Driving towards sustainability with John Coulbourn

John Coulbourn

I met John three years ago at the North Shore Technology Council’s Sustainability Forum. Later, as co-founder of the Women’s Initiative, we partnered on an event “Human Capital Engagement: Use it or Lose it” in 2012 where NSTC members heard 3 sustainability leaders present their views on the sustainable engagement of stakeholders.

A seasoned communications professional, John Coulbourn, has worked in and with many technology companies. He engages his client’s and clean tech entrepreneurs with sustainable best practices and encourages them to embrace clean technology.

As owner of Ipswich River Media, he and his media pros help businesses and organizations establish awareness and positive branding identities with clear, compelling communications. As Chairman of the NSTC’s Sustainability Forum, a special interest group within the council, he brings together “technologists, environmentalists, business members, academics and others to identify, explore and create new solutions in sustainability in this vital region north of Boston.”

The son of a Naval officer, John grew up “all over the world. I was able to observe cultures and the planet from a different angle.” John learned to ski in Iran; has lived in Moscow, Tehran and Naples, Italy. First hand he observed the Bay of Naples that was polluted for decades by the Ex-ILVA steelworks.

His exposure to the ocean began early. He became certified as a scuba diver at sixteen and became an avid sailor and kayaker. “I love the ocean and oceanography fascinates me. Becoming a marine biologist was not in the cards however, pre-med classes intimidated me.” Communications is his gift.

What advice does John have for start-ups, entrepreneurs and small businesses to communicate their sustainable principles?

“You need to be genuine, transparent, not too heavy handed with your sustainable message. The newspaper is dead and there are so many venues for communication online; stakeholders respond in seconds and those connections need to be heard.”

“You need to clearly state the motivation to the consumer about the sustainable value of your product or service (sustainable design, life cycle, practices, etc.) to enable a call to action resulting in sales and brand integrity.”

As we have all seen, an organization’s brand reputation can be instantly impacted by any social media platform (BP Oil Spill, Taco Bell rat video, and other social media disasters).

“We now have excellent measurement tools to assess an organization’s communication to its stakeholders. Measurement is important and ongoing; organizations can know instantly their impact on their stakeholders.”

If you are an entrepreneur, a sustainability practitioner, or a clean technology enthusiast, give him a call or come to the next NSTC Sustainability Forum and enrich your sustainability education and network.

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