Monthly Archives: December 2015

Differing motivations drive green movement

The world is changing, and so too are the ways consumers shop and evaluate the businesses with whom they patronize. One of the biggest changes is the value placed on corporate social responsibility and environmental stewardship.

Around 2008, a heightened awareness of the environment had developed a new breed of consumer that is growing exponentially. This new consumer is demanding that the products they buy be environmentally friendly and that the companies that produce the products be more concerned about their effect on the environment.

This heightened awareness has led to a huge movement whose goal is to “green” the world. New organizations are being established with new business models, and individuals are seeking new and greener products. Consumers are increasingly demanding that the brands they interact with are environmentally and socially responsible.

So who are the people that make up this sector of environmentally concerned?

One such group of people are LOHAS, an acronym that stands for “Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability.” LOHAS followers make up 17 percent of the market segment and are focused on health and fitness, the environment, personal development, sustainable living and social justice.

According to sociologist and author Paul H. Ray, the LOHAS marketplace serves a consumer movement he calls the “Cultural Creatives.” In research conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute, more than 63 million nationwide LOHAS consumers support businesses that share their commitment to natural living and the health of their families, communities and the environment.

Another influential group, called Naturalists, makes up an additional 17 percent of the market segment. This group focuses on health and organic goods but are not politically active in environmentalism.

A third group — representing a whopping 24 percent of the consumer pie — are called Drifters. This market segment has good intentions toward saving the environment, but various factors such as cost and convenience influence their behavior.

A fourth market segment is made up of Conventionals. Members of this group do not have “green attitudes” but do take mainstream actions, such as recycling and conserving energy.

And last, there are the Unconcerned. This group does not exhibit behavior that prioritizes the environment or society.

Though both LOHAS and Naturalists have a preference toward environmentally sustainable products, there is no substitute for quality and great customer service. Even if your product is environmentally sustainable but does not perform as well as less sustainable products, you may not be able to capture this target hard-line environmental market.

But if your product is better than your competitor’s and you have a better than average customer service reputation, chances are you already dominate the 42 percent of the U.S. consumer segment that fall into the categories of Conventionals and Unconcerned. You may also control the majority of the Drifters too. So it stands to reason that if your product outperforms your competitors and you can prove it to be more environmentally friendly without compromising the quality, then you have a good chance of capturing the LOHAS and Naturalites with very little extra effort.

There are four key motivators that drive interest in the environment:

The first is “Personal Protection” with the perception: “The environment is getting worse, and I need to protect myself and my family.” This is referred to as, In Me, On Me, and Around Me. That pertains to the increased use of organic foods and natural cosmetics, etc. Consumers are looking for natural alternatives to products that they use. A recent LOHAS survey identified that after automobiles, household cleaners constitute the category of highest environmental concern for most consumers.

A second motivation is cost. With the increase in energy costs, families are looking at any means that help them save money.

An easy and affordable way to save on electricity would be the use of new energy-efficient light bulbs. This product is simple to install, relatively inexpensive to buy and lowers energy bills. This consumer is looking for help to make small steps toward living greener but is not willing to sacrifice for efficiency, price, availability or brand. This consumer is not likely to go out and buy a new refrigerator or washer and dryer just to save energy. But when it comes time to replace nonworking appliances, they will probably look closely at cost vs. energy savings.

A third motivation is “status.” Again, the average majority is not likely to abandon their great running automobile for a fuel-efficient hybrid or all-electric vehicle. But with the trend toward environmental consciousness, there are those status-seeking individuals who have the disposable income that will buy the Tesla or Prius or have solar panels installed on their home as a show of status.

The fourth key motivation and perhaps the least influential is “Altruism.” These consumers make their decisions because they genuinely care about the environment and believe that it is “the right thing to do.”

If a product can be proven to be environmentally safe for use on or around the consumer’s family and cost the same as or less to use and not harm the planet, it stands to reason that even the most casual environmental consumer would choose that product over a competitor.

The number of companies that are becoming greener and more socially responsible is growing despite the worldwide economic turmoil, and indications are that this interest in becoming greener will continue to grow.

This transition is being driven by consumer demands, which in turn spurs corporate competition, which translates into the Triple Bottom Line concept for sustainability, addressing economic, environmental and social business effects — otherwise known as People – Planet – Profit.

By making environmentally conscientious changes in the way your business buys, sells and creates its products, with operating on a good core of environmental principals, you can attract a large segment of the consumer population that is looking for a way to make their spending dollars count.

