BioTrends 2011: Is Green the New Black for Biz?

October 15 2010

It would seem so, from all the press coverage of familiar business names.

Biodegradable packaging for edibles is the holy grail for companies selling lots and lots of food. Think back, how long has it been since McDonald's substituted cardboard for their polystyrene foam clamshell sandwich boxes? For everything you'd want to know and more about this part of McDonald's history, visit Industrial Ecology Compendium.

So being eco-smart isn't exactly a piece of cake (or bag of Sun Chips, as Frito-Lay soon found out). About a year and a half after a "noisy" marketing blitz announcing the environmentally responsible packaging, "The World's First 100% Compostable Chip Package" is no more. See The Huffington Post's article.

Did you miss out on the bag's fortissimo crinkling? No worries. Read, watch and listen to this.

Another packaged goods company seems to be scoring a better game with their Green Works brand, raising funds for U.S. schools in exchange for "green footprints." Healthier than the Green Stamps I recall collecting for purchases 'way back when. Brandweek describes the initiative that includes a Facebook application.

Then there's Google. Where Google goes, so does the country?

"Does Google Have an R&D 'Disease'?"

Clever headline, but maybe mistaken. Without the R&D "Disease" we might still be hauling stones in sliding carts and making wheel prototypes would be left to the crazies. Just so you know where I'm coming from: as a former research food chemist (long, long ago former), I was privileged to propose and work on numerous projects that were only tangentially related to food, similar to the "skunk works" R&D popularized later.

Coming back to Google, one of their latest investments is offshore energy wind farms -- yet to be built. Now THAT's taking a long-term view of green. But totally logical, given Google's colossal data storage (and thus cooling) requirements.

Then there are industrial green applications, such as the all-natural, biodegradable engineering polymer that you might find one day under the hood of your car. http://www.sae.org/mags/AEI/8879

These examples are just a tip of the iceberg, as you'll discover if you "Google," "Ask," "Bing" or search elsewhere on "green" and "environment." So yes, being eco-smart is smart. Sometimes it just takes a bunch of trial and error.

Category:
BioTrends 2011
Filed under
: Ecology; Green