Tuesday, February 26, 2008
So what's the morale of the story for green businesses? First the Simplot example reminds businesses that they need the full partnership of all supply chain members in order to truly be green. One supplier, logistics firm, reseller or wholesaler can "offset" many of the positive environmental impacts a company makes. Second, design of a product should include a reduction of environmental impact throughout all stages of the product's life cycle. One source of ideas on this topic is McDonough and Braungart's book "Cradle to Cradle" (which I haven't had a chance to read yet). It follows a basic idea that at the end of a product's life, what remains should provide the raw ingredients for creating something else, similar to the way the death of one animal or plant can be the food that gives life to another. (This of course is not a unique idea. Others have written about Bio-Mimicry or sustainable design, but the Cradle to Cradle book has received a lot of rave reviews.)
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Companies say it’s not easy being green, but the benefits are great
Alexandria, Va., January 16, 2008 – “Going green” is a hot topic, but has the workplace caught on yet? According to the 2008 SHRM Green Workplace Survey released today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 50 percent of surveyed organizations have a formal or informal environmental responsibility policy, but 43 percent have no such policy and no plans to implement one within the next 12 months.
“The findings revealed a surprising paradox,” said Susan R. Meisinger, president and CEO of SHRM. “The study shows that companies really do benefit from environmentally-friendly practices, and yet a large portion of firms have no plans to ‘go green’,” she added.
Companies that implement environmental responsibility programs report considerable benefits. Human resource (HR) professionals cite improved employee morale (44 percent) and a stronger public image for the company (42 percent) as top benefits. They also report increased consumer/customer confidence/choice (20 percent) and a positive financial bottom line (19 percent) as a result of the organization’s environmental responsible program. Survey respondents also cite increased employee loyalty (16 percent).
These findings indicate that “green” initiatives can be a selling point to attract potential employees, particularly among younger workers. “These employees check the background of organizations and talk with employees to find out for themselves if the ‘green’ CSR messaging delivers on its promise,” said Gerlinde Herrmann, SHRP, president of the Herrmann Group and a member of SHRM’s Corporate Social Responsibility Expertise Panel.
Despite the benefits, HR professionals admit that it’s not easy for their companies to become and remain environmentally friendly. The most common barrier to creating an environmental program is implementation cost (85 percent) followed by maintenance cost (74 percent). Other barriers include lack of management support (43 percent), lack of employee support (25 percent), and concern for workplace inefficiency (20 percent).
Still, nearly three out of four employees from companies without environmental programs say they want their employers to “go green.” Seventy-three (73) percent of surveyed employees in companies without an environmental responsibility policy thought it was very or somewhat important that their organization develop an environmental responsibility policy.
“It is possible for every organization to provide some level of environmentally responsible practices,” said Victoria Johnson, M.S., PHR, the human resources director of Fellowship House and a member of SHRM’s Corporate Social Responsibility Expertise Panel.
Other notable findings in the SHRM Green Workplace Survey are below.
• While C-suite support for company initiatives is key, relatively few at the CEO/President (15 percent) level are responsible for creating the environmentally responsible program and fewer (four percent) are responsible for program implementation. The majority of such programs are created by a senior management team (32 percent) and roughly the same number (31 percent) are also responsible for implementation.
• HR professionals rank the top five environmentally-responsible practices to be: 1) encouraging employees to work more environmentally friendly (83 percent); 2) offering a recycling program for office products (83 percent); 3) donating and discounting used office furniture and supplies to employees or local charity (73 percent); 4) using energy efficient lighting systems and equipment such as ENERGY STAR® equipment and occupancy sensors (66 percent); and 5) installing automatic shutoff for equipment (63 percent).
• Employees offer a slightly different view and rank the five most important environmentally-responsible practices as follows: 1) donating and discounting used office furniture and supplies to employees or local charity (53 percent); 2) promoting walking, biking, taking public transit (49 percent); 3) using energy efficient lighting systems and equipment (43 percent); 4) offering a recycling programs for office products (39 percent); and 5) encouraging employees to work more environmentally friendly (36 percent).
• Both human resource professionals and employees state that their primary, or number one, motivation for participating in environmentally responsible programs is to make a contribution to society. HR professionals placed more weight on environmental (53 percent) and economic (46 percent) considerations as second and third most prevalent company motivators. Employees report public relations strategy (26 percent) and health and safety considerations (24 percent), respectively, as the second and third driving factors.
The Green Workplace Survey’s 429 HR professional respondents represent publicly- and privately-owned companies, nonprofits, and the government sector. The 504 employee sample was randomly selected from U.S. telephone population. All employee respondents were either employed full time or part time.
