SIP Global to Host Green Trade Show and Conference
“We believe the answer for a better future relies on the availability of environmentally friendly products for everyone’s everyday use…. A real shift in the current situation will only occur when manufacturers worldwide understand how important it is — and how profitable it can be — to invest in new products and technologies that will improve and protect our environmental condition.” — Julio Marchi, SIP Global – The Green Foundation
BPGL spoke by phone with Julio Marchi, CEO of SIP Global – The Green Foundation. We wanted to know about SIP Global’s upcoming conference, as well as what the foundation is doing to further green products.
MARCHI: Understanding the meaning of “SIP” almost defines our whole organization. SIP stands for Solutions, Ideas, and Products. Our goal is to bring more “green” solutions, ideas, and products to the consumer market. We are here because we believe many organizations treat this idea of the environment with a lot of heart, but don’t understand the business requirements involved behind the creation of a new product (especially a green product), or the challenges involved in bringing green products to the consumer market.
I’ve been speaking with many people (inventors, green business owners, manufacturers, etc.), and the majority of them have similar impressions: They love all the ideas of other organizations, but nobody appears to have anything like our message. We are businessmen. In my other life, what I do is international business. The gentleman at my side is Mr. Bernie Chow. He has an extensive engineering and manufacturing background and is also an international business consultant. We have a lot of members and supporters all over the world: here in the USA, in Mexico, Brazil, China, and even in Europe.
We understand what it takes from product conception to development, from development to production, and from production all the way to the consumer market. What we do is to communicate with all those layers, bringing to them the means to make something great. Sometimes, we are able to assist with investment; other times, what is missing is a network of contacts. Most of the time, we provide professional services or consulting. But the most important aspect of what we do is that we talk business, getting down to the dollar amount up front and helping tweak it to make the budget work.
You have to believe me when I say that it is a real challenge for green products. For example, there are certain products in the marketplace nowadays that are green, but the questions on the business investors’ minds are, “Will they last?” “Will they succeed against other, similar, non-green products?” “Are they profitable?” Because questions like those are yet unanswered, most companies don’t have real incentive to manufacture green products. It costs too much just to develop and manufacture them, and the sales results are not easily estimated. The green market is new, and there is no previous history to be analyzed.
BPGL: What are the repercussions of that?
MARCHI: The manufacturers stick with products that are not green friendly just because they are sure to make money. This green market is something that’s still on the edge of their motivation. Everyone wants to jump into new opportunities and get there first, but the world is now different. Even the global economic chaos contributes negatively to their final decision. Investors now are saying, “Okay, it sounds like a great opportunity, but we don’t know exactly what’s going on and how risky it could be.” Then nothing happens.
What we do is jump in between those layers, interconnecting them with a very well-defined working plan, especially designed for the referenced product and its market. We bring more professionalism to the whole process and make it easy for the businesses to get funded. By the end, we also interact with the marketing promotions and sales, making sure the product gets the proper attention in the media.
BPGL: How is SIP Global able to help green businesses?
MARCHI: We are a nonprofit organization. Besides the services we offer, we also raise funds for all those strategies and requirements. We work with money that we collect. We match some funds to product design and research, but most of our budget is planned to go to the media and promotion. To finance new developments and final production, there are always other means we can use, depending on each case.
BPGL: Where do these funds come from?
MARCHI: Some will come from venture capitalists, and others will be donations from the general public or institutions. Venture capitalists can invest in some specific green projects, as they prefer. We are also working to obtain grants from the government, as they are offering it for green businesses now. However, we have very well-defined programs that allow us to join efforts with developers, manufacturers, and distributors of environmentally friendly products. Those programs have a limited business participation level involved, and we get compensated when results are achieved. This way we can reinvest the funds in other projects. There is more information on line about this.
BPGL: How do people with business ideas locate your foundation and find out about you?
MARCHI: We use the Internet and try to promote the foundation as much as possible. We have promotions going out using different technologies, and we count on support from affiliated websites. We also go on line, search for green businesses and introduce ourselves. But, nothing is better than the face-to-face approach, and for that we have the Trade Show. One of the goals of the event is to drive attention to what we’re doing. There’s no more conversation behind the computer; it’s now face to face and a place for people to go and see what’s going on. We bring all those people together, and they come in to mingle, and to create this layer of communication between those who are developing, investing, promoting, buying and selling.
