Are We Moving to Greener Business Pastures?

05 Mar 2009 Are We Moving to Greener Business Pastures?

We need sustainable packaging

Not long ago company president Dennis Salazar wrote an excellent article entitled Is There a Disconnect In Your Green Business?, which appeared on GreenBiz.com. In the article, Dennis makes several important points about the difficulties large companies encounter in converting green business initiatives into action. I highly recommend this article to business leaders – with it’s in-the-trenches perspective, it is quite illuminating.

Many fear that our economy, which is plunging into deep recession, will work against the interest of a greener business environment. The main concern is that economic necessity will cause companies to limit or eliminate green initiatives due to cost and time constraints. In times like this, the argument goes, companies hunker down and resist any sort of change.

My own view is much the opposite. The business world is ultimately in the business of sales. Because of that, any company’s policies, products, branding, and marketing reflect the values of its customers. These days, what do people value? Seems to me –

  • The credit orgy is over. We have to live within our means.
  • Think global, buy local. We have to do whatever we can to look out for our neighbor.

Big as the green movement is, value shifts like the two I mention are even bigger. And both of them are very much in sync with a sustainable approach to doing business. Think in terms of sustainable packaging. Fast food chains that eliminate excess packaging will fare better than ones that don’t. Grocers that put bulk packaged products on the shelf will sell more than ones that don’t. Why? Because more and more, people see value in thrift, conservation of resources, balance, and practicality.

Up to about a year ago, the sustainability movement was running against the cultural tide of materialism and general excess. Today, the tide has shifted. A company that pushes its green initiatives will find that its ship has come in.