A complete copy of the survey is available at www.shrm.org/surveys. (But it's for members only).
Friday, February 22, 2008
C.R.T. is comprised of private sector companies who strive to be responsible stewards of the environment by not only complying with all environmental regulations but by implementing business practices that minimize diesel emissions and encourage sustainable practices. C.R.T. founding members, NYK Group Companies, Target, Total Transportation Services, Inc., are actively seeking to partner with other like-minded companies who share in their commitment to the environment and the communities in which they operate.
So are any local companies involved or thinking of getting involved?
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
In case you're stuck with the old Kermit the Frog song in your head (or maybe you are NOW), here's the video: It's not easy being green. Enjoy.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
In case you haven't already received the announcement (and if not, please contact me so that I can add you to my mailing list) the next Green Business Networking Event will be Monday, February 18th, from 4:30 - 6:30 at the Tate Center gallery (second floor). Enter through the Beatty Center (5 Liberty Street), go up the stairs and across the bridge. Please bring anyone you know that might be interested.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
Friday, February 8, 2008
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Green Drinks Charleston Wednesday, February 13th, 7 pm - ?? at the Trusted Palate, 563 King Street. Meet up with a dynamic group of individuals and organizations from around the Lowcountry who meet up once a month to enjoy cocktails, lively discussions, new friends, and good times."
Also from the Green Drinks blog site, there will be an Energy Film Fest in Florence from 12:00 noon to 4:45.
Alternative Energy Meet-up Wednesday February 20th at Huger (restaurant),587 King St
And of course the next Green Business Networking event - Monday February 18th at the Tate Center, 5 Liberty Street, 2nd floor, 4:30 - 7:00. I'm working on getting something a little extra this time.
I know I've missed some events, so please either add them in the comments or send them to me via e-mail and I'll update the post.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
That's one great step forward, but we need to do even more. That's going to take effort from everyone. There are two potentially good opportunities to infuse sustainability into the College. One is the Strategic Planning Focus Groups that are beginning tomorrow. As per the official message:
"The College of Charleston is embarking on a strategic planning process that will define our core values and purpose; identify our academic, co-curricular, and community priorities; and guide us on our path to become a world-class institution. As a part of this process, we are seeking input from members of the College's faculty."Although this appears to be open only to faculty, it's an opportunity for those of us that have a desire to see sustainability as one of the College's core values. So those of you like me that would like to see the status of sustainability improved at the College, volunteer to be part of the focus groups. As I've learned at the School of Business and Economics meeting today, response so far has been "tepid". So there shouldn't be much of a problem of getting into one of the focus groups.
And speaking of the SBE meeting, as some of you have probably heard, the Dean will be ending his term this summer. This means that at some point the search for a new dean will begin. My hope is that we can find someone that believes in the importance of sustainability. As a junior faculty I neither have experience with the dean search process, nor the influence to have much impact on the process, but I will certainly try to make sustainability a point of interest in searching for a new dean.
Of course if you're not a faculty member you're probably wondering what you can do (if you've even read this far). On that I'm not too certain and I hope that we'll have some commentary with suggestions. I would imagine that businesses and organizations in the area, as potential employers of CofC graduates, you should have some input into both processes. Likewise students should have some input since we're all pretty much here to provide you with an education and help you find a job (or at least prepare you for one). So I would think that if a great number of non-faculty started inquiring about how they can have a say in the processes of strategic planning and finding a new Business School dean that you might actually get one.
Monday, February 4, 2008
- Green Consumers - high activism and high willingness to pay
- Green Activists - high activism and low willingness to pay
- Latent Greens - low activism, high willingness to pay
- Inactive - low activism and low willingness to pay
So my questions to you are: Is this a reasonable way to look at the market? How do you and your business look at the market? Do you target any of these groups and what success have you had?
By the way, this is the first of what will be specific business strategy-oriented posts meant to help green businesses in Charleston grow (one of my dream list items below). I'll try to do these about once a week. If any of these topics end up being really "hot", I'll try to set up something at a future networking event to delve deeper into the discussion.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
The grand prize is $5000, with $2500 for first and $1000 for runners up. Find out more at www.newideassc.com.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
The report shows that the US has done well in areas like clean tech, energy efficiency and paper. But we are failing in terms of e-waste and carbon intensity. Given these two major weaknesses in green business in the US, what can we do here in Charleston? What do you do with your e-waste? What have you and/or your business/organization done to reduce carbon emissions?