2009: a Year in Review (An Annual Report by Greener World Media)

Green wasn’t washed away in the economic downturn of 2009, reports “The State of Green Business 2010.” This annual report, released in February, 2010, and conducted by Greener World Media, suggests several trends that include:

TRANSPARENCY. The study points to the new emphasis on access to information about both products and companies. In the green cleaning category, the study cites two companies in particular—Clorox and SC Johnson—that agreed to full disclosure on product content. And, in the testing arena, centogenarian Underwriters Laboratories created UL Environment Inc. , which, according to UL, will “help make sense of green claims.”

MARKETING. Though consumers cut costs in 2009, they continued to express optimism over green goods. Some surveys cite consumers as increasingly holding the companies from which they buy goods and services socially responsible. One definite, reports the study, is that today’s consumer is looking for products that aren’t just greener, but also better—which, depending on the individual, can mean anything from cheaper or more convenient to less wasteful or healthier.

BUILDING. The final count of square footage “certified and registered” by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system was expected to show a surge of more than 40 percent for 2009 over 2008.

TOXINS. At the state level, legislation requiring the listing of “chemicals of concern” continues to increase. 2009 was definitely a watershed year for the banning of BPA (bisphenol A), to name just one-while several major companies also announced they were cutting out other significant toxins from their products.

TECHNOLOGY. Cleantech, previously seen as butting heads with green business, found common ground with its nemesis in 2009. Most “clean” technologies, with the exception of products like solar panels, are business-to-business initiatives that, to quote the report, are “embedded in materials, manufacturing systems…and industrial processes.”

So, despite a recession, 2009 saw the growth of both green goods and the infrastructure necessary to grow them.