Lehigh Valley Etsy Shops is a wonderful website to sell and purchase handmade and vintage goods, but beyond that, it also gives people a great outlet to find local craftspeople and sellers of vintage items. In the Lehigh Valley area alone, which includes the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, as well as other towns, there are dozens of Etsy sellers. As an Etsy seller myself (my shop is ideology), I think it’s important to support other Lehigh Valley Etsy shops. Here you can find a variety of handmade and vintage products made by creative, entrepreneurial people:

Lovebirds Paperee

This is a lovely Lehigh Valley Etsy shop that consists of an artist named Erin who turns simple paper items, such as invitations, envelopes, recipe cards, and even magnets, too, into lovely little works of art. She also offers affordable, custom items at her customers’ requests, as well.


UnderWired is an awesome Lehigh Valley Etsy shop that sells vintage goods from their base in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. They sell clothing, such as dresses, shirts, coats, and sweaters, and jewelry and other accessories as well as collectibles. UnderWired is a great, local Etsy shop for lovers of vintage style.


Oddity86 is one of the Lehigh Valley’s most unique Etsy shops. Run by Aida, this shop features unique, handmade skirts, tops, and bags. Aida also has another Etsy shop that features her knitted items, NuckinFutsKnitter.


HaydenBrook is made up of a wife and husband team out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Laurie Hayden and Brook Bergey started Hayden Brook Studios in 1994, and while their Esty shop just launched in October of 2010, they already have a lot of success to show for it. Their shop is filled with lovely pieces of jewelry – from rings, bracelets, pendants, and earrings to hair jewels, watches, men’s jewelry, and even supplies. A lot of their jewelry is created with gorgeous, handcrafted dichroic glass, which has stunning optical properties.


At LindseysPhotography, you’ll find a variety of gorgeous photographic pieces of art. Some of the artists featured subjects include animals, seasonal changes, fruits, flowers, cities, skylines, sculptures, natural landscapes, and urban ones.


In the shop for KellysBath there are numerous bath and body products available for nearly any need, and they all can be found in wonderful scents, from basics like lavender and strawberry to more unique scents such as Berry Bewitching Brew and Snow Angels. The shop also has a number of vegan-friendly items, including massage bars and solid perfumes, which still can be found in a number of delectable scents.

To find even more Lehigh Valley Etsy sellers, check out the Lehigh Valley Love team. I also create handmade items, like jewelry, and have my own shop on Etsy, ideology. Enjoy supporting local sellers and getting quality affordable items, too!

You can see my Etsy shop here, and you can read more of my articles on Lehigh Valley locales here.

Enjoyment of Your Outdoor Activities

A Gazebo Will Enhance the Enjoyment of Your Outdoor Activities

Building a gazebo is not as difficult as one might think – – especially if you purchase a kit or a partially constructed gazebo. However, even if you purchase a gazebo kit, there are certain things you must take into consideration before you even begin to take the pieces out of their boxes. Gazebos are a wonderful home improvement that will add value to your home and enhance your enjoyment of your backyard or lakefront property. With a little planning, and the right tips, you can construct a gazebo in a weekend or two.

Before beginning any construction project, including building a gazebo, you should check with your local government office for any required building permits. The fines for building without a permit could be quite steep and are easily avoided with a telephone call to your local Building and Codes Enforcement Office.

Once you have determined whether you need a building permit, the next step is to choose the site for your gazebo. Gazebos are often used as a focal point for a garden or a gathering spot beside a lake or in a backyard. How you are planning to use your gazebo will help you determine the placement. Take into consider existing structures and the size of your gazebo when planning the location. It is a good idea to use some stakes and string to physically stake out your gazebo to see how the location and size of the gazebo will work. The size of your gazebo is another factor in the location – – a good rule of thumb is an eight-foot gazebo will comfortably hold two people, two chairs and a small table. With every two-foot addition to the size of the gazebo, you can add two people to the count.

Once you have established the size and location of your gazebo, you must determine what building materials to use in the construction. Wood is the most popular building material; however, there are gazebo kits available in vinyl. Vinyl will last a very long time and does not need to be repainted or weatherproofed. I prefer wood for gazebos because of the aesthetic value.

