Virtual Conference; more than just a green way to network!

Not in a million years would I have fathomed receiving digital marketing advice from David Plouffe, President elect Barack Obama’s campaign manager, let alone be able to ask him questions.  Thanks to the incredible Digital Maketing World conference held by Marketing Profs on April 1st, 2009 I can actually say I have. 

A week ago if I was asked to attend a conference where David Plouffe was to be the guest speaker, despite my interest in it, I would have declined thinking it would be out of my budget to travel to the conference, pay for a hotel, and actually pay the fees to attend the varied events and seminars.  Today, my answer would be different. 

Marketing Profs Digital Marketing World virtual conference allowed everyone and anyone with an interest in digital marketing to attend a conference with some of the leaders in the Digital Marketing industry from the comfort of their own home at no cost.  Platform provider InXpo in conglomeration with Marketing Profs created an online conference that was far beyond any I have been to in person.  The conference included everything from an image of a beautiful convention centre where the conference was being held, to an auditorium where the speakers would present, an exhibit hall where companies could hold their booths, a resource center where you could download information provided by vendors and the event schedule, to a lounge where you could mix and mingle with others attending.


The conference also eliminated the need for vendors and participants to travel to the site.  It eliminated the need for vendors to create elaborate exhibits, print stacks of pamphlets and informational packages, as well as spend money on chotchkies and doodads to give away.  Making it one of the greenest conferences I have attended.

Other benefits to the online aspect included the fact that there was no line up in front of a booth for a chance to have a conversation with a vendor, there was no rush to get a seat at a seminar, or even the awkward conversation about the weather whilst trying to mingle with others around you. 


When you arrived at each booth a chat window would open where you could see all the conversations going on and join in, or ask for a one on one conversation.  There were several representatives at most booths so there was no waitin in line necessary.  Each booth also had ample information for you to look at with links to their websites, blogs, and so on.  Some vendors even went as far as to provide an opportunity to win prizes like an I-Pod or a book to those stopping by.

The auditorium held a scheduled set of speakers who provided visuals to go along with their live podcast as well as a question and answer session to which you could submit your questions via the live chat window, or via e-mail. 

It was an easy to use, entertaining, intriguing event with so much to offer.  Thankfully all the content and resources from the Marketing Profs Digital Marketing World virtual conference are still available for 90 days for anyone that missed out.

Deepti Dewan Chowdhry

Carbon Dioxide: Omiting the Footprints

Every day, the U.S. emits the equivalent of about 118 pounds of carbon dioxide per resident. That’s almost 20 metric tons per year which is about five times the number per citizen of the world, according to the International Energy Agency. Now you may be wondering what the importance of carbon dioxide is or why I am even taking the time to discuss it. Well, here is why. Recently, I came across an article in The Wall Street Journal that discussed a new concept called carbon foot printing. This article peaked my interest and caused me to do further research on this topic.

Carbon footprints are the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are emitted into the air when goods are made, shipped, stored and then used by the consumer. It has been discovered that many products’ global-warming impact depends more on how products are made than on how they are actually used. With that being said, the easiest way to cut carbon emissions would be to buy a product less, or use it in a way that is more conservational.

Referring back to the Wall Street Journal article that I discovered, I came across some very interesting points that would be good for any consumer to know. The article compared some everyday items and calculated their carbon footprints.  The article revealed that for every mile a car travels, the average U.S. car emits about one pound of carbon dioxide (annually that’s about five tons of carbon dioxide per year). 86% of those emissions came from actually using the car as opposed to the 4% that was emitted from making and assembling the car. This proves that consumers can lower their carbon footprints by buying a car with better fuel economy and not driving it as much. Typically, the cars with better gas mileage had less carbon emissions as opposed to bigger cars with worse gas mileage. It has also been suggested that another way to minimize carbon foot printing is to keep your car as long as possible since junking a car and manufacturing a new one produces pollution.

An unlikely product that most people would not think gives off carbon foot printing is none other than shoes. Timberland boots, usually used for hiking, can range anywhere from 22 pounds to 220 pounds of carbon emissions. Not only boots, but flip flops tend to have carbon footprints of 22 pounds to 44 pounds.  Normal shoes typically give off about 66 pounds to 132 pounds whereas hiking boots emit anywhere between 154 to 198 pounds. Another thing that drives up carbon emissions in shoes is leather. The average dairy cow produces an amount of greenhouse gas equivalent to four tons of carbon dioxide annually. Most of that is due to the greenhouse gas, methane. A cow’s multiple stomachs produces lots of methane which is 25 times as damaging to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. 