Craig Ruark is the author of “Marketing Your Green Side: A Practical Guide to Greening and Marketing Your Business,” available at


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Recycling gets a boost

The all-too-common photos of garbage dumps filled to capacity, nearly overflowing with plastic trash bags, put a visual explanation point on the fact that Americans produce a lot of waste.

That being said, the recycling movement started several decades ago by hard-core environmental activists to help save the environment is now becoming a necessity as we start running out of places to dump the accumulated waste.

In the Las Vegas Valley, both household participation rates and the amount of material being recycled are increasing. And for businesses that recycle, they are able to see a significant cost saving on their monthly bill from Republic Services.

Let’s start with your standard office building.

The majority of office waste, 75 percent or more, consists of paper products and plastic water bottles, both valuable commodities sought by waste recycling companies. By implementing a recycling program, a business can decrease the amount of its annual garbage collection bill by adding one or two less expensive recycle bins and eliminating multiple trash containers as well as reducing the number of trash pickups.

The cost of a standard 3-cubic-yard container with two pickups per week is $288 per month. The charge for a once-a-week pickup is only $144. In contrast, the cost of a 3-cubic-yard recycling container is around $130 per month, for two pickups per week. It is possible for a business to save $3,000 to $5,000 per year on trash removal by establishing an office building-wide recycling program.

The two challenges for business recycling are making sure that each employee participates and that the recycling stays clean, meaning that food-contaminated trash must be kept out of the recycle stream.

According to Bob Coyle, a government relations and recycling consultant for Republic Services, all of the hotels in the resort corridor and downtown Las Vegas participate in recycling.

Outside of the resorts, Republic serves about 20,000 commercial businesses, and of that number, there are about 3,500 recycling customers. But among those 20,000 businesses, there are auto repair shops, restaurants and other type businesses that don’t generate a lot of recyclable material because of food waste, grease and oil contamination. Because Republic does not break out office buildings separately,”we feel that the current business recycling customer base is a pretty good number, and we have significantly penetrated the available market,” Coyle said.

As a business, one of the advantages of recycling is the appeal to the environmentally conscientious customer who is looking to do business with companies that care about the environment.

The largest gain in recycling participation has come from individual residents.

Before 2009, each residence was provided with three “milk crates” — the familiar red, white and blue containers that hold 12 gallons of recyclable material each for a total of 36 gallons of capacity. The crates took up a lot of storage space in the garage, compounded by the fact that they were emptied every other week only and required three trips to the curb on recycling day. Also, the containers were open and on windy days were a challenge to residents to keep the paper and plastic contents from blowing away.

And those residents that had watched the recycle truck go through the neighborhood were frustrated by the fact that they took the time to separate the paper, plastic, and glass material, only to have it all co-mingled in the recycling truck. Needless to say, participation in the recycling program was low.

In December 2009, North Las Vegas approved the citywide implementation of single-stream waste recycling. Henderson followed suit in March 2013.

In just those two cities, “We have seen roughly a 500 percent increase in recycling,” Coyle said. “We used to get 2 to 3 pounds per week on average per home, and now we are seeing between 12 and 14 pounds on average per home.” The reason for the increase is convenience.

Under the single-stream recycling program, each home receives a 96-gallon container with wheels and a lid that is emptied on a weekly basis, nearly tripling the recycling capacity and convenience to the residents. Because of the weekly collection of a single bin on wheels and the elimination of recycling day confusion (on the same day as normal trash pickup each week), Republic Services has seen an estimated 90 percent participation rate.

In November 2013, Clark County commissioners approved single-stream recycling for the unincorporated areas of the county. There are approximately 235,000 homes in Clark County, of which approximately 25,000 homes are in the program. The holdup to implementing the program into more homes has been a capacity issue on Republic Services end.

But the capacity issue has been resolved with the Dec. 2 opening of a new 110,000-square-foot recycling center with advanced recycling technologies. The new recycling center is capable of separating and processing 70 tons per hour, up from the 25 tons per hour capacity in the old building. The new facility was designed and constructed based upon estimated valley-wide recycling needs, about 150,000 tons annually based upon the current population, and the estimated growth in recycling for the next 10 to 15 years and the ability to process up to 265,000 tons of material annually.

Starting in January 2016, the goal is to bring 10,000 new homes per month throughout Clark County into the single-stream recycling program. It is anticipated that Las Vegas will approve a new contract by January or February 2016 to allow single-stream recycling for residents within the city’s jurisdiction.

Coyle said, “That all depends on what is happening with the medical marijuana business applications. Our agenda item has been pushed back a number of times due to the soccer stadium at the tail end of last year and on-going medical marijuana licensing issues this year.”

