Green Growth 50: Learning From Companies Boosting Profits While Cutting Emissions

More companies are investing in renewable energy to power their operations and offset their carbon emissions...Getty Images

EBay at its very core pioneered the circular economy — of finding new homes for treasures that might otherwise have ended up at the dump. “Avoiding items going into a landfill is very important to our customers,” says Steve Priest, CFO of eBay. “Driving the circular economy is part of everything we do.” But finding new shelves for Beanie Babies is just a small component in eBay’s sustainability efforts, which prioritize slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

In eBay’s case, these are mostly tied to electricity used to power vast data centers. Since 2017 eBay has cut its carbon emissions by 29% to 88,000 tons per year. The e-commerce giant became carbon neutral this year, and is aiming to achieve a 100% renewable electricity supply for all its offices and data centers by 2025.

This goal might actually be attainable in the next few years as eBay’s biggest clean energy projects yet come online. The White Mesa Wind Project in Texas (a joint venture with Apple, Sprint and Samsung) began operating this year, producing 75 peak megawatts for the four companies, enough to power 20,000 homes.

Meanwhile the Ventress Solar Project in Louisiana, a virtual purchase power agreement between eBay, McDonalds and BP’s Lightsource division, will generate 345 MW. “We collaborate with our tech peers when some sustainability issues come up, where banding together makes more sense,” says eBay’s chief sustainability officer Renee Morin.

Such efforts have earned eBay the no. 11 spot on our inaugural Forbes Green Growth 50 list. Using emissions data from Sustainalytics and financial data from FactSet Research Systems, we honed in on U.S. companies with market caps greater than $5 billion, that started with more than 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions in 2017, and have since successfully reduced their emissions while simultaneously growing profitability (as measured by an absolute increase in net income or operating income from 2017-2020).

Going in, we figured these criteria would produce a list of more than 100 companies. But green growth is harder than it looks — both Weyerhaeuser and Edison International, ranking no. 21 and no. 10 on our list, grew earnings less than 2% since 2017.

Is there a connection between cutting carbon emissions and boosting earnings? eBay’s Priest thinks we’ve reached the point where companies that don’t care about green will find it nearly impossible to deliver growth. “Customers want to be associated with corporations that take their environmental responsibilities very seriously. Those that do will continue to drive loyalty from their customer base.”

This is a strategic emphasis echoed by Stephan Tanda, CEO of Aptar, which took the no. 1 spot on the Green Growth 50. Aptar makes myriad drug delivery systems and dispensing products for consumer goods, especially foods and cosmetics. “We look at everything we do through a sustainability lens.” Most of Aptar’s facilities in Europe are already certified landfill free. By the end of the year Aptar is looking to achieve “80% disposal avoidance.”

It’s a business that involves reconciling contradictions — most of their products are plastic, which he says actually has a pretty low carbon footprint relative to alternative containers. A new Aptar product is a “monomaterial” lotion pump with no metal parts, entirely recyclable.

Consumer demand for such new products is arguably more impactful than the kind of government policy circus on display at the recent COP26 meetings in Glasgow, Scotland.

“Governments don’t impact what we do that much. Consumers and patients and customers demand what we do,” says Tanda. They will pay for the carbon transition because it is what they want. Listening to the consumers is how Tanda aims to “future proof our business.”

That approach has worked for electricity giant AES, which landed no. 15 on the Green Growth 50 list after reducing emissions by 22%, replacing coal-fired power plants with wind, solar and batteries — “a winning combination that can decarbonize 90% of the grid,” says Chris Shelton, president of AES Next. Because the costs of renewables kept going down, they were able to shift customers over under a “green, blend and extend” program.

AES also operates a kind of inhouse venture capital operation. Its Fluence utility-scale battery joint venture with Siemens recently went public and now sports a $6 billion market cap — the company behind some of the biggest battery installations in the world.

