glutamate (MSG), the list of food ingredients and additives that consumers are actively avoiding...Read moreMay 22, 2013Gamification: The Sustainability MiddlemanLast year, Simple Energy’s customer engagement platform helped utility customers in the Biggest Energy Saver program save an average of more than 20 percent...Read moreMay 22, 2013Brace Yourselves: Extreme Allergies Are ComingThe trouble for many people who move to Knoxville, Tennessee, is that our city has long held the distinction of being the seasonal allergy...Read moreMay 8, 2013How to Change the WorldI bought my two-year-old daughter a new pair of shoes this past weekend. It came down to the pink Converse low-tops vs. the pink...Read moreMay 8, 2013Hyundai's Suicide AttemptHyundai, the world's fifth largest automaker, was poised for a sustainable marketing home run with its ground-breaking hydrogen fuel cell crossover, the ix35. So...Read moreMay 2, 2013Become a Verb, and Other Takeaways from Fortune Brainstorm GreenThere was no shortage of celebrities at this year's Fortune Brainstorm Green conference. Harrison Ford started us off, talking about the work of Conservation...Read moreMay 1, 2013AESP: A Marketing SuperchargeMarketing and Implementation: Strategies to Supercharge Your Programs is the theme of this year's AESP Spring Conference & Expo. Here are some takeaways from...Read moreMay 1, 2013Genetically modified organisms present a conundrum for ActivesThe hot-button issue of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) provides a window onto the perspectives of one of the greenest of our consumer segments, the...Read moreMay 1, 2013Why does Subaru have such a foothold among earth-conscious buyers?My wife and I just returned from a short ecocation in West Asheville, North Carolina. Our bike-only weekend was spent perusing the charming communities...Read moreApril 30, 2013For Seekers, the genetically-modified-organisms debate comes down to healthThe hot button issue of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) offers a perspective on one of the greenest of our segments, the Seekers.Read moreApril 30, 2013Corporate sustainability efforts make a difference to consumersThey show your company values – and consumers notice.Your corporate sustainability efforts are a reason for consumers to buy your products.We’ve borne it out repeatedly...Read moreApril 29, 2013The U.S. oil and gas boom will drive down pricesWhile addressing consumers' No. 1 concern, energy independence will have unexpected consequences. In an opinion column in yesterday’s New York Times, staff editor Benjamin...Read moreApril 24, 2013Corporate sustainability reports show your values – and consumers notice.This week Walmart released its 2013 Global Responsibility Report. It weighs in at 172 pages and addresses a dozen areas from philanthropy and sustainable...Read moreApril 24, 2013Bamboo: The new miracle crop?I first became aware of bamboo’s potential as a renewable resource a few years ago. A good friend of mine was participating in a...Read moreApril 24, 2013Increasing Your Audience by Starting SmallYour audience is invested in something. They’ve invested their time in things they love, their money in things they understand and their emotions in...Read moreApril 23, 2013Looking back on the first quarter of 2013 and forward to 2014At the start of each year, we make our predictions for the world of sustainability marketing. Along with everyone else, we’ve been surprised by...Read moreApril 18, 2013Stop selling the drill.We've just released our Utility Pulse study showing the continued decline in consumer participation in energy efficiency. In fact, we're so concerned about this...Read moreApril 17, 2013Teaching Them to Fish EfficientlyYou know the old saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you...Read moreApril 17, 2013When we ask consumers to take action on a problem, it must be something they can control.Imagine your product, offering or cause. Now imagine all the things you’re just dying to say about it: how it works, why it’s the...Read moreApril 11, 2013Making More FriendsWe recently wrapped up analysis of our 2013 Utility Pulse study, in which we uncovered a wealth of information about the sometimes rocky relationship...Read moreApril 10, 2013Subaru's Secrets to Sustainability SuccessMy wife and I just returned from a short eco-cation in West Asheville, North Carolina. Our bike-only weekend was spent perusing the charming