The Real Engine for Sustainability

As proud members of the U.S. Green Building Council (and because we believe this event and movement is so important to our agency and the future of building in this country), EMA has attended the past two Greenbuild International Conference and Expos. We’re excited to share our experience. Our agency has specialties dedicated to sustainability and building, so it makes sense, but it’s secondary to why we loved our time at this show.

Our agency is fueled by passionate, creative people who live and breathe by the work we do with our clients. This same level of passion and determination for our craft is almost identical with every attendee, exhibitor and presenter we came across as the show. (This is especially true of our partners at the Syracuse Center of Excellence.) While we want to share some of the experiences and the people we met, we really hope to motivate you by sharing the Greenbuild community’s passion — as change agents igniting forward thinking across our industry. Greenbuild is the conduit to bring like-minded people together, creating further momentum and making a measurable and impactful positive change in this world.

To put this into context, as far back as 1990 the sustainability movement was starting to gain real steam, but even the most diehard believers 25 years ago would be amazed at where it is now. Today, big brands like Nike and Levi’s use sustainability and green to better engage the younger sweet spot — the Millennials. In fact, just last month a condom company introduced sustainability to help sell their “wears” (get it?).

This is not to imply that these messaging tactics are greenwashing, because they’re not. These companies realize that their audience truly cares about corporate responsibility and environmental stewardship.

But the truth is, the epicenter of true change isn’t coming from marketers and big brands. And it’s not brought to us by new technology innovations. While these things are certainly valuable parts of the movement, and imperative to real progress, they are not the heart and soul that ignites the cause. And that’s what it is. Real cause marketing — that you can see, touch and feel.

Passion for the environment. A natural thirst to improve and learn. These are the drivers for this industry. Instead of inspiration being dictated by brands down to consumers, we see progressive, iconic brands like Sloan, Saint Gobain and Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation taking cues from what’s happening at the ground level and sharing it.

New technology, product and service developments are merely tactics that lead to groundbreaking, Earth-saving innovation. The true spark is inspiration. And the groundswell is rising. Attendees at the Greenbuild show were moved by fire-and-brimstone presentations from motivational industry leaders like Rick Fedrizzi, or blended, smart marketers like Taryn Holowka, and even by deep, new-age philosophers like Deepak Chopra.

One night, we watched Trombone Shorty and Alabama Shakes with our feet on the turf of the Superdome with 20,000 other believers. We spent time at some of the best restaurants and saw some of the best art that our country can offer in the great city of New Orleans. We attended amazing, intelligent panels and visited well-designed, informative tradeshow booths. But the inherent buzz that infected everyone at the show was a shared passion for doing right.

If your company is looking to find ways to engage the environmentally sound, or to become better global stewards, this is a show you can’t miss. And we are the agency you want to work with.