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LOHAS = Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability

Refers to the market for consumers motivated by sustainability issues.

URL = http://www.lohasjournal.com/


"In the for-profit arena, the sustainability movement has generated a market referred to as Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability or LOHAS - an estimated $227 billion marketplace in the U.S. alone. Companies now target LOHAS consumers by offering products and services that support healthy lifestyles, ecological lifestyles, a sustainable economy, alternative health care, and personal development. A coalition of these non-profits, trade associations, cooperatives and other organizations will provide a strong business structure from which to launch a powerful campaign for positive global change. Members of the Association for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (ALOHAS) will join together to share resources, collaborate on common goals, advertise sustainability, provide resources to their members, and draw new members.

"We are looking at a structural change in the American economy," says sociologist Paul H. Ray. The San Rafael, Calif.-based Ray, who coined the term Cultural Creative in 1995 and wrote a book on the phenomenon in 2000, The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People are Changing the World, identified the subculture that spawned the LOHAS movement. LOHAS consumers--people who tend to make their purchasing decisions in keeping with their values of social and environmental responsibility--were quantified in work completed in 2002 by Conscious Media and the Harleysville, Pa.-based Natural Marketing Institute. Such sweeping change makes economic prognostication difficult. Nonetheless, "In the long run, say a 20-year time horizon, we're talking about a major, major shift toward everything LOHAS stands for," Ray predicts. Ray says the ranks of Cultural Creatives in the United States are growing at a rate of 1 percent a year. But the number of dollars annually going into the market--now at $355 billion --is escalating about 10 percent a year, according to Ray. "What we're getting is a lot of people coming into the market more confidently and aggressively," Ray explains. But mere numbers don't tell the real story of the LOHAS phenomenon, because it's not just about growth, it's about change, Ray asserts. "There's a big difference between quantitative growth and structural change, and LOHAS is going through structural change," he says. "We're not just getting bigger, we're moving toward new criteria of what makes a good product. The bumper-sticker kinds of explanations don't work when you've got a structural change in progress."

More Information

For more information about LOHAS, see www.lohasjournal.com.

For more information about the Natural Capital Institute, see www.naturalcapital.org/projects.