Book Review: Green Business - Townsend, A. )

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Green Business - Townsend

Townsend, a. (2006). Green Business: A Five Part Model for Creating and Environmentally

Responsible Company. Arlington, PA: Schiffer Publishing Company.

Overview- Green Business is a guide to the basic elements necessary to enhance sustainability for any type of business. Despite being written by an academic, it is written for the average employee, and focuses on a broad overview of the range of the more typical practices of sustainability:

Five Reasons Companies Are Greening

Ethical (e.g. environmental goals and pressures)

Pressure from stakeholders

Governmental Regulation

Organizational Crises

Economic opportunities; disincentives to NOT green

Overall Need for Standardization -- Provides greater synergy, cost savings, leveling of expertise

The Mission -- gradual change to sustainable philosophies which, in turn, provide sustainable products

Employees -- change in mindset; employee participation essential for overall success

Operations -- changes the paradigm of operations and delivery

Facilities and Sites -- may require more initial investment

Products and Services -- changes the way they are marketed and sold

Future of Green Business -- no debate, future is now

Chapter 1 -- the Five Reasons Why Companies Are Greening -- Culture changes, and with it the most innovative companies change, too. Part of the cultural change over the past two decades has been the consistent and regular attitude towards ecology, carbon footprint, and sustainability. Many companies see that they have, or do, produce materials that are negative to either the people, the environment, or both. They see that changing this paradigm will not only be a good ethical and moral decision, but will likely encourage like-minded consumers to be loyal to them. The negative ecological effects of business and industry are well documented; this is no longer a theory, but a reality.

Talking Points

Companies realize that in the new culture if they do not green, they will be forced to by the government. Responding to consumer demand for more ecologically friendly products is simply good business.

Cutting carbon footprint and greenhouse gases is not an individual decision anymore, but one that must be taken in total by all businesses.

Along with governmental regulations, which often take years to become law, there are numerous government subsidies and programs that fiscally encourage companies to go green. There are low interest loans, sometimes even tax incentives. All this makes it a perfect time to revamp.

Going green sometimes means larger upfront expenses because the technology is newer; but over the life of the product and/or course of business, savings are realized.

Chapter 2 -- the Need to Standardize What Companies Green- it is important to note the greening of business is not a process that can be put in place in a randomized manner. Instead, it must adhere to the mission statement, employee manual, operational directive, the facility and sites manual, and of course, the products and services plan. Standardizing provides synergies not readily apparent and helps to minimize unseen difficulties (procurement, for example). Think of the hundreds of vendors a large business uses, and then ask what kind of vetting process is necessary, and how long does it take, to ensure that they are working to be eco -- friendly?

Talking Points

Green Business -- Interfaces with Best Practices to provide the core template for a business: mission statement, strategic and tactical planning, adjustments to procedures, and the roll up of all events that impact the business.

Industrial Ecology -- Centers on the products that will be produced; what technology is necessary to establish eco-friendly products; how will this be marketed; what new innovations are necessary?

Green Architecture -- What can the business do to ensure that the sites and facilities are green?

Green Landscape Design -- Sometimes the first impression of employees, media and visitors is the initial landscaping of the company headquarters. It should be biome appropriate.

Ecological Economics -- Bring operations and purchasing into the loop.

Systems Science -- Green up HR.

Chapter 3- Greening Your Mission -- Regardless of the size of the organization, a green mission statement is vital for the success of any company that wishes to move into an eco-friendly mode. The mission provides a compass for company activities, helps to differentiate the company and its products and services from competitors, sets a good example for other companies to emulate, and helps to establish trust and loyalty of both employees and current/potential customers. There are, though, two types of missions: the company mission and the environmental mission. Companies that wish to move towards sustainability likely put green values and goals into their mission statements, and send clear signals to all stakeholders. This also strengthens the values and internal goals of the company.

Talking Points

Mission statements reflect the company's reason for existence.

Eco-directed mission statements are powerful tools.

When employees understand brief and meaningful mission statements, they are far more likely to embrace the core values of the company.

Environmental mission statements reflect the company's ecological profile and policies.

These indicate to everyone what the company's overall commitment is to becoming eco-friendly.

Review mission statements annually, do not necessarily change them, but ensure that the message one wants to broadcast is indeed the same message that is expressed in the statement -- particularly about the environment.

Chapter 4- Greening Your Employees- No business can undertake such a major change in becoming green without the talents and commitment of its employees. Actions are needed in every model, every day, and every step of the way in the company. In order to achieve this, employees must understand the company mission, align their performance goals and compensation to those goals, and demonstrate staff values of the same. Going forward, and most especially when the word gets out that the company is indeed greening, it will be easier to hire those individuals who are committed to sustainability and may even bring innovation with them. Strong leadership is also essential for greening; senior management must believe in greening and set an example in order for employees to take the process seriously. Nothing says sustainability like upper management biking to work, carpooling, or using some sort of mass-transit. In a similar way, at all stages of job performance, these green values must be espoused.

Talking points-

Greening is a process, and may scare some employees. Employees are often frightened of change, of the unknown, and uncertain where they "fit."

The mission statement will initially help, but there should be a significant amount of training and feedback time for employee issues, questions, and concerns.

Make learning and greening fun, a part of the job, and help employees understand how vital their personal role is within the overall company greening standard.

Manage employee greening, not the opposite.

Chapter 5 -- Greening Your Operations -- Operations is an umbrella for a number of different aspects that are some of the most visible ways a company shows that it is serious about greening.

Talking Points

Daycare/Childcare- Children are sensitive to chemicals; using a green philosophy helps employees feel good about childcare benefits and helps train a way for parents to green at home.

Employee commuting and business travel -- greening can really impact here; carpooling, company assisted mass transit, reevaluation of airplane usage, using video conferencing to reduce carbon footprints, changing the way employees approach travel.

Food service -- changing purchasing patterns for employee cafeteria, offering healthy diets; switching vending machines to juices, yogurt, and fruit.

Delivery fleet- delivery is necessary, but greener fuels and more efficient vehicles are an option, as is a more efficient rout (perhaps at night without traffic) and multiple destination spots during one trip.

Marketing -- reduce waste, use environmentally committed materials, show the world how, not just why, you have gone green.

Procurement -- money talks; it is important to back up your philosophy about greening with the products purchased -- soon your vendors will get the idea, too.

Avoid products that are toxic, or tested on animals; green up education. Set up a company-wide recycling program -- make it a habit.

Chapter 6 -- Greening Your Facilities and Sites -- Not always apparent to the outside world, this is likely one of the most expensive and complex parts of greening. Older facilities are often riddled with issues, new construction is expensive. Each part of the entire conglomerate, though, needs to be addressed: office buildings, garages, transportation sites; ships or planes in some cases. This requires a greater degree of environmental awareness and acumen, is much broader in scope, and often requires the use of outside consultant.

Talking Points

It is fairly east to use solar power to assist in hot water and some other energy needs.

Older power sources, especially in leased buildings may require some negotiation and tweaking.

Set up water conservation taps, dryers for hands, and water safe toilets.

Find ways to work within one's environment to provide natural ways to heat and cool.

Replace bulbs with energy efficient lights; use timers to ensure lights are off or when people are not working.

Reinsulate when possible and necessary. Replace windows… [END OF PREVIEW]

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