Friday, February 20, 2009

“True” Commitment

I’ve been writing about the A.T. Kearney report that discussed their findings that the market rewarded “companies who show a ‘true’ commitment to sustainability.”  What is a ‘true’ commitment to sustainability and what does that look like?

To me, using sustainability as a strategic driver means you make that focus primary.  Making money and being financially sound are also important but if they become the primary focus or raison d’etre, I believe you’ll make short-term decisions and when the two conflict, you’ll likely make the wrong choice.

Another sign of “true” commitment is leadership and a continuous drive for improvement.  I toured Rejuvination's manufacturing facility this week and learned that they sit down each year and evaluate all areas of their business to ensure they are using the current best practices.  Is there a better chemical, process or material they should be using, if so, they change.  

One thing I’m beginning to use as a criteria between a deep and real commitment to sustainability and a lesser, questionable commitment is the greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory.

No GHG inventory and no plans to do one = Questionable commitment.  Are they just greenwashing?

Taking action to minimize your waste stream is important. The largest and arguably most dangerous waste streams are your unseen and unmeasured carbon emissions. 

Dr. James Hansen, the NASA scientist and climate expert, recently wrote that “our planet really is in peril” as a result of our carbon emissions.

Will 2009 be the year you do your GHG inventory, or are you prepared to be accused of greenwashing and lose your brand and market position?

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