Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Gala Salutes Green Innovation and Inspires Consumer Education

Collage by Wo-Built: "Keep this Consumer Clean"
Image Credits: MS Office ClipArt: "Clean planet sign in grass field" 

+ "Bald man with a barcode on his forehead".

Partners in Project Green is a growing community of businesses working together to green their bottom line by creating an internationally-recognized 'eco-business zone' around Toronto Pearson.”

Keynote Speaker Raises the Importance of Greening Consumers "in the Home"

Last Thursday, Wo-Built attended the annual gala awards ceremony of Partners in Project Green (PPG). This networking organization helps businesses reduce energy and resource costs, uncover new business opportunities, and address everyday operational challenges in a green and cost-effective manner.

On that note, keynote speaker John Coyne, V.P. of Legal and External Affairs at Unilever Canada, made some fascinating observations about the lifecycle of Unilever consumer products.

As a world leader in sustainable business, Unilever tracks the resource intensity of its products from sourcing of raw materials straight through to manufacturing, shipping, sale, consumption, and post-consumer waste disposal. The results were not surprising.

On average, over 60% of resource intensity (energy, water, etc. used) takes place in the hands of consumers. This means no matter how sustainable Unilever makes its operations, the majority of consumption because of their products is beyond their control. Or is it?

Mr. Coyne outlined a number of strategies for educating consumers to use their products in more sustainable ways (such as taking shorter showers), most of them limited to their product in some way (i.e. packaging).

Wo-Built suggests another, more all-encompassing approach. To green the consumption of packaged household goods in the home, why not start by greening the house? To change consumer behaviour, one must change their environment. The reason is simple: we are all products of our environment. Sending them important educational information on package labels is also important, but imagine how much more potent such info will be if read within a living ecosystem!

Below is a small ecosystem installed in a High School. Similar units can dramatically improve the environment in homes, condos, small offices, and more. Impact of larger installations is even greater: visually, aesthetically and viscerally. You can feel the difference an indoor ecosystem makes.

Peapod Life Image: Small ecosystem installed in a High School.

We are all about educating consumers: in their home, at work, play, school, shopping, et al. Our approach is "show, don’t tell." The power of natural systems to inspire imaginations just by being there is extraordinary. Interacting with nature produces practical experience (real knowledge aka wisdom). Watching kids’ & teens’ responding to even the simplest ecosystems is magic. Being in the presence of one as an adult makes you feel like a kid again: youthful, rejuvenated … truly alive.

Wo-Built wishes to thank Unilever for its foresight and leadership in recognizing the importance of having a positive influence on consumer behavior with regards to sustainability.

We also wish to congratulate all the individuals and organizations who received awards from the PPG for leadership and excellence in the areas of sustainability, particularly those recognized for empowering people to become more environmentally responsible.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

links: New Sustainable Business Leaders Emerge from the Pearson Eco-Business Zone
Partners in Project Green announced the recipients of the 2012 Partners in Project Green Sustainability Awards and winner of the People Power Challenge at Thursday’s fall networking event. Toronto and Region Conservation for The Living City: New Sustainable Business Leaders Emerge from the Pearson Eco-Business Zone
Media Release, Oct 16, 2012

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