April 10, 2013 06:18
Planners of the Green Meeting Industry Council Sustainable Meetings Conference, which was held April 7 to 10 in Chicago, hit a home run with the selection of Eric Ryan as the keynote speaker. For those of you not familiar with Eric, he is the co-founder of Method, the fast-growing producer of environmentally friendly cleaning products. Eric is both an excellent speaker—thanks to his use of humor and fascinating anecdotes—and a highly creative and savvy entrepreneur. Eric detailed the growing pains of a company taking a radically different approach to cleaning products and how it is making progress taking on the goliaths of the cleaning chemicals world. Eric tells his story in his book, “The Method Method: Seven Obsessions That Helped Our Scrappy Start-up Turn an Industry Upside Down.”
Listening to Eric speak, I could not help but wonder if his company had attempted to penetrate the hospitality market. During the Q&A portion of his presentation, Eric was asked that very question. He said that Method at one point was working with Starwood and Ecolab to help bring Method products into hotels. Unfortunately, the deal was killed by Ecolab. Too bad. Time and time again, I have seen young cleaning product companies be unsuccessful taking on the Ecolab-size companies in our industry.
Method has a lot of fun with its marketing and its approach to employment is unique. Every employee has to spend some time as the company receptionist.
In his speech, Ryan, whose company is based in San Francisco, said it is important for companies to seek progress, not perfection. “With sustainability, everything is a beta test,” he said. “The bigger we get, the smaller we act,” he added.
Method’s actual company name is now “People Against Dirty,” after being acquired by Europe-based Ecover last year.
If you are looking for a great example of a company that is making the pursuit of sustainability fun, check out Method.