5 reasons why business is going green ~ Sounds + Food 'n' Retail

skitched-20080303-191046.jpgLet's face it, even with nature knocking on our door, some accountant will still ask what this whole thing is going to cost. Science, facts, morality… it's not enough. I compare it to smoking; even though everyone knows smoking kills, it took pressure—social, governmental, commercial—for people to quit. And the same applies to businesses going green.

Without further ado, here's five pressures that make the business-case for companies to change.

1. Governmental pressure - let's ignore for a fact that government is the one keeping its finger on the pulse of scientific research, social, business, and technological trends. But what is hard to ignore is that the government is actively pushing businesses to change, either by punishing the wrong-doers, by subsidising clean practices and technologies, or by providing new infrastructures around these new rules, allowing for businesses to dispose of their waste in better ways and use alternative, cleaner energy-sources.

2. Consumer pressure - like with smoking, not all consumers have been following the new green "religion" quite as passionately. That said, there are the early adopters, the geeks, the pressure-groups, that are insisting on businesses changing their ways. And those businesses are themselves customers to their suppliers and are doing the same thing to them.

3. Business climate pressure - apart from the above, two things will strongly pressure businesses to change: costs and competition. The rising cost of fuel, electricity, and water, etc., as well as the cost of disposing their waste, is a good incentive to implement technologies that help conserve energy and produce less waste. Similarly, as competition will do the same, businesses are forced to respond.

4. Knowledge-carriers - with the amount of scientific research being produced everyday, it was only a matter of time before methodologies would be developed to help businesses become greener. Since this is still a specialised activity, both commercial parties (consultants) and governmental institutions are there to advise companies on how to change.

5. New technologies - new inventions are constantly being brought to the market, that help businesses conserve energy or get it from alternative sources. Think: technology to monitor and regulate energy-use, water-conserving toilets, more efficient lights, green roofs, etc.

Anything I missed?

In a way, you can't blame businesses for resisting. There have been lot's of change-initiatives these last decades—from ERP to joint ventures—which have produced questionable, if not disastrous results. For change to happen, it must be driven by strategy first, because doing business is like doing war. There is a high price for failure and no one will be congratulating the loser.

But what is certain, is that eventually there will be no more choice. Those that are slow to react will do so at the cost of an unsympathetic government, of the competition racing ahead, and of customers dropping their support.

This article is mirror-posted on tech IT easy, where there's also an interesting discussion going on. Why do people end up going green?


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