Archive for the ‘B2B’ category

The Selling and Embedding of a Sustainable Culture

March 11th, 2014

How do we inspire and change our society? How do we blend the silos of education, civic, non-profit, and business? Higher Education is going through eco-revolution pains with the cost and the relevance to today’s world being questioned. On top of it, open-source and free education such as Kahn Academy are creating alternate ways to learn. Then there’s that sustainability thing…

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 1.44.14 PMIf you want to see who is doing it right, go to Chico, CA which is where you’ll find CSU Chico. Chico State mainstreams sustainability thinking into over 200 classes and once a year hosts the largest, student run sustainability conference in the US. Just in case students forget why they chose Chico State, banners citing the campus values of sustainability, diversity, engagement… line the walkways. Cool. It was nice to see values that promote community instead of a leader-take-all notion.

What’s really impressive is that Chico State is starting to measure the impact of their sustainability training – post graduation – are the values and skills learned during class sticking? Kudos to them for taking this step.

Last week’s 9th “This Way to Sustainability” conference had  over 1500 attending with nearly 100 speakers. But the TWTS homepage is more than a once a year thing, you’ll also find all the sustainable actions which the campus tracks.  Check out what is being done in conjunction with the City of Chico.

Former scrap, now door latch at Chico State

Former scrap, now door latch at Chico State

And it’s not just the eco side of things you’ll notice. Chico and Chico State embrace the arts providing travelers with an unexpected aesthetic experience that extends from campus onto the store shelves.


Chico's hardware store, displays a rainbow of mixers.

Chico’s hardware store, displays a rainbow of mixers.


Mosaic benches celebrating  Chico's more colorful past and people surround the downtown.

Mosaic benches celebrating Chico’s more colorful past and people surround the downtown.

Solar Panels on Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. parking lot

Solar Panels on Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. parking lot








Once in Chico, a trip to the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is required even if it wasn’t sponsoring the conference. Its owner, Ken Grossman, grew up in the area and works to intersect his business with other local companies. The beef on their menu, for example, comes from Niman Ranch which also supplied their grass fed meat for the conference lunch and that’s just the beginning… SNB’s Sustainability Coordinator, Cheri Chastain has been part of many improvements:

  • Solar Panels over the parking lot
  • Permeable pavement to let the rain soak in
  • The installation of HotRot and in-vessel composter that turns 400-600 pounds of food waste into compost.
  • SNB Placed #32 out of 3000 companies to have employees bike to work for five months.
  • SNB was the only company ever to receive the Platinum Zero Waste Certification from the US Zero Waste Business Council (Whole Foods has a bronze)
  • This year it’s working for a 6% water reduction across the company
  • Cisterns collect rain water for landscape and toilets.
  • Re-establishing a forest and using local timber for a new facility near Mills River, SC
  • and much more…*

It’s incredible to hear all the innovations that Chico State and others are doing to co-create a culture of sustainability, and it doesn’t stop there – just south of town Butte College is grid positive with 10,000 solar panels producing more energy than they can use.

For the students and the townies, being sustainable isn’t weird, it’s just another Monday.

Cheers to you all for showing us the way to sustainability.


*Fun Facts taken from Upgraded Living

2013 Solar Decathlon – 10 Cool Factors

October 7th, 2013


The national competition for the best solar home design under $250,000 is happening this week in Irvine, CA taking advantage of its non-stop sun. I’ve been there twice and will go back again before it closes down next Sunday. There is too much to see in one day.

The solar homes designs have advanced way past the “what if…” demo stage and into very livable and stable structures. Go to the video page to tour each abode if you can’t attend in person.

While the opening day(s) were filled with heat and grit due to the Santa Ana winds, the extreme conditions only proved how solid these structures are – not one solar panel ripped off during some gusts that were clocked at 90 mph in some places and 40-60 mph was the norm.

On the second day the wind drifted back to a refreshing 10-15 mph breeze, but the heat index was still crested 95 degrees with 10% humidity.  You would think under those conditions that packing a bunch of touring bodies inside a box wouldn’t be pleasant, but the opposite was true — each home had such excellent air flow that you couldn’t wait to get inside.

