Sustainability Part 3: Book Review

Posted on May 14, 2010 by Lana Lile

I just got done reading Joel Makower’s book, Strategies for the Green Economy. I have to admit, I was very impressed with how many different perspectives Makower introduces to his readers. For instance, I was challenged to think not just about the negatives of big box stores, but also about their positives. Looking at the entire picture was enlightening. It turns out corporations that I had no idea had a green heart are making strides toward sustainability, zero waste production and eradicating toxic chemicals.

Much of the book focused on messaging from a business perspective. How and when should companies tell their green story? How good is good enough when it comes to a green initiative? I found it thought provoking to consider Makower’s points about companies who come out and say, “Hey, we’ve done this green thing!” and then getting called out by activists for every other thing that they haven’t done. A favorite quote from the book reads, “Consumers, even activists, can accept imperfection in incremental solutions when they know that the company understands the issue at hand, is sufficiently concerned, and is taking adequate steps to change things, including influencing others—suppliers, competitors, and legislators—to join them in becoming part of the solution.” I also found it interesting to learn more about how consumers view “green” products and the accompanying research which suggests a product’s effectiveness must be proved, not just proclaimed.

It’s more than just messaging and box stores though, Strategies for the Green Economy asks important questions that relate to everyday life such as, “What are the opportunities in the green economy for those at the lower end of the economic ladder? Where are the jobs, the access to renewable energy, the affordable organic produce, the availability of wellness programs?” In other words, how does the greening of business positively affect all people?

More than anything I was encouraged by the research, facts and outlook of a book that focused on the greening of the business world, and how it can continue its climb. Makower, in fact, believes that green is not going anywhere, and when it comes to sustainability suggests that this goal will be surpassed as real market leaders look toward being restorative. Restoring the earth, providing green jobs to the lower end of the economic ladder, and encouraging corporations large and small to “green-up” seems to me like a pretty decent way to begin to impact hunger—as companies take care of resources, the environment and people on a large scale.

There are so many thought provoking ideas, notions and facts between the covers of Strategies for the Green Economy that a blog cannot truly do it justice. Check it out for yourself at your local library or grab an e-book!

~Lana

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