Triangle Entrepreneurship Week 2012: Starting Up Green: Integrating Triple Bottom Line #TEW2012

Triangle Entrepreneurship Week 2012Welcome to this series of semi-live blogs from the Triangle Entrepreneurship Week 2012 (#TEW2012) conference in Raleigh and Durham, NC. Any errors, omissions, or silly side comments are my own.

Starting Up Green: Integrating Triple Bottom Line
Presenters: Jason Massey (Sustainable industrial Solutions), Quenton Ankri (Green Sky Wind Systems), Kristen Adams (Afterglow Cosmetics), Matt Kopac (Burt’s Bees)

Questions were asked of the panel members.  These are most of the questions and the answers provided.

  • Sustainability…how do you define and use it?
    • Triple bottom line way (profit, people, & planet)
    • Enduring as things change
    • Respecting that everything is connected
    • Completely off the grid
    • Impact for the people, one at a time.
    • Making the company work without the founders
    • Economically self-sustaining, good for the planet
    • Has to recognize the interconnect-ness of everything
    • Environmental impact morally and with people
    • Easy to say, but difficult to implement
    • Must be done intentionally
    • Got to have a team buy-in
    • It is about the long haul, even with employees
    • Good for you, good for us, good for all
  • What are some resources to make it easier?
    • Google
    • B-Corp
    • Strong mission, vision, & buy-in
  • How do you get buy in from employees?
    • Group volunteer activities picked by employees
    • Open books
    • Recruiting & hiring people who already believe in sustainability
  • How do you measure & follow up?
    • We live in the Excel world
    • Track things like water usage and waste tracking
    • Set goals to reduce usage
    • Got to make it fun, too
  • Ways to start the implementation of triple bottom line.
    • Where are you sourcing?
    • Look at low hanging fruit
    • When starting a business, you have the control to frame it to be whatever you want it to be.
    • Be sure to maintain the mission and part of the business structure
    • People are making the choice to be “green”
  • Tell us about some customer experiences.
    • Hardest customers end up being the biggest evangelist
    • Understand customer needs, sometimes it is about finances
    • Peer pressure works well too
  • What if your unique selling proposition is not green?
    • Various stakeholders have various commitments
    • Functionality is still key
    • Need to adjust pitch based on customer needs
    • Look how you do business.  For example if you are a manufacturer, consider sourcing near your plants.
Having an interest in the topic, it was great to hear from leaders within companies that focus on triple bottom line.  However, some of the conversation afterwards was just as good.  Those on the panel all were in companies who are either green or sustainable companies.  However, any company can focus on sustainability.

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at

About J. Nolfo
Well...there is a lot to know. #Cx, #Analytics, #SM, Specialty #AgChem, #StL sports, & more. FT @BASFAgProducts. @Mizzou Alum. Supporter of the #Rhino. Tweets my own. #SMMW17 attendee....Dad...Hiker...Scouter...and so much more.

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