Social Change Business Profitability Speaking and Presentation

Social Change Business Profitability Speaking and Presentations

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“Impossible” is Not a Fact–It’s a Dare: How Business Can Not Only Solve Hunger/Poverty, War, and Catastrophic Climate Change, but Make a Very Nice Profit, Too

Taking off from this quote by Muhammad Ali, “Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare,” the talk begins with a quick review of “impossible” accomplishments that we now take for granted—from iPods to space travel, from organizing to save a local mountain to a South Africa emerging out of apartheid and into democracy. Then, this inspirational and empowering talk moves into the advantages to business of solving the biggest problems of our time. Motivating not through guilt or shame but by combining the vision of a better world with the power of profitable business, this talk demonstrates that real change is not only possible, but profitable.

Examples (curated for each individual audience) may include:

  • A company whose solar-powered LED lanterns are a ladder out of poverty for thousands of households in Africa and Asia
  • A fair-trade organic coffee roaster who funds village-led community development projects that attack poverty and injustice at their roots
  • A major carpet company that not only shifted its entire enterprise toward sustainability but slashed costs by initiating eco-friendly, economical manufacturing processes
  • A retailer that created a NEW $15 billion/year market, selling organic food to people who for the most part don’t go to Whole Foods
  • A company that makes a soccer ball into an electric charging station: play for 30 minutes, and charge a device for up to 3 hours
  • A major UK department store whose soaring profits after publicly measuring 100 sustainability indicators caused the company to add another 100 metrics
  • A solution to mobility for wheelchair users that replaces bulky, fuel-inefficient, and slow paratransit with individual transportation the size of a Smartcar
  • Numerous creative ventures that are pushing the boundaries of physics and biology, developing new “biomimicry” products and systems that model nature’s principles: high materials strength, waste-as-input, adaptability, and other state-of-the-art, innovative approaches to the most challenging issues that we humans and our planet must solve

How Can Social Entrepreneurs Still Thrive In A Trump America?

Social entrepreneurs—business owners and leaders who use their business to address issues like hunger, poverty, war, and catastrophic climate change—face an apparent crisis. The US has elected a candidate who openly embraces racism, sexism, and anti-Islamic rhetoric, mocks disabled people, denies climate change, and scorns the economically disadvantaged.

In this new world, federal funding is likely to dry up, and social entrepreneurs will probably face hostility to their missions. What’s a social entrepreneur—or even a green business—to do?

Shel Horowitz’s newest talk answers that question. Shel shows how social entrepreneurship can flourish even under a Trump administration.

  • While government funding may dry up, businesses will get more creative and develop profitable products and services that directly create social benefits and improve the environment
  • Cool and creative technologies are coming online constantly that could make old-line polluting methods irrelevant
  • Businesses may have the opportunity to partner with foreign governments and companies to leverage the best combinations of technology and markets 

Beyond Sustainability…to the World We Want: Three More Steps on the Journey to a Healthy Business and a Healing Planet

Sustainability is building systems that keep things the way they are. But that means atmospheric carbon stays at 398.78 parts per million, high above the safe limit of 350. It means 805 million people around the world are not getting enough to eat, and 3.1 million children die each year of preventable hunger, while preventable air pollution kills another 7 million people every year.

So just going green, just being “sustainable,” isn’t enough. We can do better, make the world better—and make a good profit at the same time.

Step 1 is sustainability: Making sure things stay at least as good as they are, that inputs balance outputs, that the world can continue to keep up with human impact. You’ve probably made a great start on this—but again, it’s only the first step. Let’s take three more!

Step 2 is regeneration and thriving. We will create systems that restore the functions and capabilities we’ve lost. We’ll bring atmospheric carbon back below 350 ppm, return disrupted ecosystems to balance, increase the population of species on the brink of extinction—and create thriving profitable businesses based on these concepts.

Step 3 is social change: Tackling the world’s deep, systemic problems in ways that not only address the root causes but build an economic foundation for long-term success. For example, as eco-friendly business ventures lift the most disadvantaged out of poverty and the earth out of environmental disaster, the formerly ultra-poor begin to gain economic freedom; they can become a new, untapped market.

And once we’ve “stopped the bleeding,” it’s time for

Step 4: creating the world we desire. Shel will lead you on a hands-on visioning process to design that world. Then, together, you’ll pick one project you can move forward to move the world closer to that vision, and implement in a profitable way.