Below are the top 10 takeaways as determined during a post tour dinner.  (More pictures can be found on the site.)

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 10.47.44 AM1. Solar is very affordable TODAY and has many creative options to shade the home or become the roofing for outside living space. Solar shingles were also widely used opening up more design options. Part of the competition was to see how much energy your home generated and also used. Check here to see how much power is being generated.




Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 10.48.41 AM2. Sun activated shades
 will automatically moderate the home’s heating/cooling — as the sun hits them, they bend and turn to let the sun in or keep it out.





Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 10.49.04 AM3. Exterior walls – acting as trees providing instant shade for the home or outside space, places to grow food, or as a way to soften up the box-like home.  It’s a great way for close-in urbanites to enjoy the outside without being in their neighbor’s space.




IMG_33594. Transitional furniture and spaces – one piece, many functions. I loved the under-the-counter table that is a snack bar when pushed in or seating for 10 when pulled out. Or murphy beds (seen everywhere in the homes) providing more square feet of living inbetween guests or daily life.




Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 11.46.07 AM5. CORE “Start home” Stanford University took on the challenge of how to mass produce the technology that these home use and creating a “core” housing for utilities much like a car manufacturer has one mechanical base with different car designs on top. Custom built structures are built around it. Go here for a demo.




IMG_33606. Interactive art - Stanford went beyond the challenge and created wall art that moved in reaction to the home’s energy use. You could look at the ipad read out on the wall, or learn to understand what the art looks like when the home is in its happy place… that piece of art signifies how far this competition has come from making/saving energy and water to having enough creativity left to come up with this level of thinking.



Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 10.46.52 AM7. Open showers in a Zen-like water room vs. a tub. First, showers (can) use less water than a filled tub, second it opens up the room visually instead of losing the 18-20 square feet that a tub/shower combo eats up, and lastly it’s ADA compliant. Aging in place is increased when a home is ADA compliant by design instead of being retrofitted later. Add the solar tube natural lighting and live plants that benefit from gray water recycling and morning shower mist and you get a room that turns heads.


8. Pre-heated water (no picture) push a button and wait 30 seconds and then turn on the tap instead of wasting 3-4 gallons down the drain while you’re waiting for the warm water to arrive.

9. Less is more - Make the Kitchen/livingroom/study one, big activity room. By making it cross-functional, it will be a space you can “live in” not just visit when the guests come over.

10. High ceilings are a must for additional light, air flow, and to feel less constricted in smaller square footage. Lighting from two different directions adds dynamic of movement throughout the day ever-changing the feel of the space keeping it interesting and inviting.

This competition is truly ECO-lutionary in its thinking and practicality.

I would love to live in one of these homes and make my own energy for my home and car. If we each produced the energy that these homes are able to generate, think of how LITTLE oil we would have to use… Of course that’s exactly why Big Oil companies are fueling the Climate Change denier conversation, what they are selling has nothing to do with denying Climate Change and everything about them losing their profit margins to those who have embraced ECO-lutionary thinking and can grow their own food and fuel.

Kudos to the winning teams that are showcasing their final projects at the Solar Decathlon. Kudos to the US Gov for keeping this event open during the shutdown. Dodo’s to the deniers who can’t think their way off the bar stools they occupy and be part of the innovation that will drive the next economy. When groups of college students can produce this kind of advancements, what’s holding back mainstream business? Where’s their top 10 advancement list?

UPDATE: For more info on the impact of Solar Energy go to Solar Heating and Cooling Could Save $61B, Create 50,250 Jobs By 2050 - See more at:

Make Your Next Infographic Interactive for Higher Readership

July 25th, 2013

Trying to convert old energy processes over to new ones is the ultimate challenge of our time. Just selling the idea of dumping oil from our portfolios often sets off the red and blue states into a heated debate.

Then along comes the best infographic ever…

Check this out by, use the up/down/arrows to separate issues or the right arrow to see how we could “advance.” It’s a fabulous tool for teachers and eco-sellers trying to communicate the complexity of this issue while selling the dream of a better way.