BPGL: You’re connecting inventors, investors, manufacturing companies, marketers, and salespeople. That’s sounds like a unique and helpful service.
MARCHI: We’re trying to combine everyone’s efforts. We understand that at the moment, everybody is looking for every dime. However, there’s opportunity for people to make some money while still helping the environment, and we need to maximize it. I’m very motivated about green, and I love to do something that touches my heart. But I’m not an activist, I’m a businessman.
BPGL: Besides connecting people by being “another layer,” what else does SIP Global do?
MARCHI: We do certifications and qualifications, consulting, research. We deal with all the marketing campaigns requirements. We do a lot of things. Actually, we try to keep the scope simple, but when you get down to action, there is no simplicity.
I’d love to bring up many practical examples, but for several reasons I can’t disclose anything in detail at this point. However, there is one particular case I can use as an example of how the “business angle” can be an obstacle even when the invention or product is absolutely fantastic.
A gentleman has developed a new product that can cut energy costs (and consumption) with absolutely no harm to the environment, even at the disposal level. For many years, he worked hard and faced uncountable challenges to develop his invention. Then, when he was almost ready to get down to business, a big company found a similar product — not as good or as green as his — and they invested a lot of money in it (the product is on the market now, and its campaigns are worldwide).
The fact is, this big company will not drop the other product until they get their investment back with a great profit margin, even while knowing that a better one is available — so the inventor just lost the wave. It gets even worse: To guarantee the profitability of their investment, the big company is working hard in the background to slow down this inventor’s business, putting their own interests in front of his opportunities. Again, it’s a business, and in the end, it’s the dollar amount that counts [for them].
Nevertheless, we are finding new avenues for this gentleman and his product, and we will be there with him until we are sure he has succeeded!
This gentleman said, and I’m quoting him, “Julio, do you know how many organizations in the last 10 years I’ve been invited to get in, to talk, to hear, to listen to what I say?” I told him what I imagined, and he told me, “Julio, do you know how many of those organizations I still communicate with? None.”
I asked, “Why?”
“Because, they don’t have the method, they don’t understand from my point of view, what is required for me — as a new technology development — to get my product on the market. They know about the concepts, but they don’t know about the application of the business in this market. But you guys do, and that is exactly what is missing right now.”
BPGL: What other kinds of problems do green businesses face today?
MARCHI: Right now, there’s a lot of confusion about the message, about what’s green. There’s a lot of confusion about quality of products. There are many new companies just popping up with great, fantastic ideas, but with no reputation at all. Now, you might ask, How can they get any kind of finance? How can they get any kind of support? How can they promote any kind of guarantee that they will succeed? They don’t have a marketing plan. They don’t have a business strategy, because they don’t understand it. They are developers with a different mind. In this market right now, there’s a lot of confusion, a lot of miscommunication, and absolutely no networking.
I go on line, and I research every day for as long as I can. I go to Google, Yahoo, MSN, looking for all the key words. I have a huge set of notepads here, where I put my notes about every website that I visit. As far as I can see, in my own analysis, they are all promoting almost the same thing, but using completely different speeches, and that’s what scares me. If you have too many people saying the same thing in so many different ways, the listener just stops listening, and the message gets lost.
BPGL: With so much “chatter,” it begins to sound like birds chirping.
MARCHI: Absolutely. You don’t know who’s right, who’s wrong. You don’t know who’s best, who’s the worst. You don’t have any kind of comparison. You don’t have any kind of statistical support. I think everybody’s doing their jobs, but not combining efforts. So we are trying to help them network their ideas, combining efforts to get recognition and better support.
Another thing SIP Global does is “certification.” At the Trade Show, we will launch a new green seal that covers from the manufacturer level — if the manufacturer is green — through usage and all the way up to product disposal. We are creating a visual system that makes it so easy for anyone to just look at the seal and identify all those levels of preservation. We call it PROGENF: Product Guaranteed Environmentally Friendly.
I’ve been an ISO 9001 and 9002-certified agent for many years. We have supporters that used to work at UL (Underwriter Laboratories), so we know exactly how those certifications work. We need to create some kind of single and effective message for the consumer. The goals are to guarantee that green products are really GREEN and to educate the consumer about that.
