Speaking with Annie of ‘Haven Natural Brew‘ is a lot like being back on the farm (Not that I ever lived on a farm but I once read a tweet about one). The summer breeze caresses the earpiece of my Cisco 7970 as Annie splits her attention between our conversation and her summer garden. It’s a far cry from my Boston office where dual monitors and social media feeds rule the horizon.
Annie tells me about Haven Tea, the Haven farm legacy, and I begin to think about fixing myself a cup… it’s not until twenty minutes later that I realize she is talking about manure, not drinking tea! Though, she assures me that they are both brewed the same way. I go on to learn that Haven is an all natural growing aid used by hobbyists and professionals alike. They’ve been preparing their ‘brew’ for years on their Southern California farm. I wanted to get an opinion on the ‘Green’ movement as it relates to small businesses, particularly from someone who’s always been ‘Green’…
Annie speaks about ‘Green’ with a certain disdain, much like the fan of an artist, an artist who’s gone from a cult following to Billboard 100 stardom. She goes on to tell me about inconsistencies in ‘Green’ behavior particularly within the agricultural industry. According to Annie, large companies have been the primary benefactors of the green movement particularly when Federal Grants and Green Contracts have gone to anything but “small” businesses. Annies type of ‘eco-one-uping’ wouldn’t be uncommon to hear whilst passing through the streets of my Cambridge Massachusetts but coming from the Haven farm it seemed much more genuine.
The truth is that the ‘Green’ movement has brought about some unreconciled confusion as to what ‘Green’ actually means. Now your probably expecting me to serve up a self-made strict set of guidelines right about now but… nobody really knows. I wrote about the ambiguity of ‘Green’ in my Bank of America article Green Business? What Does that Even Mean? where I explored the idea of setting up Federal standards for ‘Green’. Don’t tell Annie that though, she cringes at the idea of government intervention.
The public seems to put some value on businesses that label themselves ‘Green’ but with absolutely zero standards for what ‘Green’ means, it’s hard to see how green small businesses, with a true environmental focus and all of the extra time and costs that entails, can compete with large companies that usurp the same reputation benefits by squeezing a ‘Green’ message into the last 5 seconds of a 30 second commecial slot.
I too view government intervention as an unfavorable option but I can’t really think of a remedy for this conundrum, can you?