EcoInterview ~ Anne Michelsen, Owner GreenInk Copywriting

Anne Michelsen is a freelance copywriter and illustrator who specializes in helping green companies attract, educate and retain their customers.  Check out her cool company, GreenInk Copywriting,  and her very wise + green blog here. I had an opportunity to interview her on March 9, 2012.

What inspired you to create Green Ink Copywriting?

“Inspired” is a good word.  I actually didn’t go to college to be a writer. I was a visual art major (and in fact I still do freelance illustration and fine art as well as writing.) But about eight years ago I kept getting this little voice telling me “You need to write.”  “Shut up,” I told it. “I can’t be a writer; I can’t even come up with a plot.” But it kept at me and I started to keep a journal.

Not long after that my husband and I moved to Wausau, WI to start up a second branch of his business. I started to write sales letters for him, and realized I really enjoyed that aspect of being in business.  Then one day he signed me up for a copywriting course from American Artists and Writers, Inc. (AWAI) and I was hooked.  This was a way I could follow that little voice – and not worry about plot lines!

When I started taking on clients I realized I wouldn’t be happy writing for companies I didn’t believe in, or promoting products that would trash the planet. Since sustainability is a passion my husband and I both share, and since we had tons of personal experience with sustainable lifestyle choices, I decided to specialize in writing for green companies. It’s a way I can use my talents and experience to help change the world for the better while supporting my family.

Why is being green a good business decision?

There are lots of reasons for a business to go green. Here are a few:

  • Reduced overhead. A lot of people think of green choices as more expensive, and sometimes that’s the case. But much of the time when you run the numbers and factor all its effects into the equation, the green choice is frequently cheaper in the long run.
  • Healthier work environments.  Green products such as non-toxic cleaners, and green practices like incorporating daylighting into building design almost always result in a more pleasant, less toxic place to work. This can reduce sick days and raise employee mood and morale, resulting in increased productivity and higher profits.
  • Consumers are looking for green products. According to the Shelton Group’s 2011 EcoPulse report, 69% of mainstream American consumers polled indicated that they actively look for green products when they shop.  This number is growing, up from 63% in 2010 and 60% in 2009.
  • It’s good publicity. Reporters do pick up on stories of companies making sustainable choices – especially when they involve particularly innovative solutions or represent a first in the local area.
  • Green businesses attract – and retain – talent. A survey by job site indicated that 80% of young professionals were looking for jobs that have a positive influence on the environment. Many companies which have incorporated green sustainability initiatives also find that they retain their employees longer. An example is the Canadian company LoyaltyOne, which reduced its employee turnover rate by 12% after switching to greener practices. This can have a profound effect on a company’s bottom line.

How does a green-business separate itself from the “greenwashers”?

Two words: transparency and integrity. I could write a book about it but that pretty much sums it up in a nutshell.


Contribute your great ~green~ ideas on EcoApprentice or post an EcoChallenge. We will send it out to the world for an answer.  Join here for free!

Portland Airport seeks a good home for retired escalator rails

Ever think about what happens to used escalator rails?

I never had, particularly while riding an escalator at the Portland International Airport.  Yet beyond the fast-paced world of running planes on time, is a sustainable mind-set that’s on the radar at the PDX airport.

Stan Jones, the Port of Portland Waste Minimization Manager recently posted a unique EcoChallenge on EcoApprentice entitled “Escalator Rail Reuse“.

NEEDED:  Home for thousands of feet of used escalator rail – HEAVY DUTY!, Nearly indestructible.

In the past, used rails have been sporadically reused for boat bumpers at docks/moorages and for bumper rail in loading dock areas, but the Port is seeking a more permanent solution.

Stan shared via a conversation on 3/8/12 that sustainability practices are  good for business, good for the environment, and good for our community. Sustainability = efficiency! And regarding escalator rails specifically he said - There are likely thousands and thousands of feet of waste escalator rails coming out of airports, malls, office buildings, etc across the country.  A practical reuse/upcycling solution could have a nationwide (world wide?) impact.

Might you have a great idea on an answer to this escalator conundrum?  It’s free to join and post it on EcoApprentice, or maybe you have your own unique EcoChallenge?  We would like to send it out to our community for an answer.  Till then, may all your escalator adventures take you up or down, just keep your hands on the rails!