Bill Roth has many secrets about sustainable business, and he will be spilling some of those secrets Thursday during a panel at the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce’s Business is Green Expo.
In his book, The Secret Green Sauce: Best Practices for Growing Green Revenues, the Oceanside-based author, economist, business coach and columnist profiles the best sustainable practices being used by businesses and entrepreneurs.
As founder of Earth 2017 and president of Northern California Community Technologies, a San Francisco-based consulting firm, Roth has worked with a broad range of companies to design and implement strategies, plans and projects that are profitable and green.
He participated in the launch of the first hydrogen-fueled Prius as a proof of concept, developed solar power systems with emerging technologies and designed Real Time Pricing that has enabled consumer acceptance of conservation technologies.
Patch: What are some highlights of The Secret Green Sauce: Best Practices for Growing Green Revenues?
Roth: There are three groups that are buying green and they have a combined $10 trillion of annual buying power in the U.S. One group is Corporate America. They are greening their supply chains to save money and reduce their risks. This is opening the door to B2B sales opportunities. It is opening the door for businesses that in the past thought they could never sell to a big corporation like Walmart or Avis. The second group is the Millennial Generation. Sustainability is their future. They see companies like Patagonia or Chipotle and wonder why all businesses can't better align with their search for products that use less resources or promote human health. The third group is moms; I call them Concerned Caregivers. They are concerned about the well being of their loved ones. They read labels. They read "mommy bloggers" that talks to their health concerns and they write their own blogs, Facebook postings, etc. about the products they think align value with values. The book The Secret Green Sauce provides case study examples of businesses that are growing revenues selling to one of these groups.
Patch: What are some of the things businesses have achieved after working with you?
Roth: They make more money. They hire new work associates. They reduce the environmental and health impacts of their businesses. And they really feel good about themselves. My favorite example is an auto body shop in Salt Lake City. They were quality business people delivering a quality product but they never succeeded in winning a corporate or government account until working with me. I had no idea what a green auto body shop would look like but I have the most unbelievable national network of business people who are making money going green. So I contacted some professional friends in the auto industry and they outlined what they thought a green auto body shop should look like. I then coached this auto body shop on adopting their suggestions and then I coached them on developing a PowerPoint presentation presenting themselves as a green auto body shop. Within 90 days from starting this effort, they landed Avis and their local police department as clients. They have since expanded their building and have hired new work associates. Now one of their clients is talking to them about putting a facility in another city. That is what going green can do for every business.
Patch: What can Green Expo attendees expect to learn during the panel?
Bill Roth: Insights on how businesses are making money by going green by selling more and saving more. One aspect of the "secret" in The Secret Green Sauce is that in 2011 the global sale of more sustainable goods and services reached a milestone $1 trillion. Going green will help a business win new customers and grow the sale of sustainable product solutions. Going green will help a business save money because figuring out how to reduce emissions and waste almost always ends up also reducing a cost. The "secret sauce" is the best practices I have developed working with businesses that are proven to make money by going green.
Patch: Do you see sustainable business as a trend in Carlsbad and Oceanside?
Roth: It has to be! Sustainability is the solving of a root cause problem in a way that makes money and improves the health of people and the planet. Customers are looking for these solutions that solve their "in me, on and around me" problems. This is a tremendous business opportunity. It is a tremendous opportunity for Carlsbad and Oceanside.
Patch: What do you think are some misconceptions businesses have about sustainable business?
Roth: That you can't make money going green. That you can't sell more because green products cost more. I help businesses act upon the fact that 20 percent of all consumers will actually pay more for a green or sustainable product. Whole Foods has the highest sales growth of all grocers and their start up strategy was to successfully sell to customers who would pay a little more for a more sustainable and healthier food product. I also work with my clients on developing a strategy for moving toward winning price parity for their more sustainable product because 85 percent of consumers say they will buy the more sustainable product vs. the less sustainable product if their prices were just equal. Imagine being able to win 85 percent market share by just being at the same price as your competitor!
Patch: What is one tip you can offer companies looking to “go green”?
Roth: Engage your work associates. Some of my favorite case studies are about how a Millennial Generation or Concerned Caregiver work associate going to their boss and suggesting how they think the company could make money by going green. I know of one company that opened the door to having associates work on green ideas that today is saving $1 million a year on an idea that required zero capital cost investment. Imagine adding $1 million per year to your company's bottom line with zero investment! I work with clients in developing their Green Teams by coaching them on proven best practices that have worked for other companies.
The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce’s Business is Green Expo will take place from 2-6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Carlsbad by the Sea Resort & Conference Center. Admission costs $5 cash at the door and is free for those wearing green.
For more information about Roth and The Secret Green Sauce: Best Practices for Growing Green Revenues, visit www.earth2017.com.