communities...Read moreApril 9, 2013Thatcher's views on climate change began with personal experienceTributes to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died recently at 87, are focusing mostly on her achievements revitalizing the British economy and...Read moreApril 3, 2013Earth Day Still MattersOn the first Earth Day – April 22, 1970 – some 3,000 people, including folksinger Pete Seeger (right), gathered at the Washington Monument. A...Read moreApril 3, 2013Why on earth do we still need Earth Day?A few weeks ago on LinkedIn, Joel Makower posted a rework of his article from last year declaring green marketing dead. I posted a...Read moreMarch 29, 2013Quantifying corporate sustainability effortsIn evaluating sustainability efforts, measuring dollars made or saved is a solid metric. Attitudes and behaviors are harder to quantify.Read moreMarch 28, 2013Jeremy Irons: A good celebrity can give a face to your messageOn April 25, some 400 “thought leaders, public policy makers, government urbanists and C-suite level executives” convened for The New York Times Energy for...Read moreMarch 27, 2013Energy-Efficient Campuses in the NCAA Tournament – Plus One MoreAs March Madness got started, the Alliance to Save Energy named its Elite Eight, the eight most energy-efficient campuses with teams in the NCAA...Read moreMarch 27, 2013ECO:nomics – A sustainability confidence boosterAs I sat in the audience at last week’s Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics Conference, I was excited at the amount of conversation happening in...Read moreMarch 26, 2013Gaming and competition can shape behaviorLast week, National Geographic, General Electric and the Center for Science announced a joint initiative to engage and educate youngsters about the future of...Read moreMarch 21, 2013Suntech’s bankruptcy is part of a bursting bubbleThis morning, the AP reports from Beijing that “Suntech, one of the world’s biggest solar panel manufacturers, was forced into bankruptcy court Wednesday, becoming...Read moreMarch 20, 2013Don’t Mess with the Test (Drive) – Three PR Lessons from the Tesla-Times BattleYou may remember a recent blog post where we listed the Tesla Model S all-electric vehicle as one of our favorite sustainable tech goodies...Read moreMarch 20, 2013Electric Vehicles in the U.S. – Why aren’t we there yet?I just finished a 1,700-mile road trip from Tennessee to Texas and back. I rented a Nissan Altima and was pleasantly surprised that I...Read moreMarch 19, 2013Sustainability stories resonate with MillennialsThe Millennial Generation (born roughly between 1982 and 2004) has the greenest attitudes of any age group but not the greenest buying habits. The...Read moreMarch 13, 2013Brand Advocacy: Changing Perceptions of the Entrenched ConsumerIn an American consumer industry well over 200 years old, countless firearm “technological advances” have come along. Improvements to ammunition, the integration of polymer...Read moreMarch 13, 2013When communicating about sustainability, start small.Imagine your product, offering or cause. Now imagine all the things you’re just dying to say about it: how it works, why it’s the...Read moreMarch 7, 2013How to Stop the Quarterly Profits TreadmillI'm the CEO of a 30-person marketing communications agency. My firm has no shareholders to satisfy, no Wall Street forecasts to beat, and we...Read moreMarch 6, 2013The Right Words for Selling SolarWant to sell solar? Lead your marketing efforts with "controlling energy costs," not "save the planet." Our Energy Pulse™ 2012 research indicates that solar...Read moreFebruary 28, 2013Cannabis, Cats and Collaborative ConsumptionThis year, my wife and I will spend our anniversary in a fairly unique location: a garage. The riding mower has been replaced with...Read moreFebruary 28, 2013Are we giving up too much in the name of sustainability?First, let me state for the record that I think technological advancement is a wonderful thing. I love the conveniences new technologies bring and,...Read moreFebruary 26, 2013So Home Sales Are Up: Here’s the Key to Selling That Energy-Efficient HouseYesterday the National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing home sales increased 0.8% in February to 4.98 million, the highest level in...Read moreFebruary 21, 2013How to persuade Cape Codders to consider Cape WindOn this NIMBY issue, many locals–left-wingers and right-wingers alike–are equally opposed. So how can we