There are several excellent choices of wood for gazebos:

  1. Cedar is the best wood for gazebos because it is lightweight, naturally repels insects and resists warping, splitting and cupping. In addition, cedar is beautiful and weathers extremely well.
  2. Redwood is another good choice for material because it resists decay and repels insects. However, redwood is more expensive than cedar and can significantly increase the cost of your gazebo.
  3. Pine is an inexpensive but good choice for gazebos. It is easy to work with; however, you will need to treat the wood and do more maintenance because pine tends to not weather as well as cedar or redwood.

Browse the selection of gazebo kits and plans available from The Gazebo Factory and Summerwood Designs.

Washington's Shoreline Management Act

Washington’s Shoreline Management Act

Under the Washington State Shoreline Management Act enacted in 1971, all building or development in marine waters, streams, rivers or lakes or within the immediate vicinity of these waters is subject to the Act’s regulations and permitting requirements. The Shoreline Management Act was designed as a partnership between state and local government. The Act gave local government the authority to plan, permit and enforce the Act. When building an addition to a home that is located close to the shoreline, following and adhering to the Shoreline Management Act’s regulations and restrictions can be a lengthy and costly process.

Single Family Resident Exemption

Single family residence construction can be exempt from the Act’s regulations. This construction, however, “must be by an owner, lessee or contract purchaser for their own use.”

Additions, or garages, that are attached to a single-family residence can also be exempt. However, other permit requirements and environmental regulations might still apply.

Burden of Proof

According to the Shoreline Management Act, the burden of proof lies with the applicant as to whether or not a project is exempt from the permitting process.

The Role of Local Government

The Act holds local governments responsible for implementing and administering the provisions of the Act. Building permits are issued by local government agencies. Before planning an addition to your home it is advisable to consult with your local planning or building department. Local governments also have the authority to grant deviations from the Act, such as variances or conditional use permits.

Non-Exempt Permitting Process

For projects that are not exempt from the Shoreline Management Act’s provisions, building permits are issued by local government, with the approval, however, of the Washington State Department of Ecology. The permitting process includes:

(1) Pre-application conference between staff and applicant.

(2) Application, including site plan, map and corresponding information on shoreline environment.

(3) Public notice

(4) Department of Ecology review

(5) Revisions and appeals.


The primary purpose of the Shoreline Management Act is to protect the environment and avoid “piecemeal development of the state’s shorelines.” While provisions have been made to accommodate single-family homes and additions, it is advisable to confer with your local building department before planning construction near a shoreline in Washington State.


Small Towns: Supporting the businesses that make up our homes

I live in a small town, and I’m often frustrated by the lack of everything there is to find in our small town. No big bookstores, no good coffee houses, no good grocery stores. Our little place on the map survives (but barely) through an odd combination of old and mostly struggling industry and hopeful tourism. Industry brings in big-moneyed citizens at the tops of our economic chain while feeding a number of families and threatening them with layoffs each month. Tourism brings in seasonal influxes of summer-folk who rave about how rural we are, then dash back to Detroit or thereabouts to live their real lives.

It’s a hard situation for me, as a business-owner, to want to stick around. Not being a native to this particular small town, I have a difficult time finding any reason to stay here. And, economically speaking, a larger town would very likely have more opportunities for me as an independent consultant.

I’ve struggled with this for nearly three years, wondering what on earth this little town has for me. And then, as so often happens for me when I’m reading a good publication, it all coalesced in a single moment.

In an article that showed up in my last Utne Reader, singer-songwriter/business-owner, Ani DiFranco is quoted as saying,

“And Buffalo needs us. We considered going to New York years ago…but New York doesn’t need another 15 people hangin’ around. In Buffalo, we can make a difference in the community. To set up shop in Buffalo, in what is basically almost a ghost town downtown–and to be a thriving office full of people trying to re-create the music industry is a good feeling.”

