Green future?

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Compared to interactive marketing, "green" marketing is a revolution that never quite established itself as a permanent feature in the business landscape. No longer are disposable products and wasteful packaging the ground zero of the environmental movement. But "green" has not gone away. It has merely transformed itself. Wise marketers will pay heed.

When Earth Day marks its 30th anniversary this week, many of today's environmental activists will be marching in Washington against economic globalism -- not overflowing garbage dumps. But popular concerns about the environmental and health aspects of consumer products remain. Much of that attention is in foods, where public interest in "natural" and organically grown food products continues to slowly grow and attract business attention. Consider the rapid growth of natural/organic food retailer Whole Foods (and public concern about new genetically engineered foodstuffs).

Those package-goods companies that see little to gain from pushing green products in today's economy -- and little to fear from their former environmental critics -- should nevertheless be prepared to respond when green again is the color of money.

Thirty years of Earth Days have left government officials, community leaders, parents, school kids -- a wide swath of the population -- familiar with recycling and the benefits of buying green. The question for business is what future event or social development will put green back in the news and on shopping lists.

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