There used to be a large group of companies “in denial” about mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. “That group is vanishing fast,” with companies moving over to the “bargaining” group, where they want to know the minimum they have to do to get by and keep activists off their back — that’s the insight of Chris Romer, cofounder of Project Canary, which installs laser-based sensors at industrial sites to monitor methane leakages.

The landmark ESG moment, he says, was last year’s ExxonMobil annual meeting, where shareholders voted in more green-friendly board members.  There’s no going back. Romer says manufacturers can already earn multiples of their monitoring and certification costs by selling “green” products at a premium.

Even on the Green Growth 50, some companies are less enthusiastic than others. Nicotine giant Altria for example, positioned at no. 35 on our list, seems to be doing just enough, having cut emissions by 10% in the studied time period. But according to its most recent sustainability report, Altria’s renewable energy use is just 2.3% of its total, a surprisingly meager ratio.

Altria also demonstrates how hard it can be to stick to a well intentioned program. The company was making great strides toward reducing the amount of waste it was sending to the landfill. In 2018 it nearly hit its 21 million pounds goal. But 2019 wrecked the trend, when Altria delivered 87 million tons to landfill — mostly rubble from a headquarters renovation. Their next challenge: reducing litter from cigarette butts.

Stronger performers included Eli Lilly, which ranked eighth on our list after the pharmaceutical company swapped out old light bulbs for LEDs at three plants, saving 330 mwh per year. And Bristol Myers Squibb, which heats its Munich, Germany office building with 100% geothermal energy, found itself at no. 13. Church & Dwight, parent company of Arm & Hammer, has meanwhile placed third on the list, having achieved its goals of no more PVC in packaging, and offsets carbon emissions by planting millions of trees in the Mississippi River Valley.

I’m an assistant editor based in New York covering money and markets for Forbes. In the past, I covered minority communities for the Boston Business Journal

Christopher Helman

Tracking energy innovators from Houston, Texas. Forbes reporter since 1999.

Source: Green Growth 50: Learning From Companies Boosting Profits While Cutting Emissions

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Related contents:

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10 Persuasive Writing Techniques To 10X Your Marketing Copy

Persuasion is a powerful word for anyone in the marketing space. The ultimate goal of your marketing, after all, is to persuade people to buy from you. But how do you persuade people when everyone seems to sell them something? What tools do you have at your disposal to make your writing more persuasive?

Today, I want to answer all these questions for you by first showing you the persuasion strategy a Nobel-winning laureate developed that will transform the way you write your copy.

Then, I want to share my favorite ten persuasive techniques that will 10x your copy fast.

Let’s get started.

What Is Persuasive Writing?

Persuasive writing is a method that leverages human biases to make a message more attractive in the eye of the recipient.

How to Be Persuasive: A Psychological Explanation

If I asked you whether you are a rational or an irrational person, what would you say? Most likely, you’d pick the former. Sure, you can get emotional every so often, but most likely, you are in charge of your emotions, thoughts, and actions.

Other people are dumb and irrational, but you’re not. You’re different. In reality, all humans fall for the same irrational behaviors and thinking patterns. We consistently make cognitive mistakes that go against our self-interest, despite our deepest efforts not to make them.

Consider smoking: every smoker knows he should stop doing it, but they can’t stop. Most smokers want to quit, but their addictions are simply too strong. It’s not that they can’t stop; it’s that they won’t. We can say the same of highly indebted people; these are people who have maxed out their cards, yet they keep buying shit they don’t need.

Before the 1970s, economists used to think people were rational. Every decision people took was in favor of maximizing their utility—whether that was comfort, health, money, or anything else. Leave people be people, and they’ll do fine. If only it were so easy.

From the 70s onwards, some fringe economists started to question the normative view of human behavior in favor of a more descriptive one; a theory that could explain, for example, why people who win three bets in a row at the casino think they have a higher likelihood of keeping their winning streak, despite having no probabilistic (i.e., rational) reason to believe so. “They’re idiots,” you’d say, but it’s more than that. It’s that they’re humans; they can be irrational when given a chance.

