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Green America Educates Students on Pushing Brands Toward Sustainability

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Todd Larsen, executive co-director for consumer and consumer and corporate engagement for Green America, visited the Do Good Accelerator in February to speak with students about how Green America works to create meaningful impact without the help of Washington. Todd’s visit was part of the Do Good Accelerator’s Lunch with Leaders program, which brings industry experts to campus to encourage students to deepen their understanding about social issues and enable students to think of new and innovative approaches to solve today’s pressing challenges.

At Green America, Todd works closely within four key social change focus areas: climate, labor, food, and finance. Green America aims to move toward a world where people have enough, communities are safe, and Earth is preserved for future generations. Green America works to harness the economic power of consumers, investors, and business to create a socially just and environmentally aware society. Todd spoke about the process behind creating a consumer campaign against brands, with the goal moving toward meaningful progress when it comes to sustainability.

When starting a campaign, the first step is to always conduct research and report the findings to shareholders and others involved with the corporation. Green America works with shareholders and encourages them to push toward more sustainable practices and reporting methods. Next, Green America works to engage the company in a dialogue prior to running a campaign, the ultimate goal is to get the corporations and CEOs on board with environmentally friendly options. If this is not possible, it’s important to let the company know to expect a future consumer attack.

As campaigns launch, Green America works to call out brands that are greenwashing while using clear and reasonable demands. Greenwashing is the use of marketing to make a brand seem more environmentally conscious and aware than it actually is. Through tweets, email blasts and other consumer methods, Green America is able to build pressure among shareholders, corporations, and businesses to change their practices to become more environmentally friendly. Through working with like-minded organizations, Green America is able to collaborate with similar organizations in order to help achieve both organization’s goals and environmental sustainability.

Throughout these campaigns, Green America looks for signs of progress and makes them public. By increasing awareness about areas that companies are lacking in and spots for potential progress, public pressure increases and companies become more driven to create a change.

Todd emphasized that we need to move fast when it comes to sustainability and thinking green because the nation - and world - are running low on time and resources. He reminded attendees that it’s important to understand that we don’t have 20 or 50 years to tackle environmental issues - it is an issue that needs attention now. There are plenty of ways that students can get involved with Green America and work toward creating a sustainable and just society.

To learn more about Green America and the work they’re doing click here

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