Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Editor's Pick

A Blueprint for Today's Sustainability
By John Lash, Global Policy Innovations Program
Published November 2, 2007, Environmental News Network

While concerned groups have been making the case for global warming and environmental responsibility for years, it only recently crossed over into the mainstream. Popular acceptance is in part thanks to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, which spread the word that global warming is a reality. Whether you agree fully with the documentary or not, its message resonated with the public and fueled consumer demand for environmentally friendly products and services.

At the same time, the science behind global warming and man's role in accelerating it is no longer refuted. The academic and business communities came together with a single voice, including holdouts like Exxon that until recently had cast doubt on the science. These events sounded a wake-up call around the world.

Chief executives, as individuals and as business leaders, heard this wake-up call and the current sustainability movement was born. Today's sustainability builds corporate social responsibility and environmental awareness on the foundations of increasing brand value and the bottom line. Unlike the Carter-era ecology movement, today's sustainability does not ask consumers to change their habits or make do with less, but to expect more from less.

This message appeals to existing environmentally sensitive consumers and makes it easy for others to go green. Meanwhile, corporations win with positive contributions to the bottom line, a sense of doing the right thing, and an almost unprecedented opportunity to increase brand value and loyalty.

Sounds great, but what are companies actually doing to achieve this? The good news for CEOs looking to go green is that sustainability initiatives across industries follow a common blueprint.


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