Approximately 15,000 homes out of the 165,000 total homes in Las Vegas are on a pilot program.


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Solar advocates hoping for a Christmas week miracle

The issue of solar net metering was not on the agenda of the state’s Public Utilities Commission meeting Dec.2. However, when it came time for public comments, the group calling itself “We Are Solar” had plenty to say.

In a scene reminiscent of the final courthouse scene of the Christmas movie “Miracle on 34th Street,” volunteers placed stacks of postcard-sized petitions, neatly tied with green and yellow ribbons, on the table before the commission while members of the public pleaded for the continuation of the current net metering program.

A total of 31,650 signed and digitally signed petitions were produced by those in favor of fair metering rules.

Each card read:

Dear Commissioners Thomsen, Burtenshaw, and Noble,

As you consider long-term rules for rooftop solar in Nevada, we ask you to protect competition and our freedom to choose affordable, clean, abundant solar energy. The rules proposed by NV Energy would eliminate choice for Nevadans.

Please adopt fair net metering rules and lead Nevada to a more prosperous, self-sufficient future.

Unlike in the movie, where a mountain of letters addressed to Santa swayed the judge to rule in favor of Kris Kringle’s sanity, solar advocates will have to wait a little longer to find out solar power’s fate. The PUC is scheduled to make its final ruling during the regularly scheduled Dec. 22 meeting.

There are at least 10,000 solar customers participating in the net metering program in Nevada. They make up around 1 percent of NV Energy’s customer base. However, unlike NV Energy’s large contract power suppliers, solar net metering customers don’t pay to transmit the energy from their solar panels to the grid or other grid upkeep charges. And that, according to NV Energy, is the heart of the problem.

According to NV Energy, other non-solar ratepayers are subsidizing the ability for solar customers to access the grid when the sun is not shining.

Net metering customers receive a nearly 12-cent per kilowatt hour credit on their power bill for every kilowatt hour that they generate but don’t use and send to the grid. That’s the same rate non-solar customers pay for the electricity they use.

NV Energy’s answer is to reduce the amount paid to residential rooftop solar customers for their excess energy from 12 cents down to five cents per kilowatt hour, and charge those customers a monthly fee to connect to the grid.

Rooftop advocates claim that this will make rooftop solar no longer viable for the consumer, and will make rooftop solar residents pay more for their electricity than non-solar residents.

A comparison of power bills in Southern Nevada showed that the average home paid $1,439 annually without solar and $168 annually with the installation of a rooftop solar system. With savings of $1,271 per year, the cost of purchasing a 7kw system (minus a NV Energy rebate and 30 percent tax credit), will have a payback of 5.5 years.

However, under the NV Energy proposal a residential solar customer would pay $1,534 annually for power, which equates to $95 more than non-solar customers. The NV Energy proposal calls for a monthly basic service charge of $18.15, along with a 1.43-cent generation meter charge, $78.82 demand charge, and receive a 5.5-cent credit (as opposed to the current 12 cents), for excess power that is delivered to the grid. Under this scenario, the customer will not see any payback on the system but instead will pay an extra $2,375 over the span of the projected 25-year life of the system.

A formal hearing on this matter was held before the PUC Nov. 18-20, generating thousands of pages of testimony.

Included was a recommendation by the PUC staff that residential solar customers pay monthly fees that include a $12.75 basic service charge, 1.48 cents for a generation meter charge, a $22.55 demand charge, and receive a 3.1 cent credit for each kWh of electricity delivered back to the grid.

Under this plan, there would not be any NV Energy rebates for the installation of the system but customers would still be able to take advantage of the federal 30% tax credit. It is estimated that the customer would pay $999 per year for electricity for a saving of $440 on their electric bill compared to the $1,439 paid by non-solar customers. At that rate, the system would have a very undesirable 32-year payback.

On the side of the consumer and the solar advocates is the State of Nevada Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, which represents ratepayers in PUC hearings. It filed a Notice of Intent to Intervene, allowing it to provide formal testimony and said NV Energy’s proposal had “serious flaws.” “The BCP is concerned that all residential customers — solar or not — will be overcharged,” said William Marcus, a consultant hired by the consumer advocate to research the proposal.

While the 31,650 petitions is the largest number ever presented to the PUCN, it is unclear as to whether it will be enough to sway the three-member commission to decide in favor of Kris Kringle’s sanity —or rather, the wallets of residential rooftop solar advocates.


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Bank of Nevada CEO to lead Chamber of Commerce board

John Guedry will long remember 2015 as the year he acquired some important new titles.

