On Jan. 22, a group of 10 major corporations, including Alcoa Inc., DuPont and General Electric Co., joined forces with leading environmental groups to call for a nationwide limit on carbon dioxide emissions that would lead to a reduction of 10% to 30% during the next 15 years.
The following day, President Bush, in his State of the Union address, called for plans to reduce Americans' use of gasoline by 20% during the next decade through the use of alternative energy. And in the Jan. 29 cover story in BusinessWeek, titled "Beyond the Green Corporation," McKinsey Global Institute Chairman Lenny Mendonca was quoted as saying that sustainability, or meeting humanity's needs without harming future generations, is now "right at the top of the agenda" of more U.S. CEOs.
Greener World Media—a b-to-b media company created last year to focus on business and the environment—is ramping up its operations against the backdrop of these dramatic trends.
The company last month hired b-to-b media veteran Pete May as president-publisher. May was most recently a senior VP at Prism Business Media, where he oversaw 12 print publications and Web sites in the entertainment, technology, electronics and power delivery markets.
At Greener, May will oversee an aggressive growth plan, including the launch of newsletters, Web sites, multimedia channels and a networking platform for green professionals. New products will focus on greener operations, greener computing and greener design.
"Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves—the timing is very good," May said. "There's a lot that's new, but Joel [Makower, executive editor of Greener] has been focusing on this market for 20 years."
In 1999 Makower founded GreenBiz.com as a nonprofit Web site. In 2001 he merged it with the National Environmental Education & Training Foundation, a nonprofit created by Congress to promote environmental literacy. In 2006, Makower purchased the media properties from NEETF to form Greener World Media, a for-profit company.
In addition to GreenBiz.com, the company's properties include GreenerBuildings.com and ClimateBiz.com, along with their respective e-newsletters. Advertisers in the products include Hewlett-Packard Co. and newresourcebank.com.
Greener plans to ramp up spending on advertising, search engine marketing and search engine optimization. "It's basic blocking and tackling right now," May said, adding that the company is also building its staff.
May is currently working with the so-called "Green 16," a group of Fortune 500 companies from various industries, to drum up initial sponsors for the company's various Web sites. He's also huddling with a Fortune 100 company to develop a six- to 10-city road show touting green business practices in the small and midsize business market.
"Green has moved [in corporate America] from risk mitigation, to improving the bottom line, to driving the top line," May said.
Jeff Reinhardt, managing director of media investment bank Berkery, Noyes & Co., who worked closely with May at Prism and Primedia, said May has a talent for "spotting trends, picking good partners, turning ideas into revenue, and building and supporting communities."
Reinhardt added that the embrace of green business practices is happening at Fortune 1,000 companies and has the support of executive management, and he pointed to new ad campaigns from major marketers touting their "environmental-friendly status."
"This may be the result of a generational shift," Reinhardt said. "Those at the helm of large companies are the next, newer generation of leaders who grew up caring and fighting for the environment."