In a few weeks time a remarkable event will happen in Boulder, Colorado. Over 500 large and small business leaders will come together to learn how each is contributing to a meaningful and safer world, while still managing to make a profit and even to live a relatively stress-free life.
This gathering is the annual LOHAS Forum, aka Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, to be held June 23-25.
LOHAS offers a rare opportunity for both business owners and consumers to meet with the decision makers from many large companies, including Coco Cola, Petco, eBay, and the CEO of Ecover, and for those larger businesses, who may not know how to navigate the rapidly changing market, to learn from smaller ones who are making it work. It is also a place to find out about new trends and approaches to engage conscious consumers, who pay close more attention to more sustainable and ethical ways of doing things.
With the current economic downturn affecting us all, many business people are asking themselves: What am I doing and can I do it better, for both my business and for the planet as a whole? Can I, even if only in a small way, make a difference? Last year we were all holding onto our financial dashboard with white knuckles, hoping we would be able to pull through. But now, LOHAS organizer Ted Ning says, "People are asking, why was I in the rat race to begin with? I want to make decisions and spend my money with a greater awareness of the outcome but I don't know how to do this or where to go. LOHAS provides an enormous amount of information to assist those who are making changes so they can understand how to maintain their business and market position."
Ning believes there is a shift toward more meaningful-based initiatives, which shows itself in a combination of good business and inspired values. "People want their products to have more meaning, as seen in the Tide commercials where trucks laden with washing machines roll into Katrina camps to wash clothes, with a percent of what you buy going to this initiative. Conspicuous consumption, such as designer handbags or massive SUV's, is on the decline, while more conscious and value-oriented purchases are increasing: I don't want to just buy detergent but I want it to have other purposes too, like helping the needy. People are taking more care of where their money is going."
At LOHAS, business owners can meet other businesses that are innovative in their ways of reaching people and selling products, while also helping the planet. Green products are getting cheaper and more mainstream, and organic products are now in all main supermarkets as awareness grows of how they affect the planet and our own health: to eat better is to live better. As a result, this year the LOHAS focus will be on the health component with doctors, physicians, and wellness experts, and how to make better health a part of both our life and business.
LOHAS provides thousands of dollars worth of consumer data that can really help businesses. The conference is not focused on just one thing, but on all aspects that will support a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. Information will be available on line and all the general sessions will be posted on YouTube. An entire track will be dedicated to social media and how to use this to optimize business. It identifies the market that caters to conscious consumers, and also identifies that conscious consumer base, giving people an understanding of how they fit and ways to connect with others.
"This is not a typical conference," explains Ning. "It gives people permission to be themselves, as opposed to their business persona. Networking is more like heartworking as people tend to connect on a deeper level. It is really very different to a normal business conference as participants are inspired to turn their insights into actions so they can make real changes. This goes beyond the conference and into our daily lives." All told, it's simply the best place to discover opportunities and a like-minded community in the Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability marketplace!