In a sign of the times, this month the Harvard Business Review proclaims Green Will Save Us on its front cover while Newsweek has published green rankings for the USA’s 500 largest companies.
The Harvard Business Review’s bold statement sees that “Once and inconvenient truth, climate change is now an incontrovertible problem… Consumers are ever greener, and their support for sustainable products and practices is growing worldwide.”
The Review’s writers argue that: “organizations can turn sustainability into innovation’s new frontier – achieving competitive advantage and influencing economic recovery in much the same way that the breakthrough products and business models of computer companies led the way out of previous recessions.”
We can think of such development in stages – for example:
- Viewing Compliance as an opportunity
- Making Value Chains Sustainable
- Designing Sustainable Products and Services
- Developing New Business Models
- Creating Next Practice Platforms
It’s all adds up to big call to find your business’s sustainable and carbon advantages.
Google Earth has just released climate change layers showing the world as it responds to and is impacted by climate change. Narrated by Al Gore, you can tour the world from large scale renewable energy to the Greenland icesheet – as illustrated in the picture – and from Amazon community reforestation to the impact of climate change on global human health.
The world climate change tours are also on youtube. And try the Carbon Footprint project for maps of emissions etc. in the UK.
In Australia, the ACF’s Consumption Atlas provides local information.
Whatever your business, the truth is that there are green advantages waiting to be found. The case for small and medium business is just as compelling as for big business as this Pharmacy article shows. At the very least there are competitive supplier and direct profits to be found.
At the big end Wal-Mart is a leading example. Its CEO, Lee Scott, says “our goals are to be supplied 100% by renewable energy … to create zero waste … and to sell products that sustain our resources and our environment. Helping customers buy more sustainable products … is something that I think all of us can be proud of.”
Boots in the UK ran a 2007 trial putting a carbon footprint reduction label on products. It’s now working with the UK Carbon Trust for a country wide labelling standard. At a store level it’s spent £5 million cutting energy use – expenditure that helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the company’s power bills. And in 2007, 99% of the UK Cooperative Pharmacy’s electricity came from green (renewable) sources.
So where’s the Gold for the Green pharmacy? Read more here.
A revolutionary example of progressive and sustainable development, says the Murray Valley Standard, is on its way for Murray Bridge in South Australia. It’s a fully commercial residential site setting new world-class and affordable standards. These include the:
- Reuse of all water (including stormwater, grey and black water).
- A cut to the Carbon Footprint associated with home use by 85%.
- Cutting potable water use by a factor of 10.
- Highly energy efficient households.
- Initiatives that deliver a significant cut to the Ecological Footprint associated with the homes and living in them.
- Fitting all 320 houses with 1 kW of Solar PV each.
At this site GreenMode is helping SAID Property Developments deliver a unique package. Many of the initiatives are likely to cost less, or no more, than those that would have a much greater environmental impact at a similar but conventional residential site. The initiatives are detailed here and the work shows how we can simultaneously get excellent results for the environment and economy.