Saturday, October 18, 2008

Green's Bottom Line: Staying Competitive in Volatile Economic Times

The volatile state of the global economy demands that businesses must be even more competitive to survive. There are many reasons why small and midsize businesses should go green, but for many, the most compelling is its positive impact on the bottom line. As reported by USA Today, "Tens of thousands of small companies -- from mom-and-pop stores to manufacturers -- are going green by cutting energy costs and reducing the "carbon footprints" from their facilities, offices and fleets of vehicles."

There are many benefits to Green and for business owners and consumers alike, saving money is an important factor driving demand. As illustrated by Japanese investment in their environmental industries, spending leads to environmental and economic payoffs.

According to Leith Sharp, Director of the Harvard Green Campus Initiative“[E]nvironmental sustainability is not just right, it is also the financially viable, business-minded thing to do.” Despite the overwhelming logic of Green, many businesses are not managing their environmental impacts. These businesses often fail to factor the costs of inaction. There are costs to the reputation of a firm that ignores consumer demand for Green and there are financial costs associated with less efficient energy usage. Surviving economic instability demands cost efficiency and giving your consumers what they want. Consumer demand for environmentally sustainable businesses is destined to grow and businesses which fail to act will be left behind.

Green is bolstered by the scientific consensus on climate change, energy concerns, strengthening environmental legislation and increased public awareness of sustainability issues. However for Green initiatives to be truly sustainable, they must be married to financially viable business practices. Green efforts must be able to serve both the planet and the bottom line. As reported in People and Planet, "New evidence emerges daily proving the business case for corporate environmental responsibility and its benefits for recruitment and retention."


Anonymous said...

There is no global warming. Why do folks insist on making the economy WORSE with the uneeded environmental taxes and restrictions on business?

This silly green thing is almost a religion based on nothing.

I don't underdtand how it got this far???

The Green Market Oracle said...

With respect you are simply wrong. here is a brief and incomplete summary of climate change science.

YouTube - Global Warming: Is the Science Settled Enough for Policy?

Politics of Intransigence

Green Dissent Part 2

Marketing the Science of Green

Green Dissent Part 1

According to 2,500 Climate Congress scientists (

"Recent observations confirm that, given high rates of observed emissions,the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised. For many key parameters, the climate system is already moving
beyond the patterns of natural variability within which our society and economy have developed and thrived. These parameters include global mean surface temperature, sea-level rise, ocean and ice sheet dynamics, ocean
acidification, and extreme climatic events. There is a significant risk that many of the trends will accelerate, leading to an increasing risk of abrupt or irreversible climatic shifts....Rapid, sustained, and effective mitigation based on coordinated global and regional action is required to avoid "dangerous climate change" regardless of how it is defined. Weaker targets for 2020 increase the risk of crossing tipping points and make the task of meeting 2050 targets more difficult. Delay in initiating effective mitigation actions increases significantly the long-term social and economic costs of both adaptation and mitigation. There is no excuse for inaction. We already have many tools and approaches - economic,
technological, behavioural, management - to deal effectively with the
climate change challenge. But they must be vigorously and widely
implemented to achieve the societal transformation required to decarbonise
economies. A wide range of benefits will flow from a concerted effort to
alter our energy economy now, including sustainable energy job growth,reductions in the health and economic costs of climate change, and the restoration of ecosystems and revitalization of ecosystem services. To
achieve the societal transformation required to meet the climate change
challenge, we must overcome a number of significant constraints and seize critical opportunities. These include reducing inertia in social and economic systems; building on a growing public desire for governments to
act on climate change; removing implicit and explicit subsidies; reducing the influence of vested interests that increase emissions and reduce resilience; enabling the shifts from ineffective governance and weak
institutions to innovative leadership in government, the private sector and civil society; and engaging society in the transition to norms and
practices that foster sustainability.