We don’t need no stinkin’ tar sands…

Screen shot 2013-07-25 at 7.49.22 AM


It all starts in California…

April 29th, 2013

Keep your eye on the new laws that will change the way we position products and companies in California. It does give you hope while nothing changes in DC.


Two of CAW’s highest priority bills are in Assembly Natural Resources today at 1:30 p.m.

These two bills would expand recycling of beverage containers, yard debris and food waste. This will significantly reduce the amount of material ending up in landfills, and the resulting GHG emissions. They will help create jobs and boost the economy, as well as helping California reach its recycling goal of 75% by 2020.

•    AB 1001 (Gordon) will expand California’s hugely successful Beverage Container Recycling Law (the Bottle Bill) by increasing the recycling of all beverage containers regardless of material type. It will close loopholes and inconsistencies, while increasing clarity and enforcement of current rules to support California businesses, jobs and recycling.

•    AB 323 (Chesbro) requires businesses that generate a lot of food scraps or yard debris to sign up for recycling of this material. In addition, the bill will finally eliminate state policies that have become perverse incentives for landfilling organic waste that should be returned to the soil.

Also in ANR today are two bills introduced by Assembly Member Susan Eggman that further CAW’s goal of supporting in-state recycling processing and manufacturing infrastructure. AB 1021 will provide sales tax exemptions on equipment purchases for businesses that process or utilize recycled feedstock. AB 1023 will provide incentives for waste reduction, recycling, composting and recycled content manufacturing projects.

CAW supports AB 521 (Hueso and Stone), which is a producer responsibility measure that would address plastic marine pollution. CAW opposes AB 1337 (Allen), which would preempt local ordinances on plastic bags, and prohibit local governments from passing new ordinances related to single-use plastic bags.

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve seen SB 405 (Padilla) plastic bags, SB 529 (Leno) fast food packaging, and SB 254 (Hancock and Correa) pass out of Senate EQ with 5-3, 5-3 and 6-0 votes, respectively.  They are in Senate Appropriations today.

Two Assembly bills AB 513 (Frazier) tires, and AB 1022 (Eggman) CRT glass, both passed out of Assembly Natural Resources with bipartisan support and are on their way to Assembly Appropriations.


Share or Die…

April 29th, 2013

That’s what the email implied for a new book by the same title — Share or Die… so I’m sharing!!!

The book underscores the new “sale” that isn’t a sale of goods as much as a sale of self every time you share. True to its word, you can go here and download a copy for free or buy the book and have the proceeds go to Sharable, a non-profit.

The Share or Die title is somewhat misleading as the content is curated from younger people giving their first hand accounts of what economic survival means to them. “Sharing” is one way to survive.

Sharing is gaining traction as the anti-consumer movement takes hold, but if people are sharing, then they aren’t buying and if they aren’t buying, what will Wall Street do? And – what will the 20-something generation do for a career?  Co-ops may be an answer vs. working for a big corporation.

Sharing changes the entire selling proposition from dollars to reciprocal currency. Reciprocal currency doesn’t just appear in your pocket,  you have to add to your emotional bank day by day with every social transaction. It makes you stop and think, if you lost your job tomorrow what are you willing to share to help you survive? Why aren’t you doing it already?

What $2 Billion in Political Ads Taught Us

November 5th, 2012

Money can buy airtime, but can’t change deeply held opinions.

After $2 billion in advertising what have we learned about selling to those with entrenched ideas? The effective GOP game plan was to cluster bomb the field with fliers and mistruths close to the election time giving the opposing side little time to correct the wrong information. As Mark Twain wrote, “Lies will get half way around the world before the truth can get it’s shoes on.”

Make it stopppppp

The more often you heard a message, the more likely you are to believe it and then buy what they are selling. That is why the GOP kept pouring more and more last minute cash into media with the DEMs matching them until they both made a four-year old cry.

Message overkill won’t work on a business prospect, however, instead it makes them cry out for you to just go away – FAST and FOREVER.

What will work?

