How to Start Your Company's Green Sustainability Effort

Environmental responsibility could be the next big disruptive business force that will change economies and societies. Enterprises that have an approach to green sustainability will be better able to recognize important changes early, adopting and even profiting from events. Enterprises that lag behind will be doomed to play catch-up, perhaps missing windows of opportunity altogether. To help you anticipate and prepare for disruptive environmental change, Knowledge Center contributor Brandi McManus offers four tips for building green sustainability into your corporate culture.


If environmental responsibility is the next big disruptive business force that will change economies and societies, is your business prepared? There is evidence that climate change is real and is driving critical business decisions today. Investors and stakeholders are asking hard questions about environmental responsibility, and many companies are making changes based on the opportunity and the consequences.

For example, one current business book discusses how a leading bottled water was pulled from the British market for failing European Union water quality tests. And at least two major computer companies have made going greener part of their brand advertising. To quote from the book, in "today's world, no company, big or small, operating locally or globally, in manufacturing or services, can afford to ignore environmental issues." The consequences of ignoring these critical issues can be loss of revenue and market share, a decrease in employee retention, and even possible damage to your brand from which you might never recover.

Forward-looking business professionals are doing more than changing light bulbs. They are asking profound and important questions such as "How will the environment disrupt my business and industry?" and "What are the threats to my business in the coming changes?" and "What are the opportunities in the coming changes?" In other words, companies are trying to see around the environmental corner, so to speak, to position themselves to win big and do the right thing for the planet.

Climate change and environmental concerns have the disruptive power to change our energy sources, personal consumer habits, business relationships, how we travel, where we live and just about every other aspect of our lives. They certainly have the power to change your business.

The following table shows some of the ways the leading environmental issues can impact business. To be ready for these changes, businesses must have a sustained, continuous approach to managing their environmental sustainability.