The 2011 LOHAS Forum continued a 16-year tradition by gathering thought leaders and speakers from across the green, sustainability, natural, and organic sectors.
LOHAS is an acronym for Lifestyles of Health & Sustainability, a market segment representing one in five U.S. consumers—those who are passionately focused on health and fitness, the environment, natural and organic products, personal development, sustainable living, and social justice.
This powerhouse conference illuminates the LOHAS market and reveals insights not otherwise accessible. The Forum delivers an organic energy that infuses attendees with deeper comprehension and commitment to values connected with human health and long-term environmental sustainability.
This year during the June 22 – 24 conference, staged at the St. Julien Hotel in Boulder, Colorado, a unifying message from many speakers focused on the urgency of now: a sense that this is the time for bold action to avoid cataclysmic consequences, whether introduced by population growth, climate change or declining oil reserves.
Their concerns and cautious warnings also became tempered by optimism. Most of the visionaries expressed hopefulness that our species can transcend current threats, leading us toward a healthier, more humanistic future.
Steve French and Gwynne Rogers of the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) emphasized that the Boomer generation is today’s priority target for those marketing green and natural/organic products.
“The LOHAS market, regardless of market sector or geography, is driven by an older consumer,” said Steve French. “In the U.S. and Western Europe, it’s the Baby Boomers.
“They’re voting with their money as they control the nation’s wealth: $3.2 trillion dollars in spending power. Boomers over-index as LOHAS consumers. They’re the most passionate about sustainable agriculture, protecting the environment, and using renewable energy. Their attitudes translate into behavior as measured by actual product purchases.”
The LOHAS movement continues to be embellished and honored by stalwart consumer brands, with 2011 conference representation from significant companies such as Whole Foods, Silk Milk, Coca Cola, New Belgium Brewery, Mohawk, Ogden Publications, and Patagonia. Yet, opportunities remain for growth of corporate engagement among other leading companies that have driven stakes into the LOHAS market, such as General Electric, Starbuck’s, Wal-Mart, Best-Buy, General Motors, and Johnson & Johnson.
Future LOHAS Forums can host and educate more executives from larger corporations and nonprofits dedicated to health and sustainability consumers. These values-driven stakeholders are the future, and, as NMI research has demonstrated many times, LOHAS consumers are shaping mainstream value consensus.
Here, then, are some of the speakers and thought leaders who attended the 2011 LOHAS Forum, with excerpts from their presentations.
“We are now a geological force not simply a human force. We have changed the shape of the world, right now for worse – soon, as we all wake up, for much, much better. So we are being re-scaled to planetary proportions. And the earth within us gives us the corollary and wisdom to know our place and our tasks in this era of stupendous, stupendous change. And the mutations of present time seem to be asking no less than the immediate transmutation or radical growth of ourselves. I’m addressing you, dear friends, as passionate practitioners of world making.”
“An amazing thing happened when the film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ came out. It was just enough in terms of a bump in overall awareness levels and appetite to engage on the part of customers. It totally changed the context in which we were operating. And it made possible all kinds of innovations.”
“This is our time. It’s a time that requires boldness; it’s a time that requires tremendous energy. It’s a time that requires that we throw ourselves into this positive work … this humanity, with the fullness and total capability of everything that we can bring to the table.”
“The greenest product you can buy is the one you don’t buy. ‘Shopping our way to sustainability’ is inherently an oxymoronic statement. Almost half the U.S. population is mending and fixing things now. Seven out of ten consumers are really thinking deeper about whether they need to buy the thing that they’re buying.”
“I ended up teaching an approach to living with a peaceful heart, acknowledging that we’re all striving to live with a peaceful heart, but there are times we need a warrior’s spirit. Because it takes courage to live in this world, to love in this world, to raise children in this world, to start a new business in this world. That’s what I mean by the term peaceful warrior: peaceful heart, warrior’s spirit.
“There are only two things we have to do in life: we have to die someday and we have to live until we die. But all the rest we make up based on our choices.”
“Remember the first law of discordianism: convictions cause convicts. Whatever you believe imprisons you. Open yourself up to this amazing time of transition and this amazing new world that we’re moving into. Build this new world; become these new humans.”
“What is Conscious Leadership? It’s the energy and attitudes you project to others. The words you say can have a positive or negative effect on those around you. Leaders who learn to unlock the power of this can be very effective because they can shift entire organizations very quickly. I believe there is no global transformation possible without personal transformation. It starts with us.”
OTHER NOTABLE LOHAS FORUM THOUGHT LEADERS:
Finally, Dr. Jean Houston, the remarkable and articulate founder of the Human Potential Movement, emphasized importance of post-menopausal women to LOHAS, representing 70% to 80% of its stewardship. During a separate interview with me she provided further thoughts about the critical role of Boomer women.
“Among Baby Boomer women I’m seeing a heightened sense of response-ability. They know that they’re going to live much longer lives. There is a rising mythos – that they are part of this larger story and have been given challenges that have never been there before in human history, called the earth herself. A lot of these women have depth, education and sense of purpose and feel profoundly called to make a difference. Many of these Boomer women are rising up, and without fanfare they are taking responsibility.”
All photos in this post: Copyright 2011, Brent Green & Associates, Inc.