A corporation’s decisions regarding sustainability impact both their brand and their bottom line. There are direct and indirect strategic reasons for a corporation to “go green.”
The global ecosystem has been threatened which makes reducing waste and increasing energy efficiency more and more important. Corporations can conserve by cutting down on packaging, using energy-efficient lighting, recycling, purchasing energy-efficient office equipment, and adapting to alternative heating and cooling solutions. Many companies are warming up to the idea of working in LEED Certified buildings. “LEED is an internationally recognized green building program. It provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions” (https://new.usgbc.org/leed). A 2011 study released by MIT found that sustainability is now a permanent part of 70% of the corporate agenda (www.earthshare.org).
Interbrand released their 2012 annual Best Global Green Brands report, and automotive and technology companies dominated the list. Toyota, Johnson & Johnson, and Honda were the top three players. This report “… examines the gap that exists between corporate environmental practices and consumer perception of those practices…” (www.interbrand.com). Reports like this not only strengthen a brand, but also encourage and challenge corporations to further develop new energy-efficient practices.
As more and more companies realize the financial benefits of “going green,” they also recognize the positive way that this strategy impact their customers, employees, and overall image. A positive environmental message attracts superior associates, creating a healthier, safer, more team-oriented work environment. 92% of young professionals would be more inclined to work for environmentally-friendly companies (www.earthshare.org). Many employers offer team members the option to work remotely which saves in vehicle maintenance, gas, and parking costs and may also relieve external family pressure and stress. These factors, not only, cut overhead expenses, but also increase employee efficiency and overall morale.
A modern family tends to be more environmentally conscious than those from past generations. Recycling and reducing waste have become commonplace practices. A focus on sustainability attracts and engages customers and is a brand-strengthening asset. 35% of consumers are willing to spend more for green products as long as the product is comparable or better than the competitor’s product (www.earthshare.org). “Going green” also tends to attract investors and can create a positive media buzz. It is important, however, that a corporation does not misuse this asset. “… A brand’s efforts in this area could serve as an under-utilized asset, or conversely, suffer due to accusations of ‘greenwashing’” (www.interbrand.com).
It is clear that businesses no longer believe that “going green” is a fad. Consumers demand green alternatives and illustrate this through their spending patterns. The focus should always remain on the bottom line, but attention to sustainability has proven to be a way to positively impact these figures.
7 thoughts on “To Green or NOT to Green that is the Question”
Going green is becoming less about being progressive and smart and more about the standard. Being a green company affects businesses of all sizes not to mention it can have tax advantages, lower costs, and increase efficiency. It also benefits your brand, public image and of course the environment. I also think there are positive effects on your employee’s morale as well as recruitment efforts.
It’s of my opinion that corporations must have “green” initiatives now and also in the future. There are financial incentives, environmental incentives and it most certainly increases a corporation’s image. However, I have heard that some corporations avoid green initiatives because investors won’t necessarily see a return. On the other hand, corporations that have environmentally friendly initiatives are said to have a competitive advantage over a company that may have a history of polluting the environment. There are probably arguments that can be made for both sides, but in the end it seems that the positives far outweigh the negatives. Those that have not made this a priority are most likely resistant to change.
“Going Green” is a great corporate and social movement that many companies bought into early. I think it is always a win win if a company can gain a financial advantage and be socially responsible at the same time. In my opinion I also think going green is less of a marketing ploy and more a way of conducting business. Less and less do you see companies self promote green practices but instead these companies just conduct themselves in a way that is green and beneficial for the environment without promoting their practices.
The reality of “To Green or not to Green” is that pushing a green initiative is great for a company’s public image, but can be very costly for that company. In looking at so many of these initiatives that we’ve seen recently, whether it has included solar, wind, battery or ethanol it is extremely costly to set up service stations or service grids and depending alternatives, such as natural gas, oil and coal can fall in and out of favor. I do believe that many consumers currently prefer these green initiatives and in a retail setting prefer recycled products in an attempt to feel as though they are making the world a better place.
I look forward to the future, whether it’s wind, solar, ethanol, battery or some other form technology that companies initiate to promote green practices and can only assume as “green” becomes more of the normal that costs will go down for companies to push these practices.
“Going Green” in the corporate world is the new trend and many companies are following it. I agree with all of your points but there should be another focus on this topic. The question that comes into play is, is it really feasible to go green for smaller and medium sized companies which make up majority of businesses? The original poster mentioned that companies such as “Johnson & Johnson, Toyota, and Honda were the top three players” in this movement. One has to understand that these are multi billion companies, which have the resources, most importantly money, to go green and make everything environmentally friendly. The reality is that small and medium sized business are cash strapped and do not have the extra cash to turn their workplace or business green.
From my workplace experience in small companies, the issues of going green was brought up but eventually shot down after financial issues were brought up.
In conclusion, I personally believe going green is a great movement for those companies that could afford it. As we have seen with technology and materials over the years, prices tend to go down so hopefully going green will become an affordable movement for small and medium sized companies in the near future so we could all focus on our environmental problems and make them better.
“Going green” has become and remained a large part of many people’s lives. Many only buy green products which increases the demand. I think more and more people are trying to develop the green lifestyle but many also find it expensive and difficult to maintain. “Going green” is not something that can happen over not; it does become a lifestyle. But, I do agree that many people will choose a product over another due to its green factor. But, there are also many who would not choose to do so if it is more costly. Since “going green” is keeping a strong role among society, it is important for these companies who choose to be green, to continue to do so. We more than likely will see a steady pace or a gradual increase in the demand for this lifestyle.
This post contains some interesting facts about how “going green” is now an aspect that consumers demand for their corporations, but what is rarely discussed is what it actually costs corporations and consumers to “go green”. Society’s desire to become economically friendly is two sided. For example, in this post it states that the best global green brands were Toyota, Honda, and Johnson and Johnson, but what is not mentioned is what it takes to create these “green” brands. These products were created in factories that most likely emit pollution therefore we are omitting a carbon footprint and creating one, and the higher the demand becomes for eco-friendly products the more factories that will be needed. It is extremely interesting how society is always praising a company for being eco-friendly, but forgets to look at the entire picture behind creating that brand/product. So the question is how to “go green” in every part that is involved in creating that product.