Over the weekend I had some time to reflect on how far we have come as a company and product line (Globe Guard) but more importantly how far green businesses in general have come. Certainly green companies have grown and matured and some have become very successful by being exactly what they should be.
Characteristics of a Green Company
- Authentic – they are legitimately green and not just jumping aboard the band wagon
- Innovative – creating new products and services that the market wants and needs
- Competitive – in terms of quality, performance and price
- Consistent – every person within the organization follows the green path every day with no room for compromise or shortcuts
Green Is Authentic
This is an absolute must because the market demands it. I often describe green buyers as skeptical and that is a gross understatement. The massive amount of green washing to be found in the market place forces green minded consumers to be downright mistrusting and unforgiving when they are wronged. Be prepared for the questions because they will be asked and understandably so. The market is getting smarter so looking green and claiming green are not nearly enough.
Green Is Innovative
I am thrilled and encouraged that real solutions are indeed being developed. I respect the green minded person who complains about the use of plastic coffee stirrers but I applaud the individual who develops a good alternative. When I see what companies are doing in terms of up-cycling, I am amazed. Turning waste into something better than it originally was, is an amazing feat. An example is recycled glass being turned into expensive counter tops and tiles. We are also creating and saving almost every form of energy at unheard of rates and having a legitimate and positive impact on the environment.
Green Is Competitive
I am not suggesting a green company be “close” in terms of quality, performance or price; I am proposing that it has to be at the very least equal and ideally better. The days of the “green price premium” are over as is the day when eco minded consumers would overlook some deficiencies. The green space is becoming more and more crowded and if we are not “brilliant on the basics” such as customer service, our new competitors will gladly provide it to our customers.
Green Is Consistent
Last February I wrote an article for one of my favorite web sites, Green Biz. In it I talked about how difficult it is for an organization to remain green throughout as it grows larger.
I am sorry to say not much has changed since I wrote that post. In fact the problem has probably gotten worse because more green companies have succeeded and grown to that feared point of dysfunction. When the director of sustainability, the director of purchasing and the order picker all share the same green goals and objectives, then you have something that is truly unique and capable of weathering any storm, economic, political or otherwise.
Green Is Who We Are
After contemplating our own efforts in this dramatic green trend, I am very proud of the role we play, even though it feels minute at times. We help companies save money and become greener in the process and that is a very good thing.
Green is indeed who we are, and what I hope we will always remain. However, reminding myself every now and then about the problems and pitfalls we can expect with growth – that is also a very good thing.