For most, they hear the word “green” and think about how much energy they can save by changing out a few light bulbs, or how much water they can conserve by turning off the faucet when they brush. But for today’s women business community, it’s about so much more.
The green economy is an opportunity to come up with innovative solutions to lighten our environmental footprint and leave our communities—and, in fact, the world—in a better state for the next generation; it’s part of our legacy we are creating. It’s also a tremendous opportunity to:
- Tap into resources like federal grant money and tax breaks for organizations with sustainable products and services
- Increase employee and public perception and stockholder value
- Expand our businesses into new and emerging markets for greater reach and profitability
According to the Earth Day Network, women are key to leading the way to a sustainable green economy because we constitute more than half of the world’s population and make 85 percent of all consumer choices. We are also rising to key positions of power and leading efforts in the climate and renewable energy discussion: From U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who created a new office for women at the State Department, to Dr. Amina Benkhadra, Morocco’s Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment, to Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Earth Day Network launched a Women and the Green Economy (WAGE) Campaign designed to promote sustainability and solutions to climate change, and to accelerate and provide the new thinking and creative power for a global, post-carbon economy. The Earth Day Network engaged women in business, government and non-governmental organizations to be its leaders for the WAGE Campaign. Hillary Clinton is among them. The goal is to create a policy agenda and relevant national initiatives that will promote the green economy, secure educational and job training opportunities for women and channel green investment to benefit women. The Campaign was launched at the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Cancun, Mexico this past December. For more information, please visit: http://www.earthday.org/campaign/women-and-green-economy-wage
As we approach Earth Day on April 22nd, I encourage you to think about what green means to your business. What opportunities exist internally to lighten your footprint? What opportunities exist externally to grow through sustainable products and services? How can we join together to create an even greater impact in this green economy? As always, I welcome your thoughts, ideas and success stories.
—Helen Han, NAWBO® President and CEO