It's a fresh year and after a nice, fairly unplugged vacation, I'm ready to get rolling on the new year of watching the market trends centered around women's work unfold. Let's start by paying homage my favorite "Underwires" -- women who hold the issues up without being seen... They are the connectors and the instigators of fresh ideas, not because they will be making tons of money off of their work, but because it's the right thing to do.
WORLD RELIGION 2009 STYLE:Leading the Underwire list would be Sande Hart, the founder and generous spirit behind S.A.R.A.H. a non-profit dedicated to interfaith activities to foster understanding between religions. Sande and others started this effort shortly after 9/11. Sandy introduced me to Margaret Henke and Sherri Loveland who co-chair OCIce.org (Orange County Interfaith Coalition for the Environment). By using the common ground of 'protecting God's natural gifts" that they hope to build better bridges between groups.
Maybe it's a sign of the times or just my personal awareness, but since I met SARAH and OCIce members, I've seen more and more interfaith groups popping up in a joint practicing of the peace that they preach. These acts of blended action give me great hope.
CARS THE MOVE US:As Motown becomes Notown due to flailing car companies, Jody DeVere of Ask Patty,continues to spread her gospel of automotive education for women and car dealers as well. Jody is a pragmatic shade of green when it comes to cars, by promoting what women want in cars and service, the whole industry is getting a makeover that will come out on the other side of this market, greener and defiantly more female-friendly. If you don't believe me, then go Ask Patty.
BUILDINGS YOU CAN BANK ON: Cars are a small part of the lowering of green house gas emission, buildings create far more problems in the construction, heating, cooling, furnishing and of new offices and homes. Ginny Dyson, a Sr. Designer with AECOM, is an example of the new wave of designers who select products based on their sustainability as much as their color swatch. Her decisions help to push the conversation of what is possible AND stylish at a very high level. One BIG commercial project can do more to change the direction of sustainable products than hundreds of residential homes.
To help designers and architects learn what products are truly sustainably and not just "marketed to sound that way," Marilyn Farmeran Architect in San Luis Obispo put together a system to help assess levels of sustainability in this very confusing market. Her site GreenBuildingPages lists products based on sustainable performance, not ad dollars. The better the product, the higher it is rated. Because social equity was important to her, she include many questions on the topic years before others took notice. Today, social equity is a cornerstone of sustainable actions along with transparency and accountability of manufacturing practices. The USGBC has made Social Equity one of the their top priorities in 2009.
RECYCLE BEFORE YOU REPLACE: About the same time I met Marilyn, I met Rose Tourje, a Procurement contractor for LACCD Builds Green and also the founder of ANewFound.org. A New is a the non-profit the collects and repositions used office furniture into other non-profits and schools, thereby keeping them out of the landfill and extending their useful life. The tax benefits of recycling vs. land filling pays for the repurposing of products. That's inventive thinking where everyone wins - companies pay less, the earth isn't impacted and the non-profits get free furniture.
GOT ETHICS? Under green transparency and accountability lies "ethics" for business in general. It's something I never thought about before until I met Elana Cantor. To me, ethics is something you either had or didn't have and it couldn't be trained. Her blog Funny Business, travels along the blurred lines of of marketing where black and white are less defined when jobs are at stake. After this little Wall Street meltdown, we can expect to see (hopefully) an ethics renaissance.
BIG MOTHER IS WATCHING: If you can't afford ethics training, just read up on the blogs that green women write and you'll see what you can get away with or not in this new VERY Social Media environment. For a quick look of on going topics go to Twitter.com/greenmoms. I've learned so much from these women who are (yes, mothers), but also lawyers, environmental engineers, marketers, LEED AP, Authors, activists and in short - a group who knows how to use their very articulate voices. Their carnivals are a monthly feature on In Women We Trust.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Before blogs, history was "written by the winners," today history (and the future) is being written by the writers.I'll be watching for more Underwires to report on in 2009. If you have someone you would like highlighted, please let me know.
If you still are feeling the bad news of 2008 and need an upper to jumpstart 2009, head over to GoodTube.org, founded by yet another woman, Kimberly Klintworth.