How do you get someone who is in love with their ideas, products, and services to try something different?  How do we get the traditionally entrenched to go from NO to MAYBE to YES when it comes to sustainable products and services that they’ve never seen before?

According to a great article in Pacific Standard to move people off the their position first they have to experience their own ignorance. How researchers did that around hot political issues was by asking people to explain the mechanics of an issue — What exactly is single payer insurance or GMOs, or our energy policy? When people had to explain an issue and couldn’t, they moderated their own views and opened the door to new information. Read the full article here.

Ask for an explanation always instead of feelings.

When I was a new sales rep, one of the suggested strategies was to find out how your customer feels and then align yourself with them.  If your opinions agree, that’s good, but it’s still not a sale. If their opinion is not yours and you counter it, you negate their feelings, lose the sale and probably the rights a second sales call. But if you ask for an explanation to soften the sale first…

After subjects tried (and usually failed) to explain a policy they judged as laudable or odious, they not only revised downward their level of true understanding, but also moderated their position on the issue. And those who reported the greatest decreases in understanding also showed the greatest degree of moderation. taken from Pacific Standard

Quiz thyself

Pew Research soften the political camps by putting out an 11 point quiz on really, REALLY basic questions surrounding this election. Go ahead and take the quiz, I’ll wait…..

How did you do? Regardless of how many you got right or wrong, the quiz and its results establishes how truely ignorant we all are even after $2 billion in “education.”  Think about it, if $2 billion in repetitive ads can’t educate us, then how will one-time collateral material get a prospect over the hump?

Would a quiz/survey about the big picture of sustainability work for you? Now is the time to do it. We are all at the beginning of this green learning curve when it’s ok to admit we don’t know what we don’t know. Surely they provide more value calling your prospect over and over and over with the same soundbite.

Give it a shot and may the lines at your voting place be short.

AASHE – Embedding Sustainability in Campuses and Curriculum

October 11th, 2012

Next week will be in LA with about 1200 educators, administrators, students, and concerned businesses.  It brings with it a heavy agenda for how to embed sustainable solutions into the campus, teachers, and students.

I’m attended as both a listener as to what ecolutionary ideas universities and colleges across the nation are advancing plus contribute some ideas of my own for bringing education and business together. Look for daily takeaways here on Ecolutionary Selling and a final summary over on In Women We Trust, the speaker’s bureau comprised of leaders in the green social media field, women’s issues, education, and culture.

Professor Marcela Oliva, LATTC

What brings me, a business person, to AASHE? A couple years ago while consulting for the LACCD Build program, I met Professor Marcela Oliva who teaches architecture to urban LA students at LA Trade Tech.  Some people think outside the box, and then there’s Marcela who stacks the boxes together, stands on top, and reaches for more boxes… Her teaching techniques have had tremendous success training students in two years how to be critical, synergistic thinkers and skilled spatial data visualizers – earning her the Teacher of the Year award at LA Trade Tech.

You can feel the creative energy the moment you walk into Marcela’s studio. Can it be duplicated? What if we can package her template for success to help other schools do the same thing? Her unique system for employing traditional class work with open source education and internship that keeps her students engaged, excited and wanting to learn more. More importantly, the students have almost 100% job placement or transfer to a four year program. Recently, I asked one student what being in her program meant to him. Without hesitation he replied, “I’ve never been turned down for a job.”

That’s why I’m at AASHE. To help connect more dots between business and education. We need to foster programs that create a sustainable world - FAST. You can meet Marcela and myself, Monday at 11 during her Advanced Track presentation: Visualizing and Modeling the Drivers in a Holistic Built Environment: Social Justice through Spatial Tools.  Attendees will learn how to use a simple model to convey balanced ideas, synergistic business models, and open collaboration for the human-built environment.



Prove it!

August 19th, 2010

For the last post in the 16 Things for a Green Sales Edge series, I’m going to aggregate the topics of, Carbon Footprint, Energy Efficiency, Resource Consumption, Greenhouse Gases, and Ozone Depletion under the PROVE IT category–all are interconnected and all will soon be requiring proof by federal, state, and local governments as well as retail giants such as Wal Mart.

