Water Weight

What is the cost of water?

As a marketer, you may never have thought to ask yourself this question, but you should.

It takes 30 gallons of water to produce a single slice of bread, 10 gallons to produce a gallon of gasoline and, according to a recent New York Times article, many of our most promising clean-energy solutions, from solar farms to biofuel refineries to cleaner coal plants, would require several billion gallons more each year.

Today, while flooding, drought, climate change and an aging water infrastructure set us on a path toward worldwide water crisis, water is more valuable than ever.

But the question on the minds of marketers should not be the value of water, but rather, the cost.

For marketers who wait to make water a focus of their social responsibility campaigns, the cost of water could be their client or company's hard-earned reputation.

Water has turned the green movement on its head. Some of our most iconic "green" industries --- agriculture and clean energy --- have emerged as the biggest environmental offenders for their wasteful water practices. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency named agriculture the single largest contributor to water pollution in the U.S.

Former president Bill Clinton said on "The Late Show with David Letterman," "In 20 years, we'll have more fighting over water than there ever was over oil." The war on water has already begun in many parts of the U.S. As Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar pointed out in a February Wall Street Journal editorial, crippling drought in California's Central Valley has pitted farmers against environmentalists, with local government caught in the crossfire. But as tensions over water reach a steady boil, so do opportunities for marketers to get in front of the water crisis by encouraging their clients or company to adopt sustainable water practices and use them to gain a competitive edge.

A recent survey conducted by AlwaysOn and KPMG found that water is expected to receive more venture capital investment over the next two years than alternative fuels, green building materials, wind or clean coal.

Some of our country's most trusted investors, including Vinod Khosla and Kleiner Perkins, have begun to put their weight behind water. Media are catching the wave, too, with the New York Times' "Toxic Waters" series serving as a prime example.

It is easier than ever for companies to change their water habits. By launching company-wide conservation initiatives and using new affordable water purification and recycling appliances, some of our most recognizable brands have been able to reduce their water footprint by 80% to 90%, all the while scaling back energy costs and safeguarding their businesses against future water challenges. A major coffee retailer saved 6 million gallons of drinking water by turning off faucets that had previously been running continuously. Similarly, a major shopping chain was able to cut water usage by 30% across 70 locations by installing water-saving toilets.

Adam Bluestein of Inc. magazine had it right when he said, "Blue is the new green." As green marketers, we should not stand back and watch water unravel the reputations of social responsibility we have build with our clients/companies , but rather, encourage them to find their place at the forefront of sustainability's future --- the blue movement.

5 comments about "Water Weight ".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Michael Lehman from Levenson and Hill, November 11, 2009 at 1:49 p.m.

    Which is why business sages such as T. Boone Pickens are making their moves.

  2. Rodney Brooks from ToTouch One, Inc, November 11, 2009 at 2:21 p.m.

    Get where the green movement was looking up now we have a a war on water.

  3. Chris Corbett from KMA Direct Communications, November 11, 2009 at 3:18 p.m.

    Another bit of barely comprehensible finger-wagging on the part of those trying to make a buck on a movement that is destroying productivity and depriving people of food.

    Frankly, I'm not quite sure what specific advice this article is trying to offer to marketers, as the thoughts seem rather scattered. Of course companies should turn their faucets off when they're not using them. Of course, companies should pass water savings on to customers. Of course they should tell their customers this. And of course companies should not recklessly pollute. But how this becomes a major marketing strategy is, I suppose, only apparent to consultants who can talk companies into spending money to stray from their core missions.

    But this article goes beyond that to spread dangerous anti-water, anti-food, anti-humanity propaganda in the name of marketing advice. Let me be specific with just one representative example: the California drought.

    In the name of the "green" movement's goal of saving a three-inch smelt, "tens of billions of gallons of water from mountains east and north of Sacramento have been channelled away from farmers and into the ocean, leaving hundreds of thousands of acres of arable land fallow or scorched" (Wall Street Journal, 9/2/09, "California's Man Made Drought.") California's central valley was a bread-basket to America and the world . . . until the green Gestapo moved in.

    One of the main culprits of this travesty is none other than Ken Salazar, one of the "green" heroes of this article. Republicans and Democrats alike in California -- where the federal government's devastating protection of the smelt has helped jack central valley unemployment up to 40% in some communities -- have pleaded with the Obama interior department headed by Mr. Salazar for relief. But they will get no relief. The "green" war on "blue" water continues.

    Worse, this nightmare is being replicated across the country and the world as "green" fanatics destroy the "blue" water resources in a power-grab that uses "endangered species" and "global warming" as an excuse.

    Never mind that hungry children are more important than smelt. Never mind that the "endangered" status of many of these allegedly imperiled species is highly questionable. Never mind that the number of credentialed climate scientists who are skeptical of the whole "man-made climate change" shtick is growing into the thousands, that global temperatures are falling, that a number of European leaders are abandoning a belief in global warming, and that most Americans now disbelieve in a man-made global warming holocaust.

    No, power-mad politicos and slick "green" marketers will not stop wagging their fingers at productive Americans, and push unprofitable and un-needed industries like wind and solar, as long as they can make their own "green" (the paper kind) in the process.

    I have a proposition: if "blue" is so important (and it is), why don't "green" marketers put their energy into stopping tragedies like the federal government's strangling of California's water supply? Why doesn't Ms. Esteves recruit a nationwide campaign of grocers to weigh in and convince Interior Secretary Salazar or President Obama to give California back its water, so that millions in America and worldwide won't be deprived of food?

    In comparison to crying wolf over the fading probability of a climate change crisis that might occur at some indefinite point in the future, why not attack a real crisis in the here and now?

  4. kim northrop, November 13, 2009 at 2:55 p.m.

    If you think commercial agriculture is not disastrously unsustainable you need to do more reading. Suggested: Collapse, by Jared Diamond, The Botany of Desire and The Ominvore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

  5. Alan Smith from Web Marketing Company, November 19, 2009 at 4:29 a.m.


    Good information about online business.

    <a href=”” title=” Web Marketing Services”>Web Marketing Services</a>

Next story loading loading..