find common ground about this high-profile renewable-energy project?Read moreFebruary 20, 2013The Cost of Natural CapitalThis year’s 2013 State of Green Business report from GreenBiz is once again filled with important information for U.S. companies to review. From integrated...Read moreFebruary 20, 2013Are American consumers really wired for collaborative consumption?There’s something seemingly un-American about collaborative consumption. In 2008, during the early days of the recession, Congress passed the Economic Stimulus Act.Read moreFebruary 13, 2013The Green Housewives Hit HomeClorox recently released a new video campaign for its Green Works® cleaning products called The Green Housewives. It’s a spoof of the “Housewives” reality...Read moreFebruary 13, 2013The Smell of CleanThanks to years of conditioning, the lingering scent of lemon or pine is really the only way I’m 100% sure that an area of...Read moreFebruary 7, 2013Technology isn't the answer to sustainability issues.We tend to look to technology as a sort of savior. But it wasn't that long ago that, for the majority, videoconferencing and email...Read moreFebruary 7, 2013Sustainable thinking wins the Super Bowl.The ads in this year’s Super Bowl ran the gamut – without much of a focus on sustainability or sustainable stories. We did, however,...Read moreJanuary 31, 2013Getting Your Sustainability Platform Done RightWhen people ask us what we do, the standard answer is, "we help companies define and leverage their sustainability stories to gain a market...Read moreJanuary 31, 2013Utility rates are up slightly – will consumer frustration be up big time?Our nation's utilities are at the top of the "blame" list for rising prices (for the first time in eight years) and Americans are...Read moreJanuary 24, 2013Green Home Marketing: A Report from the Front LinesYesterday morning's USA Today shouted that home sales are expected to keep growing stronger this year (including new home sales). That's great news since...Read moreJanuary 24, 2013CSR Reports – To Report or Not to Report Metrics?This is the third part in a series of posts on CSR reports over the last few months in which I’ve discussed what these...Read moreJanuary 17, 2013Nostalgia as a Behavior Change MotivatorWe know from our research and practical experience that if we want to create behavior change, especially related to the environment, we can’t use...Read moreJanuary 15, 2013Building for Sustainability: The ProcessI have always been a sucker for an old building. I've renovated five old homes (including a couple of historic ones) and every office...Read moreJanuary 3, 2013Sustainability Trends to Watch for in 2013It's a new year! So after you've headed to the gym, put down your smokes, taken up a new hobby and willed yourself to...Read moreDecember 18, 2012Sustainability: It’s good for today.For me, the most memorable moment from Al Gore's "inconvenient" truth was an image of scales with the earth on one side and a...Read moreDecember 18, 2012An Open Letter to Environmental Activists Regarding UtilitiesFirst, let me start by thanking you for your efforts. I (like everyone else I know) want clean air and water, not only for...Read moreDecember 13, 2012Christmas Trees – Paper or Plastic?The holiday season brings with it many distinctive smells, none more powerful than those emanating from a freshly cut Christmas tree. As is the...Read moreDecember 12, 2012Sustainable Tech Goodies to Go Under the TreeHappy New Year (well, almost)! You'll recall that earlier in 2012 I offered up brief reviews of a handful of sustainable tech products, and...Read moreNovember 29, 2012You can't get anybody into a 12-step program if they don't think they have a problem.Our 2012 Energy Pulse™ survey, which just published a few weeks ago, revealed an increase in almost every consumer misperception we track, along with...Read moreNovember 28, 2012CSR Reports: Transparency, anyone?As I sit here writing this, I find myself a bit under the weather. For those of you who don’t know me, I don’t...Read moreNovember 14, 2012What's Really Killing Energy Behavior ChangeFor many years, we’ve asked consumers who they most blame for rising energy costs. And for years, respondents have said they most blame either...Read moreNovember 14, 2012The Power of EngagementOur annual Inner Circle Symposium was held last week in the good ol’ Honky Tonk city, Nashville. The theme was Engagement and a wide...Read moreNovember 8, 