For Kimberly Pinkson, founder of EcoMom Alliance, the environment and community go hand in hand. Now, she’s reaching out to her audience through an online marketplace.
Wondering where to shop for organic bath soaps or a green label pair of jeans? Look no further. With the new EcoMom.com website, green shoppers can get easy access to organic and natural everyday products.
It's been an interesting walk to the marketplace for Pinkson. It all started in 2006, after she and a small group of motivated moms attended a 2006 UNEP (UN Environment Programme)-sponsored event.
From there they built a national organization around some 260 self-trained “EcoMom community leaders” who cater parties, lectures and events to "inspire and empower." There are now 11,000 members and EcoMom has partnerships with a number of other non-profit organizations and corporate sponsors.
Check out these excerpts of our conversation with Pinkson and see how you can “green your routine.”
Q: First of all—why "moms"?
A: The “mom demographic” is such a powerful one as a market force; it’s been reported that they are worth over $2 to $7 trillion. Moms have an incredible power over production, which is why we decided to go with the name. They are also a symbol of role models. For example, if you’re a mom who recycles at home, your children will grow up seeing and being influenced by that. Also, the name “moms” refers to the caretaking stewardship.
Q: How can "EcoMom” concepts be incorporated into businesses practices?
A: We find that more companies are starting to look toward us for information, whether it be how they can “green” their office spaces or how much money they could save by going green. Companies can start by implementing actions such as using non-toxic products at work. The office becomes your family during the week since you spend so much time with your co-workers...Offices can start out by doing simple things like recycling, using mugs instead of paper or plastic cups, hold creative events and parties—and of course, refrain from using plastic utensils during them!
Q: How will these steps help people save money?
Fortunately, things that are helpful for the environment are also better for the pocketbooks. So for example, putting in leather stripping in your insulators will save you more than $200 a year for heating. By doing this, you’re not contributing fuel usage while at the same time, reducing CO2 emissions and saving money.
Also, go through the house and see what kinds of cleansers you are using. For example, natural products such as rubbing alcohol, lemon juice, vinegar, which are very cheap, work just as well as name brand $5 cleaners. The average home has 150 toxic chemicals. By using natural products as cleaners, this will save you $20 a month.
In terms of transportation, make an effort to carpool more with friends and try to walk more. This will not only save money on gas, but will also be healthier for your body!
Finally, be aware of the foods you buy at your grocery stores. Eating local and more seasonal food will save you money.
Q: What are some difficulties that you face as a nonprofit organization?
A: Since EcoMom was first established, it’s been entirely volunteer work. But we are working right now to try to get a better funding so that some of the positions that we currently have can be salaried positions. How can people help out in an easy way?
Q: What are the easy steps people can take to green their routine?
A: Take the EcoMom challenge, join the EcoMom Alliance, host an EcoMom party, become an EcoMom leader. We are launching a new “EcoMom Market” on our website in a few days and this is another way to support the alliance. (The website has been launched since the interview.) This is a web-based market and it sells all the things that you need in your daily life, not just soy candles and scarves, but also other organic and natural products. Our goal was to create more practical products and it was to meet the demands of EcoMoms!
Q: What are the common mistakes people make in trying to go green?
A: I think that the biggest mistake that people make is that they approach it with an "all-or- nothing” mindset. Instead of starting just where they can, they say: “I can’t build my home green, so I can’t do anything about it.” Anything you’re doing is better than nothing. People get anxious when they find themselves, for example, using a plastic cup as opposed to a mug, and they feel guilty. I believe going green is a continuous move forward and looking for better answers.
Q: What does your organization need to do better?
A: I think we need to strengthen our Ecomom.com infrastructure so that we can better support community leaders. They’re ready and ready for more, so we weren’t prepared for that success! The health of the population needs it.