I won’t dwell on the details of their “prospect theory,” as explained in their seminal paper of the same name, but on another part of their extensive theoretical bibliography, one that focuses on the way humans think. According to Kahneman, who wrote the best-selling book Thinking, Fast and Slow based on his extensive research with Tversky, humans think through a pair systems:

  1. The “Automatic System.”
  2. The “Reflective System.”

In Kahneman’s words:

System 1 operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control.

System 2 allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations. The operations of System 2 are often associated with the subjective experience of agency, choice, and concentration.

While both systems work in tandem, more often than not, system 1 takes over the system 2, without us realizing it, making us do things we often can’t explain.

When we think of ourselves, we identify with System 2, the conscious, reasoning self that has beliefs, makes choices, and decides what to think about and what to do. Although System 2 believes itself to be where the action is, the automatic System 1 is the hero of the book.

I describe System 1 as effortlessly originating impressions and feelings that are the main sources of the explicit beliefs and deliberate choices of System 2. The automatic operations of System 1 generate surprisingly complex patterns of ideas, but only the slower System 2 can construct thoughts in an orderly series of steps.

The main takeaway from Kahneman’s theory is that as a marketer, your goal is to work with your prospect’s system 1. This system is what influences the rationale of your prospects, whether they’re aware of it or not.

If you ever made a purchase where everything “felt” right—a situation in which you didn’t need to be sold anything, you just wanted to buy that product—then your system 1 was influencing your system 2, thus overriding any second thought you may have had against that purchase.

System 1 continuously generates suggestions for System 2: impressions, intuitions, intentions, and feelings. If endorsed by System 2, impressions and intuitions turn into beliefs, and impulses turn into voluntary actions.

When all goes smoothly, which is most of the time, System 2 adopts the suggestions of System 1 with little or no modification. You generally believe your impressions and act on your desires, and that is fine—usually.

What I’m covering is just a tiny piece of Kahneman and Tversky’s theories; there’s a whole lot more to write about how both systems work and how biases influence people’s thinking.

For now, I want you to remember this:

The entire list of persuasive techniques featured in this article focus on leveraging your prospect’s system 1. If you use these persuasive techniques in your writing or advertising, you’ll be persuasive.

Let’s now take a quick look at a simple persuasion strategy you can use and adapt within your marketing campaigns.

A Simple Persuasion Strategy

To use the persuasion strategies laid below, you want to have a strategy that helps you tie all of them together in a logical fashion.

To this extent, I’ll use Roger Dooley’s Persuasion Slide, which he structured in the following way: Here’s how this slide works:

  1. You start by giving a “nudge” to your visitors by having them pay attention to an ad, an offer, or something of value.
  2. Then, you leverage the target’s internal motivation—the gravity; and,
  3. You add additional motivation—your angle.
  4. Both things allow you to overcome resistance—friction—and get to your ultimate goal, which can be a purchase, a subscription, or anything else.

The ten persuasion writing techniques you’ll see below will touch in any of the four elements of the persuasion slide. Whenever you pick one of the techniques, you’ll be affecting of these four elements.

Whatever technique you pick, make sure to remember the ultimate goal: having your visitor continue down the slide. And yes, the following list of persuasive writing techniques will work with your prospect’s system 1. I didn’t forget about that.

Without further ado, let’s dive deep into the ten techniques that will show you how to write persuasively…...Continue reading..

Ivan Kreimer profile photo

 

By: Ivan Kreimer

Source: 10 Persuasive Writing Techniques to 10X Your Marketing Copy

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Related contents:

Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. London: Methuen. ISBN 9780415027960.Haas, Christina. (1996). Writing technology: Studies on the materiality of literacy. Mahwah, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates.