2012What you need to know about the revised FTC Green GuidesYou probably know the FTC recently revealed its long-anticipated, updated green guides. We've been asked a few times for our POV on these,...Read moreNovember 8, 2012Energy Pulse: Home Solar Power Given Vote of ConfidenceThe push for energy independence is stretching beyond our politicians’ call for natural resource collection on North American soil. In fact, it’s a push...Read moreNovember 1, 2012Untruth In AdvertisingLet’s be honest. We’ve all come to expect a little exaggeration and hyperbole from advertising – everyone who drinks beer is young and beautiful...Read moreOctober 31, 2012A few words for our utility friendsFirst, to all the power companies working so hard right now to restore power in Sandy's aftermath, THANK YOU! And though nobody likes to...Read moreOctober 25, 2012The Benefits of RealityMcDonald’s has often had a pretty big target on its back. Maybe that’s the price you pay for holding on to the number 0ne...Read moreOctober 17, 2012We've got money to lend!For many years now, we’ve described the homeowners most likely to make energy efficiency home improvements as being middle- to upper-middle income, generally earning...Read moreOctober 17, 2012Sustainability Reporting – It’s a JourneyFirst, do you really need a Corporate Sustainability Report (CSR)? The answer is: in most instances, yes. CSRs disseminate how you are aligning values...Read moreOctober 11, 2012Ducks Unlimited: Promising the Real Benefit of an Environmental CauseGetting people to support a cause is tough. With so many different charities and organizations vying for attention, time and donations, it’s impossible for...Read moreOctober 10, 2012The Great Replacement Boom, Part Two: Challenges to Energy EfficiencyWhen my 11-year-old air conditioner went out in the midst of 100+ degree weather, the first question I asked my contractor was: “How much...Read moreOctober 3, 2012The Great Replacement Boom is coming!Most of you probably remember the great housing bubble that ended during the middle of the last decade. Since then, the U.S. has experienced...Read moreOctober 3, 2012Branded OrganicA couple months back, my wife bought a new brand of granola bars. They were certified organic, non-GMO and whole grain – everything my...Read moreSeptember 25, 2012Solar Powered PRAt the beginning of the 2012 NFL football season, The Washington Redskins unveiled a major stadium upgrade they had made over the off-season. No,...Read moreSeptember 24, 2012Where there’s a will, there’s a wayI'd like to tell you the story of Klyde Warren Park. It's located in downtown Dallas and it sits on a deck that traverses...Read moreSeptember 19, 2012Yes, we need another recycling campaignThe concept of recycling has been around for thousands of years, ever since we found that metals could be reformed and ceramics ground down...Read moreSeptember 19, 2012Avoid the Heap: Reduce, Reuse, then RecycleI recently toured a local recycling plant. Massive machines were feeding voluminous conveyers. Military grade technology was dividing materials according to their molecular structure....Read moreSeptember 13, 2012The Trouble with Green BuildingI make a point to do the things we ask consumers to do on behalf of our clients – in part because I’m what...Read moreSeptember 12, 2012487 Words on HappinessHappy people are more likely to make more sustainable choices. Here's what you need to know about happiness in exactly 500 words.Read moreSeptember 6, 2012Cans or Bottles?Want microbrew fans to check out your new canned beer? Convince them that the packaging doesn't create a flavor sacrifice.Read moreSeptember 6, 2012The Intersection of Sustainable and CoolNot your grandma's hybrid: Tomorrow's fuel-efficient hybrids are more powerful, cooler and sleeker – Steven McQueen-worthy – and yet still fuel-efficient.Read moreAugust 30, 2012Persuading the majority: the sustainability marketer's conundrumSustainability is more mainstream then ever, but it's still in the minority when you consider the BIG picture. How does a minority convince a...Read moreAugust 28, 2012Onward to VictoryHow do you turn thousands of college football fans onto sustainability? Easy. Turn it into a competition.Read moreAugust 23, 2012From Farm to Fork to Landfill: The alarming truth about food wasteWant to help the environment? Forget about solar panels and look in your refrigerator instead. It's time to fix food waste in America.