For everyone in the “green” space, next week is shaping up be the second of two exciting weeks in the Washington, DC and Baltimore areas. Starting earlier this week in Maryland and continuing through next weekend, there are many events on the Hill at the White House or somewhere in between. Happening right now is Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, one of the top trade shows in the country which showcases natural, organic and healthy products. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go this year, but fellow colleagues I know who have attended sing the praises of the educational sessions, keynote speakers including culinary pioneer Alice Waters this year, the trade show exhibitors and the unprecedented networking opportunities.
New to the calendar this year is the LOHAS networking event at FLOR in Georgetown on Friday, Sept. 28th. In case you aren’t familiar with it LOHAS stands for lifestyles of health and sustainability. It’s both an organization and a market segment. Collectively, LOHAS is the leading edge of positive transformation for people, planet and profit. As an organization, it provides opportunities for business sectors to connect, collaborate and share new ideas. As a market segment it focuses on health and fitness, the environment, personal development, sustainable living and social justice.
The event is designed to bring together business leaders for an evening of discussion and creative collaboration. I've been to the main LOHAS Forum event in Boulder 3 times, including this past June, and it is amazing. Hands down my favorite conference to attend. There’s an energy and passion found at this conference I’ve never before experienced. The organizers do an incredible job of bringing together the right mix of business leaders passionate about "doing well by doing good." Executives and entrepreneurs who attend LOHAS believe that the tripe bottom line – people, plant and profit – are true measures of success - economic, ecological and social.
Two years ago an executive from Patagonia spoke about being bold and fearless in the face of economic uncertainty and holding true to the companies values. The leadership he demonstrated when he acted out of compassion versus fear resulted in the Patagonia team pulling together as never before, continued loyalty from customers and 20% growth while other companies were struggling. He also introduced Patagonia’s “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign that was absolutely brilliant. His message continues to resonate with me to this day.
The culmination of all of this good, green fun is the granddaddy of them all – the Green Festival, the nation’s premier sustainability event, September 29 – 30 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Held in 4 cities throughout the country this year, the Green Festival is back in DC after a hiatus in 2011. There is something for everyone looking to live an eco-friendly lifestyle including speakers, products and demos that cover food, finance and fashion to a plethora of DIY workshops , music, yoga and more designed to inspire everyday acts that make a positive difference in one’s community. The festival has also partnered with the area’s leading non-profits and community organizations throughout the Washington, DC region including FRESHFARM Markets and the Washington Humane Society to celebrate what is working.
While the economy continues to struggle, and the presidential nominees and their supporters are focused on what isn’t working in this country, it’s nice to be focused on what IS working and making a difference in ways that contribute to the greater good of all of our communities. What are you seeing or working on that's making the planet a better place? I'd love to hear about it.