True-Blue Greens

A sector of the market defined by the Roper ASW Green Gauge Report as the most interested in “green” or environmental issues. In 2007, these customers jumped dramatically from only 9% to 30% of the total American consumer population and they tend to be educated, have higher incomes, and influence other consumers.  Read More

Ecological Marketing

Developed in the 1990s, a marketing approach to highlight products and production methods that improve environmental performance, further ecological causes, or solve environmental problems. Marketing products and services on these effects is growing but not all environmental claims are accurate. Some might be examples of green-washing. Ecological marketing works well with some groups of users, in particular “True-Blue Greens” or other... Read More

Ecological Footprint

A term coined by ecologist William Rees and Mathis Wackernage to describe the total ecological impact (the amount of land, food, water, and other resources needed) to sustain a person or organization. This is usually measured in acres or hectares of productive land. It is used to determine relative consumption and is frequently used as an education and resource management tool. When addressing large populations (such as countries), the total productive... Read More


Also known as electronic waste or high-tech trash, it is considered hazardous waste. E-waste contains harmful metals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury. When these elements are dumped into landfills they leach into our soil and water supply. The health effects of these toxins on humans include birth defects, and brain, heart, liver, kidney and skeletal system damage. They also significantly affect the nervous and reproductive systems of the... Read More

Diminishing Marginal Utility

A concept from economics that describes decreasing utility or desire for more of the same product or service. The “law” states that the more we have of a given product the less satisfaction (or utility) we receive from each additional unit (for example, the first slice of pizza delivers more pleasure than the second and this decreases with each additional slice). This concept is often accepted as fact by economists and is at the core of... Read More

Design for Environment

Design for Environment (DfE) is a process used in many industries to help organizations improve the environmental impact of their products and services throughout the development process. Each industry approaches this process differently and there are few standards. In addition, for small manufacturers, this is often seen as a time-consuming and expensive additional cost. This is still a new process for most designers and engineers but it is slowly... Read More


A legal entity that gives a business or organization (or sometimes a church, town, or city) in the USA rights similar to those of an individual. Corporations limit liability for their employees and stockholders, who are protected from many of the actions or consequences of the corporation’s actions. Since corporations are granted many of the rights of individuals but not the same responsibilities (legal or ethical), it’s not always clear who to... Read More

Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)

Making investments with an eye towards social, environmental and financial returns. Investors and funds that “screen” companies that violate environmental, social, or other values (across a wide variety of issues, such as: worker’s rights, child labor, minority hiring practices, gender equality, environmental practices, animal rights, foreign investment, charitable giving, etc.) refuse to invest in companies whose behaviors don’t pass... Read More

Corporate Reporting

Public corporations are required (in the USA) to report specific financial measures and figures, quarterly and annually, in order to inform potential investors of the risks associated with their companies. However, some organizations (including private corporations) are beginning to report social and environmentally-related information in the form of Triple Bottom Line reports or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports. These reports are designed... Read More

Corporate Citizenship

The expectation that drives companies to interact with their wider communities in an ethical and socially-responsible manner. Many companies view themselves as other than citizens of the places they do business or define business as having no social or ethical responsibilities. Increasingly, however, organizations are reconciling their corporate goals with those of their stakeholders, including local communities and their customers’ values. Good... Read More