gr_biz_cover.jpgUnless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past year, you’ve likely been exposed to a veritable deluge of green marketing. Ever wonder what’s really going on within this so-called greening of the business world? Now you can get a pretty good picture through’s State of Green Business Report. Joel Makower’s team has taken a hard look at what’s out there; the answers aren’t as simple—or as rosy—as you may think.

As Makower states in the introduction to the State of Green Business report,

“If one were to rely strictly on the headlines—from the mainstream media, the business press, the blogosphere, and all the rest—it would be easy to conclude that the greening of business practices has reached a tipping point.”

But there is a veritable cacophony of voices and information obscuring the reality. As stated within the introduction to the report, there is progress being made, but its hard to tell how much and exactly how to distinguish it from the hype. There are also very few ways to measure such progress, which makes a report like this even more difficult to create. One might wonder how accurate the data within really is, but Makower and his team have done a commendable job in tracking what they can, and being honest about what is either difficult or downright impossible to be sure of.

While there is tremendous green effort out there, it’s all nearly impossible to measure. And where it can be measured,

“…the verdict is mixed: Companies are getting cleaner and more efficient, but only incrementally, and many of the gains are offset by the ever-growing economy. So, while greenhouse gas emissions per dollar of economic activity may be dropping, the growing economy means those emissions are largely unchanged.”

In addition to reporting on a variety of sectors of the economy, the report includes a “GreenBiz Index Summary” telling us briefly what was measured in each topic, what was found, and how that sector of the economy is doing; whether it’s getting better, worse or staying the same. Its a mixed bag at best and what’s most apparent is how so much of the small amount of progress that has been made is being erased by the growth in the world economy, population or both. (Makes me think of the comment Bill Clinton made a week or so ago in Denver about needing to slow down our economy.)

The report also includes a valuable bibliography of articles, reports, books, blogs and headlines from 2007. It is presumed that much of it went into helping create this report, and some will continue to be valuable resources going into the next year and beyond. It’s well worth a read and may prove a valuable resource for future benchmarks.