Business for a Better World: How Business Can Profit by Fixing Hunger, Poverty, War, and Catastrophic Climate Change

It’s true that business practices have led to some of these crises. But because of this, business is uniquely positioned to address systemic and deep problems including hunger and poverty, war, and catastrophic climate change. And your business can reap multiple benefits by doing this work.

Learn how to turn touch points into tipping points—how to move the planet toward a sustainable world with enough for all, and how to benefit from the newly empowered consumer class you help create.

  • Why and how businesses can make a real difference
  • Benefits to the business: More revenue, lower costs, higher trust and credibility, easier and better marketing…
  • Additional benefits to society, and to the planet

Making Green Sexy: Marketing Green Products and Services to Green AND Non-Green Audiences

You have three audiences you need to market to:

  1. Deep greens who already know why going green is important.
  2. Lazy greens: want-to-be-greens who will do the right thing only if it’s easy and cheap but won’t go out of their way.
  3. What’s-in-it-for-me consumers who will never be convinced that going green is worth extra trouble or expense, but who WILL buy on value, quality, and other attributes.

The committed greens are already onboard; now, you’ve got to reach the rest of the world! They’re not going to buy just because it’s the right thing to do—but they WILL buy when you show them how your offering is actually better: higher quality, greater comfort, lower price, and yes, sexier. You’ll succeed when you have different sets of messages for these three different types of customers. Using eye-catching slides and examples including some of the world’s largest and most successful corporations, like General Electric, Marks and Spencer, and General Motors, Shel Horowitz, lead author of Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green, shows how to attract all three groups.

We’ll discuss:

  • What goes through the minds of these three different kinds of buyers, and how to harness their psychology to your advantage
  • How to identify the triggers for each audience
  • How to craft those triggers into powerful marketing messages that clearly show the advantages of your products and services
  • How your superior green product can educate the nongreen buyer on why this stuff actually is important

Don’t waste money sending the wrong message to the wrong people! Learn how to create highly-targeted marketing messages that will move green, want-to-be, and nongreen prospects to action. Using case studies ranging from large, well-known companies to smaller niche brands (for-profit and otherwise), green profitability strategist Shel Horowitz shows how to successfully market a green product to each of the three audiences. We’ll look at what kind of messages they respond to: what motivates them to buy. Finally, we’ll brainstorm together on a real-life green product: Participants will generate potential audiences, marketing ideas, and message points aimed at creating sales for this product—and then discuss how they could apply those techniques to marketing their own green products and services.

Leading with a Green Heart: Creating Lasting Change Inside AND Outside Your Organization

Unilever…Marks & Spencer…Walmart…Patagonia…Ben & Jerry’s…Marcal…Interface—what do these famous brands in very different industries have in common? They’ve made environmental leadership a cornerstone of their corporate DNA while continuing to sell very successfully to mainstream audiences. Going well beyond mere “sustainability,” these forward-looking companies embrace restorative environmental practices that help reverse negative human impact AND help the bottom line (both by reducing costs and by tapping into the lightning-growth green sector).

And this didn’t happen by accident! It happened because their leaders exercised leadership! Top executives carefully and deliberately created a corporate culture and a customer base that allowed these companies to become thought-leaders, heart-leaders, and action-leaders in green business.

Learn from CEOs in these and other companies how to…

  • Create a profitable environment-first strategy
  • Harvest and implement the best ideas from employees all the way down the ranks
  • Institute a culture where workers enjoy coming to work because they’re so proud of what they’re doing to green the planet

Turning Your Values Into Sales: Effectively Marketing Your Social/Environmental Commitment

Is your company’s commitment to improve the world a “best-kept secret?” Or are you openly using your values in your marketing, but not getting the results you want? Learn how to get the most possible marketing value out of your values. Treating the earth with respect, providing a healthy and welcoming atmosphere for employees, donating a portion of your profits, supporting social and environmental goals–are all marketing points to help you stand out in your prospects’ mind. Harness these points to build not only sales, but customer loyalty–to the point that they become part of your unpaid word-of-mouth army of fans and ambassadors.

  • Identify the existing actions and policies most conducive to attracting socially and environmentally conscious fans
  • Create marketing strategies that easily bring these to their attention
  • Involve your customers with a feeling of “ownership” and participation
  • Turn this reservoir of good will into a powerful, virtually free, marketing machine

Greening Your Publishing Program: Green Audiences, Green Titles, Green Printing

For publishers, the growing enthusiasm for going green is an opportunity…and a challenge.

