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It’s Not Easy Being Green

“The NWRA held one of its most thought-provoking sessions ever during its annual conference. “NWRA: The Green Initiative” was presented by Mike Boyle, president of GlasWeld of Bend, Ore. Boyle also chairs the association’s Green Committee.

The two-hour session looked deeply into the “green phenomena” and windshield repair’s role in environmental stewardship.

Boyle is an expert in the theoretical, having done extensive research on the subject, as well as the practical, having just completed a major company-wide effort to become more “green.”

He first led participants through the development of the green movement and explained the different types of consumers and how they react.

“To some people, the green movement is a result of a modern-day tree hugger,” Boyle said. “But to all people, the desire for a healthy and robust earth for their children is a valiant goal.” Boyle’s research also showed how important the future health of the earth is to each type of consumer, but also how the message has to be crafted carefully.

“You can’t use scare tactics and attract most consumers,” he said. “Instead you want to appeal to consumers desire to improve the world.”

Citing statistics from almost every major source, Boyle, explained how the shift in consumer spending to “green” products that has occurred and is expected to grow even more in the next ten years. “Everyone, everyone, is interested in a green culture,” he said, citing as examples everything from television networks to Pope Benedict’s recent appearance in green vestments to honor the earth.

“Windshield repair is one of the original green processes,” he said. “It keeps glass in use and the cost of producing one repair is miniscule compared to the cost of producing a new windshield. I expect it will become even more important in coming years.”

But, Boyle cautioned, there is a danger as everyone jumps on the “green” bandwagon. “Every company in every industry wants to say its green now. Everyone is flying a green banner,” he said. “But realize this, being green is way more than a marketing campaign. It is a deep and fundamental commitment to changing the way you do business in order to benefit the environment.”

Boyle said that GlasWeld has gone through a major transformation to become a truly green company. “We had an environmental audit,” he said, “and we changed a lot of things, from how we schedule to the light bulbs we use in our office. We looked at recycling paper—looked at everything and we changed a lot of things. It wasn’t easy; people don’t like change. But we got it done and we are actually saving money with the new systems in place … and we got a couple of side benefits like better lighting in the process.”

“We, as the windshield repair industry, need to help convince the whole industry of the need to be green in their own businesses and the role that windshield repair has in it. We need to convince glass replacement retailers, insurance companies, everyone that we our industry is committed to this effort. And the first step toward that is making sure that the industry really is committed.”

Boyle said the NWRA will introduce a number of new services designed to help companies as part of the green initiative. Also at the seminar, the NWRA introduced rough drafts of ad slicks, radio spots and other marketing tools that will be refined and available for the membership.

Boyle is committed to the process and uses the polar bear as a symbol of the effects of global climate change. “This,” he said showing a photo of a mother polar bear with her three playful cubs all around, “this is what it is all about, no matter what species.”

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