Sustainability Guru Eric Lowitt Says “Green is a Fad Diet”

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Leaders Need to Recognize 'Green' and 'Sustainability' Are Not Interchangeable Terms

Sustainability can happen, but we need to recognize the difference between quick-fixes and lasting, habitual changes that promote sustainability over the vagaries of green.

In a blog entry yesterday, sustainability expert and author Eric Lowitt addressed corporate leaders and elected officials preparing their flood of greenwashing press releases for Earth Day:

“For so many companies, Earth Day has become an opportunity for press releases, cause marketing efforts, and special-edition, minimally reduced product packages. And that is all fine,” Lowitt wrote. “But fine doesn’t do it if we’re truly invested in preserving our planet while simultaneously kick-starting economic growth and inclusive prosperity.”

Lowitt also implored leaders to recognize that “the terms ‘green’ and ‘sustainability’ are not interchangeable,” and asserted that, “sustainability can happen, but we need to recognize the difference between quick-fixes and lasting, habitual changes that promote sustainability over the vagaries of green.”

Ultimately, Lowitt hopes that once executives “see that sustainability is not only broader than green, but also the basis for competitive advantage, they will also begin to realize increased profit and economic development opportunities. This realization usually comes with another: ‘We can’t overcome our environmental and social challenges alone.’”

Lowitt’s new book, The Collaboration Economy: How to Meet Business, Social, and Environmental Needs and Gain Competitive Advantage, is available now online, and in stores May 13, 2013. In the book, Lowitt offers a plan on how the private, public, and civil sectors can successfully collaborate to steward resources; fortify global water, food, and energy systems; and spark a new era of prosperity at the same time. As proof points for the model, Lowitt offers several case studies, including Unilever, GE, Coca-Cola, Nestle Waters North America, Grieg Green, and the European Parliament.

Powerful endorsements of Eric Lowitt’s The Collaboration Economy include:

  •     Deepak Chopra, Author, Super Brain

“Anyone who thinks that we have run out of options to recover our economy, save our environment, or bring about social justice should read this book. “

  •     Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever PLC

“Any business model that aims to deliver positive economic and environmental and social outcomes […] will depend heavily on cooperation, collaboration and partnerships.”

  •     Muhtar Kent, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Coca-Cola Company

“Magical things happen when you bring together the Golden Triangle of business, government, and civil society partnerships that are deeply focused, uncompromisingly actionable and highly accountable.”

Links
Blog:

  •     Eric Lowitt: Why I Dislike Earth Day

http://www.ericlowitt.com/blog/why-i-dislike-earth-day/

Books:

  •     The Collaboration Economy

http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-111853834X.html

  •     The Future of Value

http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118074521.html

About Eric Lowitt
Eric Lowitt is the Managing Director of Nexus Global Advisors and a globally recognized expert in the fields of competitive strategy, collaboration, and sustainability. A consultant to CEOs and a sought-after speaker, Lowitt is the author of The Future of Value, a critically acclaimed book that connects sustainability with competitive strategy and financial performance. His new book, The Collaboration Economy, will be in bookstores in May 2013. Named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior two years in a row, Lowitt is regularly featured in national and international news, and business and industry publications. He has worked for nearly two decades with Accenture, Fidelity Investments, and Deloitte Consulting, is fluent in Japanese, and earned his M.B.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Melissa Currier
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