The opportunity is in bringing out new titles that resonate with this exciting and rapidly growing market. Even during the 2008 recession, growth in the green sector was astonishingly strong (as much as 1700% in some sectors)—and that growth has continued as the economy has rebounded. With such major developments as the #Cop21 Accord hammered out by 197 countries in Paris, the five-year extension of tax credits for alternative energy projects in the US, and the rise in global temperatures since the dawn of the Industrial Age hitting record highs, this strong interest will only increase.

The challenge is in “walking our talk.” Publishing has been, historically, a dirty and wasteful business. If we want credibility as publishers of environmental books, that has to change! The books and the way we make them have to be eco-friendly, along with the content.

  • Types of books that are doing well
  • Trends to watch in preparing books with green content
  • Manufacturing options to lower carbon footprint, energy, and waste—and costs

From Child-Rape Survivor to Champion of Social Change: A Personal Journey

Shel Horowitz will never forget being grabbed off the street by a stranger and raped at age 11. So ashamed he didn’t even tell anyone for more than four years, he had no outlet for dealing with that trauma—except through activism. Shel traces the effect of this experience as it led him to find empathy for others and to become an agent of change at age 12, devoting his life to helping downtrodden people and protecting a threatened planet, while making space for necessary self-growth and healing.

Over the decades, he has taken leadership as both an activist and journalist in causes including peace…LGBT, elder, and disability rights…reinvigorating democracy…and especially protecting the environment (which he first embraced in 1970, as a teenager). For the past several years, his primary focus has been leveraging the business community to turn hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance.

Let Shel take you with him on this personal journey that left him with great faith in humanity and in his own power to change the world.

Testimonials from Meeting Planners and Attenders

“It was a delight to have Shel Horowitz present at the Sustainable Foods Summit. Not only did he do a fabulous presentation on green marketing, but he also stepped in on less than two weeks notice to do the opening second-day keynote–a well-delivered inspirational message tracking food sustainability through the ages and into the future. Shel also understands how to work with meeting planners, and in both of his talks, stayed enthusiastic, interacted well with the audience, and kept to his allotted time.”
Marie-Theres Wimmer, Organizer, Sustainable Foods Summit, Austria

“Captivating, energetic and subject matter expert are just a few adjectives that came to mind as I heard Shel speak at Gulf Coast Green [the Houston AIA Green Energy Conference]. His perfect combination of GREEN fact sharing combined with piquing the audience’s interest was stellar. Shel is a fantastic public speaker. It’s sometimes difficult to keep the attention of a room of highly intelligent architects, designers and sustainability consultants. But Shel plowed through with flying colors. His knowledge base and years of experience yielded a great delivery. He’s a great ‘value add’ for your conference.”
Lolalisa King, Sustainability Strategist, Architect for Life, PC,

“Shel, thank you so much for sharing your time and expertise with our members –
We had the most ever sign ups – over 170
We have the most ever on the call – nearly 50
This was the most interactive of all our webinars with the most call in questions –
We are looking forward to hosting you at the Green Business Seminars at the Green Festival next month.
Denise Hamler, Green Business Network Director, Green America

“Not many people have a thorough grasp of marketing AND environmental issues. Shel Horowitz not only has both, but he’s also an energizing, inspiring platform speaker who makes these twin concepts very accessible.”
—Jacquie Ottman, green marketing expert and author, The New Rules of Green Marketing (Berrett-Koehler 2011),

“Shel was so succinct and helpful with his advice in the webinar I participated in. I think we forget to tell our story because we’re immersed in the green world, but in a half hour Shel brought me back to my core values and how best to market the green aspects of the Becky Bones brand. He used insightful case studies to bring light to the subject and after watching his slides on the Marcal packaging history, I looked at my own packaging and thought ‘I’m not dedicating enough space to telling people we give 25% of our profits back to the environment!’ He knows exactly what you’re grappling with as a green company and gives you permission to tell your story. I will take advantage of any opportunity to glean advice from him in the future.”
—Save the Earth, Save Yourself, Krista Kokjohn-Poehler, President, Becky Bones, LLC

