The Fortune 500 is chock full of more great companies than bad apples, and some are truly leading the way in sustainability innovation that has widespread global impact. But according to most green business media today, this is the only sector of the economy worth chronicling, or in some cases just evangelizing. This may be a prudent move for the media companies as well. It’s a lucrative niche to serve. But it also offers some tired B2B platforms, at best churning out limited perspectives, and at worst offering its audience disguised infomercials and paid-for panel spots. There’s nothing wrong with the Fortune 500. It’s just not the only business demographic vital to real sustainability in our economic development picture. I think most people – and especially entrepreneurs – understand that.
As Paul Hawken wrote in response to a series of questions collected at the Nov. 1 Sustainable Industries Economic Forum, “While we have no control over the value of currency, we can control the flow of currency, and that is critically important because it is only by regionalizing capital flows can you create sustainability, and maintain resiliency, redundancy, capacity, job creation, and some semblance of food, energy, and materials security. Sustainability isn’t somewhere else, out there in the cold night. It is right here, next to you.”
Most “sustainable” brands simply can not transcend their system of success – controlling the way our money flows off Main Street and on to Wall Street.
In addition, media content has become a commodity where quantity is often viewed as more essential than quality. This is not how I ever understood the role of B2B. New business media work to cannibalize content they don’t have the gumption or budget to produce themselves. Some headlines are shocking teases that have nothing to do with the actual stories they represent. Others pander to lurid curiosity. Ever find yourself agnostically clicking through articles online and getting distracted by a jarring headline or photo on the sidebar? ("I'll just take a peek for a minute," you think). This is the strategy – to get your click at any cost. I find myself clicking down rabbit holes all the time – me with my master’s degree in mass communication.
Or else we find ourselves flipping through business magazines, oogling at the formulaic cover photos of young business-casual entrepreneurs backed by millions of dollars of VC celebrated as heroes based on ideas that possess negligible social or environmental benefit – much like the covers of fitness magazines that show us the abs we want and sadly will never have.
Sustainable Industries set out to offer another perspective, one that is fiercely independent, void of infomercials, and just as tuned in to the small business and entrepreneur as it is to larger regional companies and the Fortune 500. This is how we set out to differentiate and earn trust with you, our core audience. What Sustainable Industries does best, according to Paul Hawken, is that it “cuts through the fluff.”