Institutional Ethnography: A Sociology for People. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 105–108. ISBN 978-0-7591-0502-7.Anderson, Jack. (2008). “The Collection and Organization of Written Knowledge.” In Handbook of Research on Writing, ed. Charles Bazerman, New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 177-190.

A Short History of the World. p. 41.Bazerman, Charles (2013). “Literacy and the Organization of Society”. A Theory of Literate Action, Vol. 2 (PDF). Anderson, SC: Parlor Press. p. 193. ISBN 978-1-60235-477-7. Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.

“Endangered Literacies? Affordances of Paper-Based Literacy in Medical Practice and Its Persistence in the Transition to Digital Technology”. Written Communication. 34 (4): 359–386. doi:10.1177/0741088317723304. ISSN 0741-0883. S2CID 149050969.

The World’s Writing Systems. Peter T. Daniels, William Bright. New York: Oxford University Press. 1996. pp. 3–4. ISBN 0-19-507993-0. OCLC 31969720. Archived from the original on 30 July 2022. Retrieved 7 July 2022.

“The Khipu Database Project”. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2008.Chandler, Daniel (1990). “Do the write thing?”. Electric Word. 17: 27–30.Chandler, Daniel (1992). “The phenomenology of writing by hand”. Intelligent Tutoring Media. 3 (2/3): 65–74. doi:10.1080/14626269209408310.

Wilford, John Noble (15 September 2006). “Writing May Be Oldest in Western Hemisphere”. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 27 July 2018. Retrieved 30 March 2008. A stone slab bearing 3,000-year-old writing previously unknown to scholars has been found in the Mexican state of Veracruz,

Oldest’ New World writing found”. BBC. Archived from the original on 3 April 2008. Retrieved 30 March 2008. Ancient civilisations in Mexico developed a writing system as early as 900 BC, new evidence suggests.Rodríguez Martínez, Maria del Carmen; et al. (2006).

“Oldest Writing in the New World”. Science. 313 (5793): 1610–1614. Bibcode:2006Sci…313.1610R. doi:10.1126/science.1131492. PMID 16973873. S2CID 35140904. Archived from the original on 30 March 2008. Retrieved 30 March 2008. A block with a hitherto unknown system of writing has been found in the Olmec heartland of Veracruz, Mexico.Saturno, William A.; David Stuart; Boris Beltrán (3 March 2006).

“Early Maya Writing at San Bartolo, Guatemala”. Science. 311 (5765): 1281–1283. Bibcode:2006Sci…311.1281S. doi:10.1126/science.1121745. PMID 16400112. S2CID 46351994. Archived from the original on 30 July 2022. Retrieved 29 November 2019.

“Ancient writing found in Turkmenistan”. BBC. 15 May 2001. Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 30 March 2008. A previously unknown civilisation was using writing in Central Asia 4,000 years ago, hundreds of years before Chinese writing developed, archaeologists have discovered.  

The Cambridge History of Ancient China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 74–123. ISBN 978-0-521-47030-8.“Archaeologists Rewrite History”. China Daily. 12 June 2003. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2012.Rincon, Paul (17 April 2003).

“‘Earliest writing’ found in China”. BBC News. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2012. Signs carved into 8,600-year-old tortoise shells found in China may be the earliest written words, say archaeologistsGoldwasser, Orly. “How the Alphabet Was Born from Hieroglyphs”, Biblical Archaeology Review, Mar/Apr 2010

“Cretan writing in the second millennium B.C.” World Archaeology. 17 (3): 377–389. doi:10.1080/00438243.1986.9979977. S2CID 163509308. Archived from the original on 30 July 2022. Retrieved 29 November 2019.Whitehouse, David (1999). “

‘Earliest writing’ found Archived 2 February 2020 at the Wayback Machine” BBCFarrell, William J. (1992). “The Power of Writing”. The WAC Journal. 3 (2): 1–3. doi:10.37514/WAC-J.1992.3.2.02. ISSN 1544-4929.

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