Holy smokes, what’s a simple sales rep to do? Everyone knows we aren’t rocket scientists, how can we prove that our product and company is being honest about its environmental impact?

The truth is, we can’t prove anything unless the company invests in a tracking program that will monitor and aggregate all of the above information into a useable report which could be audited just like taxes. The reports are what we sales types will want in our files–when our clients ask the tough eco-questions, we’ll be ready with tangible evidence.

That’s no small task, but fortunately by the time the mandates hit the streets in 2011, there will be plenty of ways to get to the bottom line.  The Los Angeles Community College District comprising of  nine campuses, is using to track the “Prove It” areas as well as water and other resources. The Conservis product is sustainable standard agnostic, as standards change, it can be updated to meet the new requirements and audit issues.

Yes, this will cost companies money up front, but it will also save tons of money on the backend as energy wasters are identified and fixed–they’ll be spending far less on operational costs. It also will help to put truth back into your green advertising. The marketing department will love having facts to back up their messaging.

What did I miss in this series that you would like to see addressed? Please send me your thoughts at

Where is Your Human Rights Statement?

August 15th, 2010

Part 9 of 16 Things for a Green Sales Edge.

Do people really care about human rights, will they actually want to know before they buy a product if families in another country were impacted? The sad truth is, not enough would care, but the few do could cause big problems for your brand and stop a sale in it’s tracks.

No one wants to be guilty by association and now that companies are expected to know what their supply chain is doing, there is no place to hide and no excuse.

A human rights statement is the first step. It needs to be easy to locate on the corporate website so that the sales teams can point to it quickly. It also needs to be good for it’s word or the competition’s sales force will use it against you.

RainTech states the following:

We think that a successful company has a responsibility to increase stakeholder value, not just shareholder value. That means that we look out for our community, employees, purchasers, sellers, vendors, and the world in which we live. By using locally produced materials we lessen our footprint on the earth and contribute to our local economy. We also support numerous charitable organizations including Save the Rain and Charity Water, who work diligently to enable underserved communities to harness the power of the rain, thereby making a difference in their corner of the world.

At the end of the eco-day, co-creating a sustainable world means being kind to the planet and each other first and always before commission checks.

Installation, Use and Maintenance – the Long-Tail of Green Sales

June 2nd, 2010

Part 8 of 16 Things for a Green Sales Edge.

Screen shot 2010-06-02 at 9.14.36 PM

Long tail of green sales costs...

You’ve heard about long-tail sales, it’s when the right side of the sales bell curve extends out indefinately as buyers can buy things forever off the web and retailers don’t need to discontinue products. Think about itunes and how songs that have long run their course are still being purchased. In many cases the cumulative affect of that long-tail surpasses the sales generated inside a typical bell curve sales cycle.

The cost of owning a product has a long-tail as well. With green products, which tend to cost more initially, installation, use and maintenance becomes the long, green-tail of total cost. Seasoned reps know how to step around this one, but for the newbies in the audience, lets break it down.

1. Money. What’s this gizmo going to cost up front.

2. Money. What’s this gizmo going to cost over its lifetime? When it comes to working with a new, green product line:

  • Installation: Who in the company needs to be trained to use the right tools, the right adhesives, or  set up a room with the proper ventilation, etc.
  • Use: What happens when things wear out? Is it like a light bulb with higher up front costs, but a longer life? After that life is over, will you take the product back? If not, how do they dispose of it and at what cost.?
  • Maintenance: Who will come in contact with the product? What’s it’s VOC level (volatile organic chemicals? Do you have to use additional special materials to keep it looking its best? What are the safety risks if workers are over exposed?

Add up the bigger package and pretty soon you can demonstrate where you outshine the other contenders. As a sales leader you should have a checklist or FAQ of the above ready to go and part of your second call proposal.


If you have an LCA conducted on the product, make that available as well as the Material Safety Data Sheet. Companies, consumers and investors are all looking to avoid risk. The more you can prove that your product’s risk is low along with long-term costs the closer you are to closing the sale.