And I couldn’t help thinking, “Yeah.” That’s it, and that’s what connects me here. As a business-owner, especially one in a small community, I can truly make a difference. And I think this is important for all of us as women and as business-owners. There are special issues that we can work for that are important for the survival of any community. We can work to support other local businesses–each other, in effect–in the face of huge corporate layoffs, a dwindling economy, and the in-coming corporate stores. Small-town America is in danger of disappearing, and with it go our livlihoods and our control over our own lives.

As the saying goes, “Think globally, act locally.” How better to act locally than to work to support your local economy? What can we do? Here are some suggestions, just off the top of my head:


The Valuable USPTO Provisional Patent Program: Full Invention Protection for One Year

This program allows time for establishing the value of inventions, before investing in more permanent type patents. This is an important way to help new inventors reserve more of their funds for invention development, rather than needing more up-front money to invest in patents and before having the opportunity to fully test-market their inventions.

One Year Length Provisional Patents

The Provisional Patent Program (PPP) which was established by the USPTO in the year 1995 has in one-sense replaced a former program discontinued by the USPTO that was called the “Disclosure Document Program” (DDP). The DDP was a method offered to establish an invention’s “date of conception” but offered no real protection and was discontinued in the year 2007.

A provisional patent offers an established date of conception for inventions and much more. This includes a trial period for test-marketing and selling an invention for one year, before an inventor follows through with one of three more permanent types of patents. Continuing with longer-term patients is optional under the PPP and an inventor may instead allow it to lapse if he feels his invention does not merit further patenting.

The three longer term patents which are 14 years in duration include the following:

  • design patents (design for an article of manufacture)
  • industrial patents (a new and useful process of manufacture or composition of matter)
  • plant patent (new asexually produced variety of plant)

Securing a “Patent Pending” Status

Formerly, when inventors sent their invention-descriptions in to the USPTO under the Disclosure Document Program, they would do so to establish a “date of conception”, meaning proof of the date in which they established having invented it. This program, however, was not a protection for the invention as a provisional patent is and also did not allow-for the inventor placing the “patent pending” notation on their invention, it’s packaging and promotional materials. This is the advantage that the still-affordable provisional patent has over the former, lower cost DDP.

A Cost of $105.00 for Small Entities

The USPTO offers provisional patents to small entities, meaning individuals or companies that have less than 500 employees, for a nominal fee of only $105.00 (please check the USPTO website for price updates). This is a very cost-effective price because an inventor is allowed to test market his invention for one year after notification that they have received and accepted a PPP application.

If during the one-year, an inventor discovers that the invention does not merit following through with a more permanent patent, at additional costs, he can allow the term to expire and forfeit the option to continue the patenting processes. If an inventor decides his invention is not worth the obtaining of a longer term patent (14 years), he can simply allow the provisional patent to lapse and he will have no further patenting costs or obligations with the USPTO. If, however, the value of the invention is proven during the one-year grace period, the inventor may choose to invest further, to obtain a longer-term patent.

Opportunity for License Agreements

A major value of the one-year grace period provided by the PPP is that the worth/value of the invention can be established, with a much-lower risk of theft of the inventor’s product-invention. It is also valuable in-that an inventor may pursue a licensing (royalty agreement) during the one-year grace period.

If any further patenting is done, it would be the responsibility of the “licensee” (if specified contractually). This means the party paying royalties on sales for marketing an invention under a License Agreement, would be responsible for patent updates, should an inventor (“licensor”) secure a licensing for his invention before the one year period has expired.

See the link in the “Sources” section below, that goes to the USPTO webpage, which gives detailed information about the PPP. The page also gives instructions on how to apply for a provisional patent and the address for sending applications and payment, to secure a provisional patent status for an invention.


Selling a Project and Selling Project Management Expertise

Entrepreneurs can sell almost anything that someone else wants or needs. Aside from products or professional services, creative entrepreneurs can also sell unsolicited projects or project management expertise for things that are yet to materialize.

In short, entrepreneurs can sell non-tangible, forward-looking projects through the leverage of intellectual capital, creativity and innovation. Thus, entrepreneurs can employ very minimal cash of their own in a projects-based business compared with capital-intensive ventures such as manufacturing, retailing, hotel operations or trading.

