Green shmeen and the business of the environment

We need to stop business buying a green stamp of approval.

Okay so everyone is now going green. Great. Businesses are trying to outdo each other by being greener than others. This is the new loyalty program – you remember loyalty programs – they used to offer a point of difference to the early adopters until everyone came along and made loyalty programs pretty much useless as a differentiator. Do you really believe you’re saving 4 cents at the petrol bowser with the supermarket dockets? I don’t. Do you really think FlyBy points are worth anything? I don’t

Green is heading in the same direction. Do you really trust the companies, and I mean BIG companies, which claim to be chasing a carbon neutral operation? I don’t.

Now that companies realise they can make money off of being green it suits them to buy green power, recycle more and do anything to get the logos on their websites and products. We’ve done it – more than a year ago we switched to green power – because we believe in it not to make money. For years, Gary Hall, one of our software developers, has been running a recycling program: – paper, cans and plastic are all recycled; three years ago we switched to filtering water in-house from water in plastic bottles; for years all toner cartridges are recycled.

I’m all for companies becoming more green, as long as it is real and not just something they cost justify based on the returns they could achieve. Before paying for trees etc to offset the damage their processes cause, maybe they could look at making the processes more efficient.

We are working on other practical steps:

Reducing use of the lift by walking the stairs to our offices.
More efficient lighting.
Updated cooling systems.
Moving from petrol to hybrid vehicles as we change over.

Government and environmental organisations need to ensure that big businesses cannot buy greenness and that it is earned through practical and worthwhile change to their business practices.

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