BPGL: How do you plan to spread this message to the consumer? As you say, there are so many competing messages on the Internet and in the general public.
MARCHI: Wrong messages can be overcome by right approaches. One of the goals of this Trade Show, actually, is to bring in educators to discuss, “How can we promote the green idea to children and the school, so they can bring the message back home?” We cannot force an adult to simply change. I cannot just take a person of 40 or 50 years old with a lot of problems on their mind and with a lot of things to take care of day by day, and tell them that they just have to change all their concepts of life because the planet needs some green action. They will listen to the message. They’ll say, “Makes sense for me,” but they are adults, and an adult world is not that flexible. We are all adults and we all know that. It’s difficult to change our daily operational status.
But if you bring this to the children, talking about one or two projects, about ideas, about solutions, and you educate the new generations, they will also bring the message back home. We are trying to bring together some key individuals from the Department of Education here in California to discuss how they think it could be done and find out their impressions. If we don’t assure that “environmental preservation” becomes a natural behavior in our society, we will be solving old problems today and facing new problems tomorrow.
Finally, we have plans for massive institutional campaigns in the near future. Our preferred media are TV, radio and cinema.
BPGL: As I understand it, you’re also helping companies to become sustainable.
MARCHI: We’re trying to see all the opportunities and work together. There’s not a chance that you alone, myself alone, or someone else alone will do anything. We need to join efforts. We need to put our ideas on the table without being afraid that somebody else will steal them.
We ask, “What can I do to help you move forward with your project? How can we make this green and profitable, so you can invest in it, you can make some money, and you can reinvest the money in something else?” For that reason, we have the Business Incubator project. It is not enough to simply support and promote existing businesses, we also need to assure that new ones will rise and shine.
BPGL: Tell us a bit about the conference you have planned in September. Can anyone attend?
MARCHI: Not all the conferences and workshops will be open to everybody, but the Trade Show Exhibition Hall will be open to the public, to families. One of the things we want to do is show consumers that they might already have access to certain products that are environmentally friendly, but they might not know about it. Making these introductions is important. We think, if everyone can do a little bit each day, we can do a lot in a very short time.
The biggest problem we see is that green products are not on TV. They’re not on the radio. They are not on the first accessible shelves in the stores. So nobody knows they can buy green and keep the same quality and even save money. We need to make sure this changes!
GLOBAL GREEN INTERNATIONAL TRADE SHOW AND CONVENTION
Are you a green inventor? An investor? A business owner? An educator? Or an environmentally conscious consumer, trying to improve your family’s sustainability? If you fit any of these categories, SIP Global’s upcoming Trade Show has events and information targeted just for you.
What: Global Green International Trade Show and Convention
Sponsor: SIP Global – The Green Foundation
Where: Ontario Convention Center, Ontario, California
When: Sept. 2-5, 2009
The four-day event includes workshops, seminars, and an exhibition hall. Learn more about How to Exhibit on the Conference website.
Pre-registration is required for all conference events except the Exhibitors’ Hall, which will be open to the public during Exhibitors’ Hours. Cost to the general public is $10 without a Visitors Pass. But you can get a FREE Visitors Pass on the website.
- How to be Green and Still Profitable: Companies can save money and preserve the environment at the same time
- Green Education: Bringing the subject to school classrooms, stimulating youngsters to discuss the theme with their parents and bringing the environmental concept to family homes and future generations
- Building Green: An overview about new technologies and products for the building industry that are environmentally friendly and innovative
- Recycling and Reusing: A series of discussions about recycling techniques and how to extend the lives of certain products and items
- PROGENF: The definitive GREEN SEAL that will revolutionize the industry and market.
- Global Green On-line: The new approach to using the Internet to promote and sell environmentally friendly products. The Global Green On-line is working in conjunction with PROGENF to enhance the penetration of quality and competitive Solutions, Ideas and Products to the market.
- Make it GREEN, from A to Z: How PROGENF, SIP Global – The Green Foundation, some government entities, and other institutions are addressing preservation efforts on an industrial level.
- Automotive: How some inventive minds have found creative and innovative solutions to convert high consumption vehicles to eco-friendly machines.
- Energy Conservation: It is important to economize energy and minimize the need for energy generation, but it is also possible to smart utilize energy.
Check the Trade Show and Convention website for full details.
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