When the Sales Pitch Fails

Ethics aside, sometimes you have to "win ugly." Or, as Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders is famous for saying, sometimes you have to "just win, baby." It doesn't matter how. Often the only way to overcome cultural resistance is to wait for the person in charge to go away, whether by leaving the company, getting fired, retiring, or dying.

That was the case when we tried to change our trail maps and marketing materials from a virgin paper product to something with postconsumer recycled content, like what this book is printed on. It seemed deeply hypocritical to make any claims as a green business but to keep printing most of our marketing materials—hundreds of thousands of printed units—on virgin paper. By printing on high levels of postconsumer waste, we could turn a bad—printing a bunch of stuff that ultimately becomes garbage after using up loads of energy—into a good: by buying the postconsumer paper, we'd be supporting a market for recycled product waste.

But when I proposed this to our marketing manager at the time, she said simply:

Recycled paper, she said, looks dirty and grimy. Worse, if you make trail maps out of it, when the maps get wet "they get all crinkly. And anyway—this is Aspen. We print beautiful, glossy brochures. We don't do recycled paper. We don't want our stuff to look like brown paper bags from the supermarket." I knew at the time that this was absurd. The crinkliness of recycled paper was as much a figment of her imagination as the notion that fluorescent bulbs don't save energy. But her personality was such that she wouldn't budge. My solution? Nothing artful, profit-realizing, glorious, or even intelligent. I waited for her to leave the company, then tried again. She was replaced, and her position was filled over time by two different women with open minds (and husbands who were my occasional drinking buddies). Now Aspen Skiing Company prints on 100 percent postconsumer waste. The marketing materials are clear, clean, and beautiful, and the trail maps don't get crinkly in the snow.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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