IS ENVIRONMENTALISM REALLY BAD FOR BUSINESS?

3 opportunities to leverage

Politicians talk often and loudly about how ‘environments’ stand in the way of progress and in particular job creation. Business people also have a habit of spurning environmentalists. Even the community seems concerned about ‘greenies’

I would argue however that an environmentally sound to addressing consumer needs can offer a great deal to:

  • Politicians through new industries
  • Business through cost cutting
  • Consumers through jobs

Alternative energy has given rise to a new industries and all the innovation that comes with it. The technology associated with alternative energy has contributed a great deal to the world

Eliminating waste is a very effective means by which business can reduce costs, a point made to be by a very senior international business person

For the community alternative energy, waste management and environmentally sound tourism, for example, can generate greater employment. There will always be more jobs in tourism than logging

I recently watched a YOU TUBE clip featuring Michael Porter from Harvard University. www.ted.com/talks/michael_porter_why_business_can_be_good_at_solving_social_problems?language=en

Porter put the case for business playing a greater role in problem solving, including problem solving in the environmental sector

So what can business do to benefit from and or leverage the growing concern for the environment? Three things spring to mind:

  • Eliminate waste
  • Focus on quality
  • Authentic positioning

There is little doubt that reducing waste can reduce costs. It is also good for the environment. Waste has a cost in dollars and to the environment

Focusing on quality and reducing the reliance on planned redundancy will reduce waste, benefit the environment, develop good will, and assist in boosting margins. It will also help businesses develop relationships that can be leveraged for permission marketing based on long term relationships

A business that can authentically position itself as genuinely acting in a way that is environmentally sound will benefit in terms of reputation which will in turn help attract customers and the best staff. There is no doubt that customers and staff are both attracted to businesses that act responsibly. They are most attracted to businesses that do so rather than saying they do while not doing so

Developing the reputation also supports increased pricing and therefore potentially margins. But this will only be the case where:

  • The contribution is real and not just PR
  • There are no other compensating practises
  • There is consistency of performance

In this regard I am reminded of a featuring Ray Anderson of Interface who built the world’s largest commercial carpet firm around these principles www.ted.com/talks/ray_anderson_on_the_business_logic_of_sustainability?language=en

What are your thoughts?

This issue will be discussed in more detail on THE D. JOHN CARLSON NETWORK – www.djohncarlsonnetwork.com

D. John Carlson is a behavioural scientist, strategic planner and lateral thinker focusing on branding, marketing and communication. Visit his blog – www.djohncarlsonesq.com

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