As a new member to this forum, I would like to share something that has been suspected by many but lay entirely hidden in plain sight. That something is the vast and growing network that supplies partners, support and a market for aspiring green brands – including sustainable fashion brands.

I discovered this network in the process of interviewing America’s top green business leaders for my new book. Very few of these companies were using traditional media. Instead, they were using direct outreach to the green community to develop awareness and sales. Because I have this terrible habit of giving my clients’ projects odd but memorable names, I couldn’t help doing the same here. I named this network the gort cloud, but more on that later.

The gort cloud consists of issue-focused green communities, like the Ethical Fashion Forum. It also includes green academics, NGOs, certifying agencies, special interest groups, green tech, trendspotters, green retailers and, ultimately, eco-conscious consumers. A quick look at this chart illustrates how individuals and organizations are arranged by function and how they interact and support each other.

This is where an ecopreneur can find investment partners, technical advice, product evaluation, distributors, and customers. While the gort cloud is facilitated by personal contacts as well as by the Internet, the opportunities to make use of modern social media techniques to increase outreach should be obvious. All the tricks of Web 2.0 can be found at work here.

To illustrate the network’s ability to promote viral awareness of a new green product idea, I commissioned software artist, Burak Arikan, to create a gort cloud network simulation. This simulation imagines the spread of awareness in a new product idea beginning with a post on Treehugger and then spreading to green news organizations like this one and then off and throughout the many nodes and clusters within the gort cloud. You can view this video here.

While traditional media is pay-to-play, the gort cloud is driven by the currency of truth and a common desire to increase the number of earth-friendly products. All of this is overseen by an academic-style peer review process that vets out greenwashers, but – and this is important – this network is entirely self-replicating and uncontrolled.

So back to the name, Gort. It comes from the Oort Cloud, a vast stellar debris field orbiting the earth far beyond Pluto. We know the mass is large, but we don’t know how large. We know that the pieces are tiny, like dust, yet this invisible mass has enormous implications for earth because this is where comets come from. The gort cloud is similar. It is a vast, interconnected but invisible network that is giving birth to the Age of Sustainability.

That’s an impact we can look to without apprehension.

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