Even something like the type of laundry detergent you use can effect carbon emissions. For a low-carbon load of laundry use liquid detergent instead of powder and wash your clothes in cool water. In addition to this you should hang dry your clothes instead of putting them in the dryer.  Not drying your clothes in a dryer will cut carbon foot printing 4.4 pounds per load. Solid capsules of detergent have the highest carbon foot printing. Powder has a somewhat lower footprint than capsules; however, liquid still has the lowest of them all. This is mainly due to the fact that making solid detergent uses more energy than making the liquid detergent.


A recent study by a Dallas based dairy called National Dairy Holdings, found that the carbon footprint of a gallon of milk in a plastic jug is either 6.19 pounds or 7.59 pounds. The difference is due to what kind of cases the jugs are placed in during the transportation process from the plant to the distribution center. Plastic cases yield more carbon-dioxide emissions than cardboard cases. It has also been found that the single biggest chunk of emissions from milk production comes from all the action in a cow’s stomach.

Beer is a product most college students are pretty familiar with; however, I doubt they are aware of how much carbon dioxide a six pack emits. It has been found that a six-pack alone would release about seven pounds of carbon footprints.  The refrigeration of beer at its stores is where most of the emissions come from. This creates a problem since most stores refuse to keep most of its beer out of the refrigerator for fear of losing customers. The other alternative to this is enclosing the beer with clear doors as opposed to having open beer chillers. Now the store’s biggest concern is whether or not thirsty customers feel like making the extra effort to open the door.

So as you can see, carbon emissions are found everywhere in some of the various products we use on a daily or weekly basis. There isn’t much we can do to avoid this; however, there are things we can do to lessen the amount of carbon dioxide emitted. Once again, preservation of the environment lies in the hands of the consumer.


Going Green with an Eco-Friendly Movement

In today’s day and age, more and more people are becoming aware of the fact that we need to start getting serious about preserving our environment. Most people don’t often stop to think that if the environment continues on a downward slide the more our health, lifestyles, and basic ways of living will be altered. If the environment suffers, people suffer, and if the environment continues to be destroyed we are, in a sense, destroying ourselves. Let’s face it, without a healthy environment we can’t exist in the manner we have become accustomed to. Lucky for us more and more evidence supporting the fact that we need to preserve and protect the environment is surfacing. Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, as controversial as it was, opened people’s eyes and made them realize and understand the effects of global warming.

As more evidence surfaces not only people, but companies are starting to become more conscious of the environment and the need to conserve our energy resources. A company that I recently interned with over the summer called Alsons Corporation, recently started to “go green.” Alsons Corporation is a division of the Fortune 500 company, Masco Corporation. Masco made a company-wide initiative throughout all of its divisions located all over the world to become more environmentally concerned and energy efficient. Masco is a major manufacturer and distributor of home building products. The Alsons division makes and sells shower heads and various other shower products. All of their packaging for new products is being designed to be eco-friendly. In addition to changing its packaging, the company has started changing light fixtures and equipment to be more energy efficient and has started looking for more ways to conserve energy. Alsons has also combined their operations to run primarily during the daytime to conserve energy by reducing the amount of time the factory and its components are running. The company is also cutting their energy use by reducing unnecessary lighting out in its parking lot, reducing the amount of time its water fountain operates and by encouraging its employees to continue this eco-friendly attitude within their own homes.

Businesses all over the world have started encouraging their consumers to be more environmentally conscious. Grocery stores such as Meijers and Whole Foods, to name a few, have started encouraging its consumers to buy environmentally friendly bags and re-use them every time they go grocery shopping. Wal-Mart, the largest company in the world, has made this a major focus within their company and they have asked their suppliers to join them in this cause. Nestle, the company that makes Ice Mountain water, started a program that reduces the amount of raw materials used in their bottling process. They have reduced the amount of plastic used to make their bottles by 25% and they also use PET, which is the most easily recycled type of plastic. All of their bottles and labels are recyclable and they have made their gallon containers reusable. Companies such as Intel and Apple have also jumped on the environmental band wagon. Intel claims to be producing more eco-friendly product designs, while apple is releasing the newest iPod Nano with arsenic-free glass and no PVC.

So, there is evidence that more and more people have realized that we must preserve the environment. Hopefully people will keep this attitude and continue to influence others to become more environmentally friendly as well. It’s great to know that when I hear the term “go green,” I don’t automatically think of Michigan State’s football team, but of a worldwide movement to be environmentally conscious. So if you already haven’t, why not be trendy and become eco-friendly?