Eight months ago, he was named CEO of Bank of Nevada, a commercial bank with 190 employees.

On Dec. 17, the longtime Nevada resident will begin a one-year term as chairman of the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce board. In this position, he will lead a nine-member executive committee, 24 trustees, and nearly a dozen programs within the purview of the chamber.

Included in his agenda for the coming year, Guedry plans to announce a joint effort between the chamber and the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance to introduce the business community to Gov. Brian Sandoval’s “Education Initiative for a New Nevada,” and how businesses can participate in this key initiative.

Guedry also plans on discussing even more tangible benefits the chamber will be offering members to help increase their bottom lines. This includes expanded programming to connect small-business members with procurement opportunities offered by government agencies, enabling small enterprises to take advantage of billions of dollars of programs designed for contracting.

With the 2016 campaign season in full swing, Guedry will also be discussing how the Metro Chamber is helping shape policy conversations for the 2017 Legislature, particularly through its engagement in the Southern Nevada Forum.

“The forum allows us to work together as a community to identify and advocate for legislation that is vital to improving our business climate whether it is advocating for K-12 reforms, transportation infrastructure or improving our overall business environment,” he said.

No doubt, Guedry is well prepared for the task as he has been an active member of the chamber for several decades and served on the board and the executive committee for the past two years.

For Guedry, running a business and volunteering is nothing new.

The New Orleans native came to Nevada with his family in 1974 and graduated from Chaparral High School in 1978. He attended UNLV, where he received his undergraduate degree in business management in 1982.

In the early 1980s, Guedry joined Valley Bank of Nevada and worked there until 1991 when it was purchased by Bank of America. He then left the banking industry for nine years, working for a client in a title company and eventually starting his own mortgage company.

In 1998, Guedry went back into the banking industry with Community Bank of Nevada and in 2000 was offered the position of CEO of Business Bank of Nevada.

“Business Bank at the time was struggling — it was under regulatory control — and probably it was not the smartest move for my career at that time, but it seemed like a challenge that was worth taking,” Guedry said. “However, I was able to recruit some great bankers who I had worked with earlier at Valley Bank and in a span of about seven years we grew the bank from about $100 million to just shy of $500 million and sold to City National Bank.”

Guedry stayed with City National for a few years. “It was a very good company, but my position became more of a figurehead position, and I needed more of a challenge,” he said.

During his last two years with City National, Guedry did some high school football coaching at the Meadows. “I was trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I think that my wife decided for me, and it was time to get back to real work.”

“In late 2009 to early 2010, I think my brain checked out for a bit when I considered entering politics. I announced my intention to run for the 3rd Congressional seat against Dina Titus. However, after campaigning a short period of time, I realized that I was not cut out to ask people for political contributions, so I asked current Congressman Joe Heck to step in, and he ran a great campaign and has done a great job for all Nevadans.”

Wanting to do something different from banking, Guedry took a position with the commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis.

“It is a great company, just wasn’t a great cultural fit for me. Commercial real estate is very different from commercial banking,” Guedry said.

Shortly before taking the position at CBRE, Bruce Hendricks, the CEO of Bank of Nevada at that time, met with Guedry to offer him the position of president, with a plan to become CEO when Hendricks retired.

“I really wasn’t prepared to jump back into banking at that time, so I initially turned it down,” Guedry said. “Fortunately, the position was still open a year later.”

In August of 2011, he became president of Bank of Nevada.

Guedry’s wife, Debra, a retired schoolteacher, introduced him to the needs of the educational system. Since then he joined the board of directors of the Public Education Foundation, where he has served for a number of years. The board is made up of 60 community leaders supporting a staff that oversees more than a dozen education initiatives. In this position, he has lobbied on behalf of several educational bills in the Nevada Legislature.

The foundation recently named him Education Hero for his volunteer efforts as an advocate for education.

Guedry also recently joined the board of the UNLV Foundation.

Guedry does not take all of the credit for the banking and charity accomplishments and credits the teams of people that he works with for those successes.

“I tend to lead by example and don’t ask people to do something that you’re not willing to do yourself,” Guedry said. “I am a big believer in giving people authority to do their job, I tend to help develop key objectives, build the team, and then get out of their way and let them use their talents to succeed.”

Guedry and his wife of 31 years have two grown daughters: Jennifer, mother of their twin 4-year-old grandsons, and Jaclyn, who is in her first year of law school at UNLV.

In his spare time, he enjoys riding his bicycle. “The bike is sanity time,” he said.

Guedry also enjoys being outside and gardening with his wife and following Rebel football and basketball with his grandsons.


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