If GOP Could Go “Green,” Couldn’t Your Business?

Learned on Despite the fact that the youth seems to be less engaged on climate, it is still essential for them to be a focus of businesses’ efforts to connect with new audiences. In addition to that, Andrea Learned discusses the role Senator Lindsay Graham might play, in addition to businesses, in engaging key constituents like the youth and Hispanics on sustainability issues, brands and products.

Posted March 1, 2010

By Andrea Learned, Learned On

How to engage the skeptics, whether on the topic of marketing to
women or on the topic of sustainability, is a driving passion for me. 
What are the words, framing, and concepts that will be “accessible” to
most people, and open up the conversation – so it doesn’t have to be
men versus women or conventional business thinkers versus sustainable
business thinkers?  That was the seed of my recent HuffingtonPost “diatribe” and my pondering continued, as I mulled Thomas L. Friedman’s Sunday column in the New York Times.

He writes how Senator Lindsey Graham, the long-time, extremely
conservative congressman, may well be key in making “green” a universal constituent
(i.e. human) issue rather than a blue state/red state battleground on
the Hill.  Wow! What Graham is aware of, and wants to get across to his
colleagues, is the following:

“You have to get the people in the present to buy into the future.”


“We’ve got to get started, because once we do, every C.E.O. will
adopt a carbon strategy, no matter what the law actually requires.”

What Graham has come to realize is what any business should have
long known, given the money they’ve surely invested in consumer
research.  The two segments politicians and businesses really need to
reach are Hispanics and young people.  With regard to young people
especially, the truth is that they grew up expecting “green” in their
households, in their schools and from the brands they buy.  All of
those current expectations will only translate into their future, adult
decision-making processes about: where to work, what house to buy and
which congressperson to vote for (and so much more).

Sustainable business practices appeal to and resonate with younger
generations, and a lot of other people today.  The present is greatly
connected to the future.  Whether you are that “almost adult” person
now, or  have children, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren who’ll  live
“in the future,” that fact can’t be denied.

So, do we want the products we sell or companies we work for to seem
as irrelevant to future generations as “one more short, white
Republican over 50″ (Graham’s self-description)?  I think not. 
Instead, we should all be looking for ways to bridge old to young,
traditional thinking to new thinking, energy wasteful to energy
effective and unsustainable to sustainable.

Whether you are GOP or CEO, disregard the sustainable expectations of the younger generation at your peril.

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