We’re at the Intersection of Tech & Sustainability

by | Oct 18, 2018

Shelton Insight

49% of Americans think that reducing household energy use is one of the three most important things you should do if you want to minimize your environmental impact (Shelton Eco Pulse 2016).

Sustainability Win of the Week

This week I have the pleasure of attending and supporting the annual GreenBiz VERGE conference, showcasing cutting-edge work at the intersection of technology, business and sustainability.

This conference couldn’t be any more timely, as the convergence of technology, sustainability and business is at a critical point. In the past couple of years, consumer interest in electric vehicles and ride-sharing services has skyrocketed – and homeowners are increasingly turning to “smart” technologies to regulate their home’s energy efficiency. In fact, our most recent Energy Pulse data, fresh in from the field, notes that a majority of Americans expect EV’s to be the “new normal” in 10 years, and many expect smart technology in their homes to be ubiquitous in the next two years.

As Daniel Hill, project manager at Shelton Group client EDF Climate Corps, states, “Technology continues to make our lives easier. But, besides convenience, it has the incredible potential to reduce our day-to-day impact on the environment.” He’s right. As the electric grid gets greener, one of our best bets for hitting the Paris 80x50 goals is electrification – which includes cars AND space and water heating.

There’s just one problem: getting Americans to do their part.

Despite the stat above, and despite other stats we have that indicate that well over 80% of us believe the average person should take steps to reduce his/her impact on the environment and that we have a moral obligation to leave the planet better than we found it, only 9% of us have any intention of buying an EV or PHEV anytime soon. Why? They’re too expensive, they take too long to charge, and there aren’t enough places to charge – and consumers hold the automotive industry accountable for that. Further, when it comes to space and water heating, they’re split on which is better for the environment: natural gas or electricity. Not surprisingly, that breaks down based on what they own: if they own a heat pump, they think electricity is cleaner; if they own a gas furnace, they think natural gas is cleaner.

I think this is a phenomenal business and marketing opportunity. The company that makes EV ownership easy, the company that makes home and building electrification sexy, will not only move the market in the right direction, attaining incredible environmental savings, but that company will also capture an enviable brand loyalty and leadership position for years to come. Think Apple and the smartphone or Nest and the thermostat. That’s what’s on offer – make it easy for Americans to use fewer fossil fuels and we all win, especially the company that masterminds the way forward.

News of the Week

Is lab-grown meat ready for dinner? – Wall Street Journal

Is it Frankenstein meat, or the future of sustainable food sourcing? Lab-grown meat made from stem cells may be the solution to food shortages and pollution such as methane, a greenhouse gas generated by animal agriculture. As the article states, “the environmental toll of raising 70 billion animals a year” for food is immense, “and consumption is steadily growing throughout the world.” Could lab-grown meat curb this trend?

5 ways companies can act on the latest dire climate warnings – TriplePundit

After last week’s major climate news, companies are in search of how to start on the path toward 1.5C. This article outlines the exact steps companies can make to step up and stop global warming. Some of the steps, to name a few, include measuring and reporting environmental stats across the supply chain, setting science-based targets for GHGs, and accelerating environmental innovation.

140 US companies band together to rally more people to the polls – Sustainable Brands

Elections are just around the corner – and companies are teaming together to bring more people to the polls. One of the most commonly cited reasons by Americans for not voting is being too busy or having work and life demands that are just more pressing. Companies such as Levi Strauss, Lyft, New Belgium Brewing, and Patagonia among others are coming up with solutions to encourage voter participation such as time off work – and even free or discounted rides to the polls in Lyft’s case. Election day is Nov. 6.

Do consumers really care whether brands take a stand?

Yes, they do. But your brand can’t choose just any stand and expect them to love you for it. Learn how social purpose can create connection with consumers.

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About the Author

Suzanne Shelton

Suzanne Shelton

Where Suzanne sees opportunity, you can bet results will follow. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of both the advertising world and the energy and environment arena, Suzanne provides unparalleled strategic insights to our clients and to audiences around North America. Suzanne is a guest columnist in multiple publications and websites, such as GreenBiz, and she speaks at around 20 conferences a year, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and Green Build.

Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO

Suzanne is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments. She regularly speaks at conferences around the country, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and the International Builders’ Show, and serves as a guest columnist for publications like Fast Company, Green Builder and GreenBiz.com.

Susannah Enkema

VP Research & Insights

Susannah directs our research team and plays a key role in extracting the nuggets of information that pave the way for recommended marketing strategies and creative approaches. Susannah has nearly two decades of market research and strategy experience, including her role as president of SE Consulting, where she led the services for the likes of DIY Network and the makers of GORE-TEX®.

Matt Brass

VP Creative

Matt steers the creative department in concepting, designing and producing campaigns. He ensures sound strategy and deep insights inform everything his team develops, and works closely with the accounts department to ensure copy and designs will meet our clients’ goals. As a designer and filmmaker himself, he’s also a principal contributor to all of Shelton’s in-house photography and videography work.

Courtnay Hamachek

VP Operations

Courtnay oversees our day-to-day operations to keep us running smoothly and support our growth. She establishes project management systems and processes to help our teams anticipate bottlenecks, prevent process issues, and keep projects on time and on target. Courtnay has built extensive experience over 25 years in all aspects of marketing, from account services and project management to design and production.

Aaron Crecy

Digital Marketing Director

Aaron is responsible for planning, executing and measuring digital marketing strategies for Shelton Group and our clients, with an emphasis on inbound, content, SEO, social media, email and paid initiatives. He constantly researches and explores new tactics and strategies to improve digital campaign performance and results.

Aaron brings to the table more than 20 years of marketing leadership experience with premium consumer-facing brands. He came to Shelton Group by way of Malibu Boats, where, as Director of Global Marketing, he oversaw strategic marketing planning and execution for multiple product lines, with specific emphasis on social media and digital. Prior to that, he served as CMO for a leading daily fantasy sports operator, guiding it from startup to the industry’s third-ranked site.

Scot Case

Senior Consultant

A sustainability strategy consultant since 1993, Scot has served as non-profit leader, as a partner in an environmental marketing firm that he grew and sold, and as an executive in a multi-billion-dollar, international company. He has published dozens of articles and case studies, was co-author of the original “Sins of Greenwashing” study, testified before Congress, and been quoted on NPR, Good Morning America, CNN, The New York Times, Business Week, and the Wall Street Journal. Scot was also highlighted in an Emmy award-winning documentary on sustainable purchasing.

Casey Ward

VP Account Services

Casey manages our relationships, growth and development with a specific group of clients that includes Environmental Defense Fund, Cotton LEADS and CertainTeed Insulation. She provides leadership and support for the account team members who manage the day-to-day processes for these clients. She contributes to strategic direction for each client and guides our creative efforts to ensure everything we do builds toward meeting – or exceeding – the client’s goals. Her ability to simultaneously see the big picture and pay close attention to the details helps her champion her clients’ needs and identify new growth opportunities for them.