“I found your presentation to be very helpful, the information valuable, and worth remembering. I know that what you presented on Sunday was a lot of information to pack into such a short amount of time. But I found the presentation to be informative and succinct. I left wanting to learn more. I was particularly inspired by your story of the Save the Mountain group you formed to save the Mt. Holyoke range from developers. It made me want to move to one place I particularly love, the town of Rosendale, NY, and try to get involved with the campaign to save the area from resort development.”
—Ryan McGarr, attender, SolarFest, 2010, Tinmouth, VT

“I wanted to once again personally thank you for your significant participation at our convention this year… Your keynote address was direct and concise. The message of ethics and integrity was heard and accepted by the attendees and the industry will be better because of it… The convention wouldn’t have been the success it was without your involvement.”
Jeffrey Armstrong, Noteworthy USA

“You rocked the room, and definitely caused some mind shifts!”
—Willie Crawford, Organizer of the Birthday Bash Marketing Conference

“Thank so much for being our guest for this week’s show. You were terrific and Paul and I really appreciate you taking the time out to help us educate our listeners. It’s obvious to anyone who speaks with you that you know and love your chosen profession. I truly look forward to reading your new book. We’ll be sure to give it a couple more plugs on future shows.”
—Doug Hunt, AKA Sustainable Squirrel, Co-Host of Green Fox Radio, WDEL 1150AM – Saturday’s at Noon,

“THANK YOU so very much for taking the time to do the interview with me today. It is such an honor for me to spend a part of my day with you. I know our listeners will enjoy your inspiration too. You were great! With gratitude and hugs,”
—Gail Lynne Goodwin, Ambassador of Inspiration, Inspire Me TodayTM, LLC

“Shel’s dedication to ethics was the most important thing I took away from the program. It was good to find someone promoting ethics in a largely unethical world… I have already put an ethics program into practice in a couple of ways. In “About the Author” on my web site, I mention my credo which is “Treat others as you would be treated.” That credo will also appear in the front matter of my book where I will give that terse statement a full page… I tell my readers that doing your part in a kinder, gentler world can pay off big, and I prove it with real-life examples from my own experience. I also try to live my credo in everyday life, not that I always succeed.”
Ernest J. Honigmann, Monnet Press, St. Louis MO

“You’re very lucky to have Shel as a professional colleague and a friend. His was by far the most exciting and entertaining presentation so far. It’s always inspiring to hear someone who is so passionate about all the right stuff.”
—Susan Torrico,, attender at Marcia Yudkin’s No-Hype Copywriting Summit (letter to Marcia)

“Thank you for the great webinar tonight. Excellent content and delivery.”
—Brian Jud, CEO, Association of Publishers for Special Sales, organizer of the first presentation of Green Publishing: Green Audiences, Green Titles, Green Printing


Video and Audio Samples/Onesheet/Contact

Watch Shel’s Speaker Demo (under four minutes)

See Shel’s TEDx talk, “Impossible is a DARE: Business For a Better World” (Note that this was the first time Shel gave this talk; it has evolved significantly since then)

View a 7-minute clip from Shel’s popular talk, “Making Green Sexy”

Watch Shel’s 8-minute Keynote at the Sustainable Foods Summit

Listen to Shel’s interview with Kymm Nelsen on the Conscious Leadership Weekly podcast

“Shel brings a natural grace and deep acumen to the topic of profitability and social change. One can see, hear, and feel the depth of his commitment to making the world a better place while designing real business-based solutions that ensure companies stay relevant and profitable in the new marketplace. Shel is that one-of-a-kind expert who can help existing traditional businesses begin the steps to become ‘green’ and assist new businesses to start smart by tapping into the market of social change and green business. Thanks for all you do in service to humanity, Shel. We’re lucky to have you!”
—Kymm Nelsen, CEO of Institute for Conscious Leadership and host of the Conscious Leadership Weekly podcast

View or Download Shel’s speaker onesheet

Copywriting and Materials Development for Businesses Doing Social Change

Green Business Profitability Services

Click here to discuss your speaker needs with Shel

Click here to explore a do-it-yourself resource: Shel’s double-award-winning 10th book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World (endorsed by futurist Seth Godin, Chicken Soup for the Soul co-creator Jack Canfield, and 50 other thought leaders)

Click here to read an extended interview with Shel on Forbes

“Shel Horowitz is one of the country’s most respected and influential evangelists for earning more money by doing the right thing. Aligning your business and your civic activism…a sherpa for those seeking to grow their businesses and their social conscience.”
—Dean Rotbart, “The Dean of Reputation,” Monday Morning Radio