Posts Tagged u s census bureau
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the world population is expanding at a mind-boggling rate. The world reached 1 billion people in 1800; 2 billion by 1922; and over 6 billion by 2000. It is estimated that the population will swell to over 9 billion by 2050. That means that if the world’s natural resources were evenly distributed, people in 2050 will only have 25% of the resources per capita that people had in 1950.
Why Go Green
The word green comes from the Old English word grene, or, in its older form, groeni. This adjective is closely related to the Old English verb growan (“to grow”) and goes back into Western Germanic and Scandinavian languages.
Culturally, green has broad meanings. In some cultures, green symbolizes hope and growth. The most common associations are found in its ties to nature. Green is also associated with regeneration, fertility and rebirth for its connections to nature. Recent political groups have taken on the color as symbol of environmental protection and social justice, and consider themselves part of the Green Movement, some naming themselves Green Parties. This has led to similar campaigns in advertising, as companies have sold green, or environmentally-friendly, products.
In times past, GREEN was a movement of environmental-sensitive and eco-friendly products and services. Green organizations like ThreeHugger, ThinkGreen, WorldWatch, PlanetGreen, GreenOrg, and GreenSpace commission was to create a culture of environmental responsibility through recycling, energy-saving, water and gas consumption reduction initiatives to name a few.
Presently, the GO GREEN scope has broadened. GREEN is developing low-frequency emission processing circuits, water and energy consumption to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Sustainable, Renewable, and Recyclable Technologies. In fact, GREEN has spawned a new generation of Green Jobs, Green Workers, Green Education, and Green Economy. In order for the American people to maintain ourselves players in the 21st century global economy, our Nation must innovate, says the Obama Administration. To this end, GREEN initiatives will create careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics industries and energy efficiency and renewable energy industries such as Wind Turbine, Solar Photovoltaic, Environmental Technology, Green Building, Sustainable Construction, Sustainability and Ecological Literacy, HVAC Upgrades, Indoor Air Quality, Lighting Retrofits, Building Automation Upgrades, and Energy Management Applications.
In a speech to the National Academy of Sciences, President Obama outlined a bold commitment to basic and applied research, innovation and education. President Obama outlined RE-ENERGYSE.
RE-ENERGYSE (REgaining our ENERGY Science and Engineering Edge), will be jointly funded by the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.
RE-ENERGYSE (REgaining our ENERGY Science and Engineering Edge), would fund new undergraduate and graduate energy curriculum and research opportunities to prepare up to 8,500 highly educated young scientists and engineers to enter clean energy fields by 2015 alone. Technical training and K12 funding would support hundreds of programs nationwide to train thousands more technically skilled clean energy workers. ENERGYSE will support:
An education and outreach campaign that uses movies, radio, cyber-learning, television, classroom curriculum, social networks, and local science museums to capture the imagination of young people, and teach them about the role that science and technology can play in addressing our energy challenge Energy research opportunities for undergraduates Educational opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities who seek careers in the clean energy sector Partnerships between industry and two-year and four-year colleges to strengthen education for technicians in the clean energy sector, focusing on curriculum development, teacher training, and career pathways from high schools to community colleges Interdisciplinary energy graduate programs at the master’s and Ph.D. level that integrate science, engineering, entrepreneurship, and public policy Individual fellowships to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers involved in the frontiers of clean energy research
In close, Green is not merely about environmental-sensitive and eco-friendly products and services.
GREEN, however, is a New Era and a New Generation of fiscal prudence, integrity, and accountability, sustainable products and technologies, cost-saving and reduction, organizational productivity and efficiency, sustainable buildings, construction, and schools, human consumption and conservatism, and recyclable technologies.
In short, GREEN is about creating a sustainable America that can continue to thrive, flourish, and compete in the 21st century global economy.Tags: consumption reduction, eco friendly products, gas consumption, reduction initiatives, u s census bureau
Innovation sparks industry transformation. The two main kinds of innovation that can alter consumption behavior are technology and type of ownership. Disruptive technologies — automobiles, digital signals and the like — lead to shifts in what consumers buy. New methods of ownership — leasing in markets where buying is the de facto means of ownership — lead to shifts in how consumers buy. And market shares migrate in hordes to companies that can effectively combine both tactics.
Witness the movie rental market. Companies such as Blockbuster and West Coast Video “leased” physical video tapes to consumers to watch for a few days. Today companies like Netflix that distribute copies of movies online are putting Blockbuster and the like out of business. Netflix succeeded by combining a disruptive technology (digital signals) with a new ownership model (rent-as-much-as-you-like monthly subscriptions).
Sustainability is sparking creative thinking in the methods of ownership category of innovation. Such action could lower consumption’s environmental impact with limited financial investment. Recently Best Buy introduced a Buy Back option whereby consumers can buy the right to return, at a future date, a product at 10-50 percent of the product’s value. This model could reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and the amount of new, so-called virgin, materials needed to meet our growing consumption hunger. Best Buy’s initiative shows how sustainability, when thought about holistically, can lead to innovation and, potentially, enhanced profitability.
What other markets are ripe for this shift to a pseudo leasing arrangement? Let’s focus on U.S. consumption of physical goods (it’s hard to return a “used” service). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, consumers spent billion on drugs and health aids (the highest category of individual consumer expenditures outside automobiles), billion on computer hardware and software, and billion on furniture. Clearly these markets are big enough to justify exploration of a leased instead of owned consumption model.
Drugs and health aids won’t be leased anytime soon. Computers are often leased in the business-to-business market, but the method has failed at least once (remember PeoplePC?) in the individual consumer market. Furniture can and is leased.
Could pseudo leasing arrangements succeed in other individual consumer markets, such as the clothing, sporting goods or books markets? Possibly, but it’s important to remember that the leasing model’s success is based on the retail company’s ability to earn a profit on the arrangement.
Profit from lease-like arrangements can be earned in at least three ways. The first is increasing the number of times an item can be sold at an incremental profit. College textbooks, which tend to be quite expensive, are beginning to be leased. A student can lease a textbook at a lower price than the outright purchase price. Upon return, the textbook leasing company can lease the book again, and so on throughout the book’s useful life. Chegg.com is one example of such a company.
The second way is by leasing an item to a consumer at a price that is greater than the reduction in the value of the product at the end of the lease arrangement. This model has worked for years in the auto industry. But when was the last time you leased, say, an item of clothing? Probably for a wedding or once-in-a-lifetime event. After all in the clothing market, the leasing model works for high-end items, such as tuxedos and wedding dresses. But such an arrangement doesn’t work for a casual pair of jeans, let alone a t-shirt or socks.
Such prima facie evidence suggests that an item has to be priced high enough for businesses to make money on leasing instead of outright selling. A item is unlikely to be leasable at a price that returns a meaningful profit. Then is society doomed to a future of overpopulated landfills as a means to ensure companies are profitable? Perhaps not, as the Best Buy example suggests.
Best Buy can resell or recycle (and potentially resell the materials to manufacturers) the item to garner such an additional revenue stream. The key is to find an additional way for the retailer to be paid. This is where selling used materials back to manufacturers, the third approach to profitability in the leasing model, links sustainability with economics. This approach’s success is based on the used material being more affordable to source and use than virgin materials.
If materials’ prices continue to rise, the used material as sourced material approach will become more economically attractive to companies and potentially consumers alike. The companies that explore and perfect this model in markets where buy is the only option might have an opportunity to grow and capture market share. At worst the global pursuit of sustainability will be the main beneficiary.
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