上周，我在加州拉古那尼克参加了《财富》杂志“绿色头脑风暴”（Brainstorm Green）会议的小组讨论。同时参加小组讨论的还有Method的联合创始人兼Greenskeeper亚当•劳瑞以及gDiapers 的联合首席执行官杰森•格雷汉姆-奈尔。
此次讨论帮助我们理解了绿色先锋意味着什么。当然，首先是提供挑战主流的产品。Method颠覆了香皂、清洁剂等日用品的概念，将高性能的环保产品与时尚个性融合。gDiapers提供的可冲尿片阻断了源源不断的尿片垃圾，如今尿片已成为全球垃圾填埋第三大来源。我的公司受到瞩目是因为我们提供低糖有机饮品，先是针对成人的Honest Tea，接着是面向更广大人群的Honest Ade和Honest Kids。
我们和消费者的关系都不同于一般产品买卖的交易关系。gDiapers把一次办公室开放日活动变成了留宿晚会，很多母亲和婴儿从全美各地飞到俄勒冈州波特兰，庆贺她们共同的坚持成就了环保事业。Method与成千上万名、充满激情的People Against Dirty宣传者进行每日对话。近日，有一位宣传者认为，向女朋友求婚的最佳地点是Method的旧金山办公室，在整个公司面前（他求婚了，她答应了！）。至于Honest Tea，4月30日我们将在纽约时代广场举行Great Recycle（完成30英尺高的回收桶）将吸引纽约市和全美数千位消费者，我们希望能提高回收率。
Last week I participated in a panel on Green Insurgents at Fortune's Brainstorm Green conference in Laguna Niguel, California. My fellow panelists were Adam Lowry, co-founder and Greenskeeper of Method and Jason Graham-Nye, dad/co-CEO of gDiapers.
The discussion helped illuminate what it means to be a Green Insurgent, beyond of course the obligatory funky job titles, (according to this TeaEO). Clearly, it starts with offering products that challenge mainstream offerings. Method hijacked the stale category of soaps and cleansers by combining fashion and style with high-performing, eco-friendly products. gDiapers changed the waste stream of diapers by offering a flushable alternative to a category that is the third largest contributor to landfills around the world. And my company rose to prominence by offering lower-sugar organic drinks first for adults with Honest Tea, then to the broader population, with Honest Ade and Honest Kids.
Once our products were launched, we each grew primarily through grassroots marketing. While it might be quaint to think this was a strategic decision, none of us had the budget for a real advertising campaign. As a result, we grew through word-of-mouth. Consumers adopted us as their own and became advocates for us – forcing our products on their friends, and occasionally harassing store personnel who failed to restock our products.
We've each taken the special relationships with our consumers beyond just the transactional relationship of selling and buying product. For gDiapers an office open house turned into a slumber party, with moms and babies, flying into Portland, OR from all over the country to celebrate their shared commitment to a lighter environmental footprint. For Method, it means a daily dialogue with thousands of their most passionate advocates, the People Against Dirty. Recently, one advocate decided the perfect place to propose to his girlfriend would be in Method's offices in San Francisco, in front of the whole company (he did, and she said yes!). For Honest Tea, our Great Recycle in Times Square on April 30 (complete with 30 foot high recycling bin) will engage thousands of consumers in NYC and around the country as we seek to boost recycling rates.
Not coincidentally, we were all supported by angel investors during our start-up phases. This kind of patient, non-invasive capital helped give us the confidence to go out further on limbs, whereas the general trend of institutional investors is to steer management toward more conventional paths to growth. Honest Tea would have grown faster if we had created sweeter and cheaper recipes, but because we stuck to low-sugar, organic formulations, we developed a meaningful point of differentiation on congested beverage shelves.
We have all served as unofficial R&D units for our competitors. Method has seen a wave of conventional cleaning companies enter the green space, and the entire laundry detergent category has now concentrated to a greener format in part due to method's innovation. gDiapers started the idea of designer nappies (as the Aussies call them), and saw Pampers and others follow its lead. And CapriSun lowered its average calorie count from 100 to 75, and supported drink pouch collection brigades, once our innovations started to gain traction. We all agreed that mimicry is not only a form of flattery, but consistent with our broader goals of steering our industries toward a more sustainable path.