I must admit that I am one of the remaining skeptics of the whole global warming scare out there so you might think it odd that I write a column about how your company going green will be good for business. But global warming is not all that there is to being green. We need clean air, we need clean water. We need to preserve our forests and our landscapes. We need to watch out for that hole in the ozone that is a constant risk. Yet still the boogie bear of our age is global warming. And big businesses are on board with both feet.
Driven by profit and a sense of the inevitable major corporations around the world are backing stronger measures to reduce global warming. Corporations both large and small are increasingly heeding the call or even themselves calling for action on global warming, sensing a business opportunity in cutting greenhouse gases while hoping to shape regulations they believe are on the way.
In the United States Fortune 500 companies including General Electric, Duke Energy and JPMorgan Chase & Company in recent months have gotten behind stronger government measures to reduce industrial releases of carbon dioxide, the main heat-trapping gas that environmentalists and scientists have linked to rising temperatures and sea levels. Forward thinking companies like Cinergy, DuPont, United Technologies and Baxter International have been getting early starts on reducing greenhouse gas emissions — something they believe they would be required to do sooner or later.
Why is this important to you in your own business? Because people increasingly will believe that greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced and that actions should begin today to prepare for that eventuality. And that goes without mentioning other environmental hazards and pollutions.
Even when I was owner of a logistics company in Vietnam if you wanted to work with major companies, especially companies involved in the energy sector, you had to be green. And though their rhetoric is rife with references to protecting planet Earth, some of these “forward thinking” corporations will acknowledge that their newfound focus on global warming is driven by opportunity for profit. Isn’t that what we are all in business for? If you believe you can help improve the environment and make money doing it, then why not? Isn’t that the definition of win-win?
Though not every company is in the business of building nuclear power plants or selling wind turbines, we should be cautious and careful with our environment, but at the same time I would advocate promoting your efforts and using it as leverage to get new business. Don’t be a hypocrite about it. No one is the hero of the world. But at the same time even if you are taking baby steps to improve your own environmental impact at work you should make it known to your customers as well as your suppliers. This will have positive impacts in both directions just based on human interaction. Whether the action is becoming ISO14000 certified, recycling waste products or just planting a tree you should blow your own horn with these achievements. You will become known to your clients as a company that takes corporate responsibility seriously and at the same time you might have influences on your customers and vendors that might lead to them taking action as well.
Once you have come up with a plan to improve your environmental impact at your company and are well underway the plans implementation you should then take some actions on the marketing side as well. For instance, you might add your corporate environmental policy to your brochures or website. You may talk about the implementation in your company newsletter or corporate blog. These are just a few things that you can do to make the outside world know that you are a good citizen when it comes to the environment. It also gives talking points to salesmen when they visit environmentally conscious companies.
I am not advocating hypocrisy. You should not go green just for the cash box’s sake but at the same time if that is what it takes to get some companies to move their butts then so be it. At the same time you are in business to promote your products and services and to make a fair return on your performance. We are often told as youngsters not to brag or be boastful. I say get over that when it comes to environmental policies. If your company is doing good, then you should also be doing well.