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Home / Articles / Santa Fe Guides / Living Green /  Farmer’s Market
living-green-carolyn-parrs
In Carolyn Parrs’ view, “You don’t have to compromise your principles for profit.”
Alexa Schritzinger

Farmer’s Market

Green-marketing guru Carolyn Parrs on doing business in a green economy

March 12, 2013, 12:00 am

 Carolyn Parrs is the CEO and co-founder of Mind Over Markets, a local green-marketing firm celebrating its 10th anniversary, as well as the new board president of the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce. This interview has been condensed.

SFR: How is a Green Chamber of Commerce different from a regular one?
Parrs: It’s about how you do business. A conventional chamber really looks at, ‘What’s the bottom line?’ The Green Chamber looks at the triple bottom line, which is people, planet, profit. It’s not necessarily green business that has to be there; it’s just different principles.

How do you get past the idea that profits have nothing to do with environmental issues?
In the beginning, it’s driven by economics. Walmart changed their lightbulbs one year and saved $7 million. I say green has three E’s—ecology, economy and efficacy—and if all three things come together, your product is actually competitive in the marketplace. People want to buy products and services that do good—that’s why Whole Foods is so popular, right? When you can marry sustainability and green principles along with what you’re doing, that product exceeds the conventional product.

Explain the concept of “green marketing.”
Green marketing is still the principles of marketing: Know your customer, and creat[e] strategies to get to that customer. I talk about the shades of green—deep-green, medium-green and light-green consumers. The deep green is about 19 percent of the population in the US, and they are going to buy green products just because they believe in it. [For] the medium greens, which is about 32 percent, it has to make sense on all levels. The light greens are more of like what I’d call the Walmart shopper, who, [when] the price is the same, they will give [a green product] a try just because.  

Where’s Santa Fe on that spectrum?
I don’t have the statistics on that, but if I were to guess, I would say a good 40-50 percent is on that deep green, medium green. I think people come here [for that]. I came here to start Mind Over Markets; it began here. My father asked me, ‘Why did you move to Santa Fe?’ And I said, ‘Dad, this is where my peeps are!’

Why did you start Mind Over Markets?
I’ve been in marketing since I got out of school. I started on Madison Avenue. I worked on all sorts of products, from Pampers to coffee—really conventional products. Then, one day, I was asked to work on the [National Rifle Association] account. I couldn’t do it. [Ultimately,] I wanted to feel good about what I was marketing. I wanted to actually have an impact on the planet and help the companies and the people that were starting these kind of [sustainable] products and services. It was my way of leaving a legacy of good. I believe you can do well by doing good in business.

You also started Women of Green.
I am also a coach; I do business coaching. Because I was deeply involved in green [marketing], I targeted women entrepreneurs who were doing green business. I spent years one-on-one coaching with women and heard story after story after story. And I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to get this out there. This voice is not being heard at all.’ Women of Green was started to amplify the volume of the feminist voice on the planet, because our stories are different from men’s.  

Any final wisdom?
You don’t have to compromise your principles for profit; they can live together in business and beyond. Green is not necessarily a selling point; it’s a way to do business. My hope is that someday, we don’t even have to use the word “green”—it’s just the way it is.  

Mind Over Markets
Women of Green





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