With prudent cash flow management, entrepreneurs can build wealth from an idea whose time has come without taking a big mortgage on their homes. Progress billing together with bank- or investor-financing with the contract as security might be most of the funding that the entrepreneur needs to complete the project.


Selling Project Management Expertise

When a business owner or government agency, say, the US DARPA or HSARPA solicits a Request for Proposals for a certain project, the bidders will essentially be chosen based on the financial bid and technical bid. Here, the technical bid will almost always feature project management expertise. This is to ensure that the project can be completed successfully.

Thus, a good reputation in the implementation of prior projects is of key importance including the demonstrated expertise of the bidder in the specialized technical skills that the project owner requires.

Another point in focus is that selling project management expertise is not limited to the act of selling to the project owner.

Entrepreneurs also sell project management expertise to sources of project funding such as banks, investors or grant providers. Funding institutions or venture capitalists are more likely to do business with entrepreneurs or organizations with known management reliability and efficiency.

Likewise, entrepreneurs sell their project management expertise to industry networks such as sub-contractors, joint-venture partners or suppliers for better payment terms, on-time deliveries, better line of credit and other benefits. Cooperation and collaboration on projects multiply resources that the entrepreneur will otherwise not have.

Finally, entrepreneurs also sell their project management expertise to the general and/or specialized publics. Winning the support of the public will minimize potential risks to the project such as protests to stop the project or poor sales during operations due to bad publicity. Small corporate responsibility projects that support the bigger project demonstrate the entrepreneur’s project management expertise.

Selling Unsolicited Projects

Entrepreneurs in real estate development will typically sell unsolicited projects through the scale-model, the community master plan, the house models plans, the virtual model, and/or the feasibility study. They will first try to sell the project to a financier or team of financiers then ultimately sell it to the end-users.

However, creative entrepreneurs like Donald Trump, when he was still starting out, first sold his unsolicited real estate development projects to people who are technically not his regular employees like the sales agent or broker representing the property owner; some lawyers to determine the legal feasibilities of some of his ideas and how to solve certain legal issues; to the architect who made the building plans; and to the public via newsworthy events.

Researchers are also like project-based business entrepreneurs in the sense that they sell ideas for unsolicited technology projects or study projects to win grants or research contracts through any of the following:

  • One-page Concept of Operations or CONOPS
  • Prototype
  • One-Page Proposal Abstract
  • Proposed Methodology
  • Project Proposal

Note that creative entrepreneurs engaged in projects-based businesses are actually selling plans rather than selling tangible, finished products. Packaged with the plans are assurances that they can complete the finished products through a demonstration of their integrity and reputation.

Creative Business Project Management Fundamentals

In summary, these are the main points of creative business project management for entrepreneurs who are about to venture into a projects-based business:

  1. Projects are mainly about intellectual capital, creativity, innovation and the reputation to succeed.
  2. Projects-based businesses infused with creativity and sound planning will typically require very minimal cash to generate bigger amounts of sales.
  3. What entrepreneurs actually sell is the simplified plan first then detailed plan second backed with assurances that the project can be completed.
  4. Anybody can be a project stakeholder.
  5. Project management expertise equates to good reputation.

Articles of Incorporation Defined

Articles of Incorporation are legal business incorporation documents for Canadian or American companies. Depending on where the business is incorporated, the documents are filed with a state, provincial or federal governing body. These documents are a required part of the incorporation process, and list the reasoning behind why a corporation exists.

The Purpose of Articles of Incorporation

An article of incorporation, when filed with a government agency, creates the corporation as well as how the shares of the company will be structured. The Articles of Incorporation also explain who is actually incorporating the business (i.e. the individuals filing the forms), and may list the initial directors of the company as well. Any rules or regulations of the business are laid out in a related, attached document, called the Bylaws of the corporation.

Is The Article of Incorporation All That’s Needed?

