A while back, I wrote a piece about how the military is ignoring the anaphylaxis of climate change skeptics and pursuing a core strategy of going green. To keep up with all the latest and greatest at the DoD and their green endeavors, check out this link. Pretty cool, huh? Man, they've got a lot going on there!
A recent column in the Minneapolis Star and Tribune shows that there is another segment of our society that isn't listening to the climate change skeptics either: Business.
Problem is, for the skeptics -- business leaders didn't get the memo.Business isn't waiting for politicians to act. Sustainability has moved from the tributaries of society into the mainstream of commerce. CEOs "have a number of stakeholders that are pushing them in this direction," says B. Andrew Brown, partner and regulatory affairs department head at Dorsey & Whitney LLP. "Customers, investors, employees, even banks and insurance companies."
Management is learning that an embrace of sustainability is a rich strategy in an intensely competitive global economy. It offers another approach to risk management (just ask Mattel's management about the cost of recalling millions of toys manufactured in China and tainted with toxic lead paint).It's also a way to lower costs and boost efficiency.
Many of my regular readers know that I spend a fair amount of time ripping the business community. I have to admit that this article was a welcome surprise and is, without a doubt, another example of my happiness (dare I say glee?) at being wrong. So who are these companies embracing this new core strategy?
Take Wal-Mart, the controversial retail giant. Five years ago, then chief executive Lee Scott launched Sustainability 360 with three major goals: Using 100 percent renewable energy, creating zero waste and selling sustainable products. With 2005 as its baseline, for instance, a Sustainability 360 goal was to hike fleet fuel efficiency by 25 percent by October 2008. It rose 38 percent instead, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 200,000 tons a year and saving the firm more than $200 million a year. That's real money, even for a behemoth like Wal-Mart.
I've never been a fan of Wal Mart but you have to give them props for this. Wow.
Sustainability is a driver of innovation within companies like Dow Chemical and General Electric, creating new markets and profit centers. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are betting big with an eye toward earning a payoff from clean-tech innovations.
Global investment in clean energy of all kinds rose from $46 billion in 2004 to $200 billion in 2010.
As I have been saying all along, there's a lot of money to be made in green tech and it looks like we have a lot of private businesses paying attention.
The best part about all of this, though, is how the free market is actually leading the way. The article's overall tone is that business isn't going to wait for government to come up with a solution. Honestly, they'll be waiting a long time as long as the current form of the GOP is around although it is pretty hilarious to see that not admitting fault/winning the argument trumps making money with them and their supporters. I guess I was wrong about money being the most important thing to them. Clearly, it's pride.
So that's two things I'm wrong about. Seriously stunning.....:)