The ‘Going Green vs Making Green’ Conundrum

food-wastage

food-wastage‘Going green’ as a corporate motto has found its way into many a mission statement and company website. How many companies are actually willing to spend the $green$ to make it happen? Why should they?
The truth of the matter is, as long as you say you want to ‘go green’, you can presume that most of your consumer base is going to believe you. People aren’t really going to fact check your sustainability scorecard, and as long as you show a picture of happy animals or a rain forest on your website, the average consumer simply isn’t going to dig any deeper.
But what does it mean to actually become ‘sustainable’? Is sustainability a cost that must simply be added to the balance sheet and passed on to the customer? Or is sustainability a practice that, when implemented properly, can become a part of a corporate culture—one that actually feeds the bottom line?
Perhaps the answer lies in time. If a company’s goals and strategies fixate on the short term—next quarter, next year, launching the ever-enviable IPO, then sustainability—both economic and ecologic—probably is not part of the equation.
If, however, a company’s goals are long term profitability, long term health, and long term sustainability—both economic and ecologic—then that company is much more likely to see rewards from investment in clean and green.
The microcosm of this is our own households. Sure, we can all recycle our cans and bottles, but can we all afford to rebuild our houses for maximum energy efficiency? Can we all afford to replace our appliances with ultra-modern super high efficiency equipment? Probably not. Over time, we have improved things quite a bit. Few of us burn coal to heat our homes, most of us don’t burn our trash, and most of us are tied in to state-of-the-art wastewater treatment systems somewhere, even if they are buried in our backyard.
Let me leave you with a few questions, and I would welcome your responses.
• What more would you do today if cost were not a factor?
• Would you pay more to do business with a company that truly takes sustainability to heart?
• What sacrifices would you make to improve the environment?
• Do you believe that economic and environmental sustainability go hand-in-hand?