It depends on where the business is incorporated. In Canada, there are a few forms to fill out (Articles of Incorporation Form, Restated Articles of Incorporation Form). In the US, most states require more than just an article of incorporation (see: Articles of Incorporation Form), such as an annual report. After filing for incorporation in the US, the business directors will receive the necessary documents in the mail.

Article of Incorporation Sample Template – Restriction on the Transfer of Shares

Please do not take the following information as legal advice. This is merely an article of incorporation sample, and will require review by a lawyer familiar with business incorporation procedures in your jurisdiction before use.

The ability and legal right to transfer the corporation’s shares is restricted, in that shareholders are not allowed to transfer corporate shares without written agreement from:

  1. the directors of the incorporated business, who require a resolution agreed upon by the majority of directors, as decided in writing or at a meeting of the corporations shareholders; or
  2. the corporate shareholders, who require a resolution agreed upon by the majority of eligible shareholders.

Article of Incorporation Sample Template – Other

Securities held by the corporation cannot be transferred without:

  • agreement by a majority of the incorporated businesses’ directors; or
  • agreement by a majority of the incorporated businesses’ shareholders.

If the law so allows in the corporation’s jurisdiction and by agreement with the majority of shareholders, the directors of the corporation may:

  • use the corporation’s credit to borrow necessary funds;
  • state, release, sell or guarantee the debt assets and liabilities of the corporation; and
  • create a security interest with regards to the property of the corporation, in order to shelter the debt assets or liabilities of the corporation.

What To Do Before A Trade Show: Exhibitor Tips For Entrepreneurs And Small Business Owners

Trade shows, when done correctly, can be one of the most lucrative ways of earning new business, making new contacts and creating alliances. But to play with the large companies that have million dollar marketing plans, most entrepreneurs need to plan their trade show process. Here are some not-so-common tips to work through before signing up for and attending a trade show as an exhibitor.

List What Needs To Be Accomplished At The Trade Show

Why is being a part of a trade show important to the business? This is the kind of question that needs answering before even considering which trade show to exhibit with. The more specific the needs, the better, because then they can be measured, achieved and added to next year’s list. Some ideas:

  • Checking out the competition;
  • Testing new items, services, ideas or concepts;
  • Connect with difficult to locate customers or business peers;
  • Find sales representatives that can either sell product lines for the business, or connect with to sell their product lines;
  • Create customer recognition for the business name or brand;
  • Meet current and potential customers;
  • Sell products or services;
  • Create a lead-rich mailing list.

Perform A Quick Cost Benefit Analysis Before A Trade Show

A break even analysis is a relatively straightforward process, so there’s no reason for an entrepreneur not to write up a quick one while reviewing trade show options.

Choose The Right Trade Show

One of the most important trade show tips is knowing which ones to take part in. To ensure that the right one makes it to the final cut, ask a lot of questions such as:

  • How many exhibitors have attended in the past? Customers?
  • What is the target market for this specific trade show?
  • How many years has this trade show been held, and in what locations?
  • Are competitors allowed to exhibit at the same event?
  • What publicity and advertising efforts will be made?
  • Is there a list of previous exhibitors to review?

Attend Trade Shows As A Visitor

Before committing to a specific event, try attending in person as a visitor or customer first. See what other exhibitors are doing, and what customers are naturally attracted to. Look at the prime locations and which spaces aren’t desirable because of traffic flow. Investigate what people are selling, if they are making sales at their exhibits, and whether or not contests or draws are affecting interest. Finally, which informational packages are drawing the most attention, and how are other competing businesses presenting themselves physically (clothing, grooming, sales people), visually (signs, shows), and emotionally (tone of voice, type of presentation).


Read All Promotional Materials Before A Trade Show

After signing up for the trade show, wait for the promotional materials to be sent: they will likely be lengthy and detailed. Plan to sit down for a few hours to review them all, because trade show paraphernalia can often be overwhelming and a bit confusing. For instance, most trade shows have unionized workers to perform a lot of the menial tasks involved with set up and clean up, so a business owner may not even be allowed to plug in their own computer. Therefore check the fine print, take notes, and call to ask questions where the information isn’t clear.


launch an Import Business

Strategic Reasons to Launch an Import Business: How to Evaluate Importing Advantages

Before investing large sums of money in a new business, profit-minded importers work long and hard to find the right products for the right audiences at the right prices.

