What’s in a word? What do Eco, Environment, and Green mean? What’s the difference?

October 1st, 2008

Often times, discussions with customers, investors, salespeople and others provide the best source of future blog posts.

This author believes that too many CEO’s and other senior level managers turn down meetings with just about anyone that are not their direct reports, not in their immediate network or a company peer or board member. This is unfortunate as it is one of the best ways to keep up with industry changes and new ideas at the grass root level. I was in a meeting last week when a senior person in the room asked me what Eco meant. I was totally surprised. I was even more surprised when someone else in the room provided the guidance that it meant green.

Quite frankly this encouraged rather than discouraged me because it indicated the level of education that is still required in order to drive ecological focus on our natural or green environment. This also supports that our company is barking up the right tree as it refers to environmentally and safety focused sourcing.

The following paragraphs content is taken from a variety of terms located in Wikipedia and their wiktionary tool.

The prefix eco is used for words relating to the ecology or to the environment. Since it is commonly used in relation to environmental issues ecology often becomes an inaccurate synonym for the environment. Ecosystems, of which there are numerous types and are a defined part of the biosphere, collectively make up the whole of the biosphere. Within an ecosystem there are habitats in which an organism (including humans) exists. At its most natural, an environment would lack any effects of human activity, although the scale of this activity is such that all areas of the Earth have had at least some influence by humans. Green as a term has come to relate to an ideology that places importance on ecological and environmentalist goals.

So, when a company indicates they are Eco focused, they are referring to the highest level of the biosphere in which there are many habitats or environments. In this case they are talking about a particular habitat within the eco system. That which is inhabited and impacted by humans. Introduction of the term green over the years has resulted in indicating that the focus on the environment within the eco system is in the area of the natural environment and humans’ impact on it.

We look forward to your comments.

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