Prospective importers must first gain a thorough understanding of the imported goods to be sold. Just as important is a detailed study of the financial realities of importing those goods. This often depends on the audience to which the imported goods will be marketed. Another key factor is the business environment in which the proposed importing company must operate.

Product Reasons to Import

Successful importers search for products with global reputations for quality like Germany’s finely engineered products including BMW luxury cars and Porsche racing cars. Other importers focus on raw materials that are cheaper on international markets sometimes due to climate, which is why Russian demand for South African grapes continues to rise. Specialists prefer to import exclusive products like Canadian ice wine as a way to dominate share for targeted products in their respective home markets.

Below is a checklist of reasons for importing based on the advantages of the targeted goods.

  • Acquire goods in constant demand due to their high quality.
  • Raw materials cheaper internationally than in home market.
  • Exclusive products enable importers to dominate market share.
  • Replace obsolete goods.
  • Take advantage of technical advances.
  • Develop new lines of import.

Imported DVD discs have made eight-track tapes, audio cassettes and VHS tapes virtually obsolete. Blue tooth headsets from Taiwan are example of technically advanced wireless products that encourage hands-free driving. Cal Systems total engineering solutions has expanded its offerings to more than 20 process control and automation lines.

Financial Reasons to Import

When the US dollar depreciates, American importers have to pay more dollars to buy Middle Eastern oil. However, imports in general garner higher profit margins than exports because exporters have operating costs including manufacturing and production expenses.

The following summarizes financial planning factors for importers to consider.

  • Strong importing nation currency lowers import costs
  • Higher profit margins for importing over exporting
  • Imported products are more attractive as domestic production costs rise
  • Exporters offer special trade discounts to start import business.

Even in the midst of the current recession, General Motors has announced plans to import automobiles from China. This is due to the high costs of producing North American vehicles. Examples of special trade discounts include an Irish exporter of home exercise products who offers volume discounts and will waive shipping costs for importers in new territories. Governments can also offer financial incentives that benefit importers either directly or indirectly. Certain exporting countries encourage lower shipping rates for their exporters. As a result, importers in client nations realize lower costs.

To encourage the import of raw materials and components not easily accessible in the home market, local Custom authorities may establish a remission program that reduces or eliminates tariffs on those inputs if used to manufacture final products. Governments in India, Japan and Thailand offer exporters financial incentives known as drawbacks that can lower the cost of exported products. These savings are then passed on as lower purchase prices for the importers.

Marketing Reasons to Import

Ideally, the home market should have healthy economic indicators including low interest rates, low inflation and high employment so that people have the cash to whatever goods the importer decides to sell. Specialized niche services like refining raw diamonds have made many Indian entrepreneurs wealthy. More recently, market demand for imported premium beers has steadily grown over time. Importers also bring in ethnic goods ranging from Ethiopian spices to Filipino buns to satisfy immigrant market demand.

The following list can be used to evaluate an importing opportunity from a marketing perspective.

  • Positive economic indicators in home market encourage purchases of imports.
  • Provide specialized services in importers market.
  • Demand for an imported product has increased over time.
  • Import goods to service specific ethnic groups.
  • Invest in a local distribution system.
  • Wholesalers or distributors want to buy directly from importers.
  • Importer may choose to supply retailers in his market directly.
  • Exporters offer market support to importers especially for highly technical products.

UK entrepreneurs could import New World Wines like those from Argentina and New Zealand if they were investing in a distribution system to local retailers. Wholesalers and distributors sometimes want to buy commodities like tea and coffee directly from importers. Other times, importers have to convince large retail chains like Wal-Mart and Costco to allot shelf space for their goods like specially imported safety shoes. Exporters can entice importers to buy technical products like voice-activated GPS navigation systems by bundling those advanced products with import marketing support.

Strategic Planning Key to Success

Many importers plan to also export products at a later stage. Customers in other countries sometimes ask importing countries to source such products as gold coins produced by the national mint. If feasible, the importing company then engages in exporting activity as a way to increase overall business revenues and profits.

Import initiatives can also lead to joint ventures and strategic alliances with companies in other countries with comparative advantages. For example, German engineers are currently developing solar and wind energy technology that can be manufactured and marketed around the globe.

Sustainable Business Planning

Sustainable Business Planning: Director of Sustainability Says Need to Green Business is Urgent

In his book, Auden Schendler of Aspen Skiing Company says climate crisis requires businesses to lead sustainability revolution. Efficiency, new energy sources needed.

In Getting Green Done: Hard Truths from the Front Lines of the Sustainability Revolution, Sustainability Director Auden Schendler makes no bones about it: Climate change is real and requires the urgent attention of business leaders. Business has caused climate change, he asserts, and business is threatened by climate change. Business is between a rock and a hard place.

Although books like Natural Capitalism and Cradle to Cradle make green sound easy enough to accomplish in a timely manner, Schendler is not so sure. Such books seem to say that “business can have it all: competitive business and clean air, booming sales and biodiversity.” His experience is that environmentally sustainable practices are much harder to put into practice. By sharing his failures at the tony ski resort in Aspen, he hopes to help others get over the hurdles.

Climate Science: We Must Cut CO2 Emission

Schendler notes that scientists who speak different languages and examine different data have come to the same conclusion: climate change is real. Changes are happening and the speed of change now exceeds the direst predictions. We must cut CO2 emissions by 80 percent by mid-century. This is a colossal task and individual actions aren’t enough.

It is difficult and expensive to make the changes that need to be made, but we must. The time has come to stop studying the problem and just move on to the hard work.

Objections to Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Actions

At Aspen Skiing Company, the author met resistance even to projects that guaranteed energy savings because others in the organization saw change as too risky. The reluctance to change from business as usual and risk damage to existing business is powerful.

In another case, Schendler met resistance because the green plan would cause a budget overrun. Even when cost savings over the life of the project was demonstrated to managers, the budget did not allow the new green technology to be used. If the money was not in the project budget, he could not make headway.

There are often good business reasons why green technologies or environmentally sustainable actions were denied due to traditional business rules.

Call to Wait for New and Less Expensive Technology a Smokescreen

Schendler notes Bush administration tactics that encouraged businesses to think that they could put off change because a new and better technology is just around the corner. Schendler says it is not and we cannot wait.

The green wave is building and companies like Wal-Mart know it. As an example, they are pricing CFL lightbulbs at $2 and stacking them at eye level. They are calling on suppliers to go green. Smart business leaders are going green and, most importantly, are changing consumer awareness about sustainable purchasing.

First-cost barriers, lack of understanding, and the tendency to deny that climate change is happening quickly are impediments, that are slowly being overcome

Ideas to Move Sustainable Business Plans Forward

Some ideas are offered to get businesses moving on making the changes that must be made.

  • Government incentives can be used to prime the pump. Once energy efficiency savings are noted, businesses will be hooked.
  • Put a price on carbon emissions. Move beyond cost savings.
  • Create an emissions reduction profession.
  • Buy renewable energy credits, but use care. Get honest information about projects to be funded. Don’t buy cheap RECs to greenwash. The consumer will expose such action.
  • Good government regulations are needed to correct previous supports for coal and oil that pervert the market. The free market can’t work in favor of green energy alternatives with old supports in place.
  • Reform LEED; turn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design into a manual for green building rather than a certification program.
  • Use lifecycle analysis instead of straight line budgeting on new and retrofitting projects.
  • Use green marketing and public relations tactics. Consumers will steer businesses who misuse these toward improved practices because research shows that consumers are using the Internet to check up on claims.

Green is Niche Marketing … For Now

Schendler says that green is a niche market for now but businesses that dominate brands are going green because they care about the perception that they are green. Leading businesses recognize that a cultural change is taking place in society and that green and sustainable ways of doing business are becoming the new normal.

The vision for a sustainable society speaks to the human spirit, he believes, as well as the search for meaningful existence and noble action.