The Myth of “Green”


        I recently came across an interesting article by Jennifer Rice 
        “Sustainability: What Matters Most?” In this article, Rice outlines the ways in which a company can benefit by following and analyzing market trends for green products. You can read it yourself, here: http://www.fruitfulstrategy.com/blog/2009/10/sustainability-what-matters-most/

While I appreciate Rice’s perspective, I cannot help but question these companies who produce so-called “green” products. Are they truly committed to sustainability? Do they have a corporate sustainability program? As a consumer, I believe I have a responsibility to learn about a company’s sustainable policies and to read their sustainability report before I decide to purchase their products –  whether they brand it as “green” or not.

Anyone with a basic understanding of humanity and business, knows that the market influx of green products is not necessarily coming from companies who genuinely believe in sustainability. When did we start hearing about the availability of green products? It was when consumers became aware and active. They began to claim their individual responsibilities to preserve the planet for future generations – and it didn’t take long for companies to catch on to this trend. Soon, shelves were lines with “green” products and companies were reaping the benefits of this new and lucrative marketing opportunity.

The time has come for companies to realize that “sustainability” is not just a sales or marketing phenomenon. Rather, sustainability is the overall approach of company’s operations toward a sustainable planet. Any company can produce a  “green” product by employing child laborers in China or by dismissing environmental ethics – but is this acceptable? Will we continue to support companies which profit from the production of green products through unsustainable operations? I strongly believe that without a sustainable strategy adopted and monitored within a company’s operations (local or global), green products are a myth. This myth does more harm than good to the company’s brand by misleading consumers. Eventually, these companies will be exposed – consider Nestle and BP.

No matter what a company produces or how they operate, sustainability should be part of the company’s culture and functionality before they start producing green products. Green products have two essential attributes:
    1) Is the product produced as a result of sustainable operations by a company which is committed to sustainability?
    2) Will its usage or consumption contribute to a sustainable planet?

Without the former, the latter is meaningless. Consumers are becoming aware of both attributes and how to differentiate between them before making their purchasing choices. What matters foremost to sustainability is the company’s business ethics and their transparent commitment towards sustainable operations. Jennifer Rice’s blog article is interesting and helpful, but it is not the whole story. Companies who simply produce a “green” product are not enough. As consumers, we have a responsibility to do our research: are these companies truly committed to sustainability? If not, we must stop succumbing to their marketing schemes. Only then, will we begin to see our planet shift toward the reality of a sustainable future.

Welcome to ‘Empowering Sustainability’

Sustainable solutions for achieving corporate sustainability goals

This blog post is dedicated to sharing thoughts, ideas and best practices on Sustainability. Here, we will discuss about corporate sustainability and CSR strategies and how they can be realized through solutions that address the following challenges:

(Organizations include companies, governments, NGO’s and any other public/private entities, big or small, whose operations and actions can impact the sustenance of the planet.)

“Sustainability” is no longer just a nice, feel-good buzz word. It has redefined everything – from the way we live our everyday life, to how we conduct business in a global economy, how governments govern and how we treat others. It is imperative that we each choose to face this reality by taking our individual roles and responsibilities seriously. We must get ready to change our un-sustainable habits, become conscious of our actions, and commit to sustainable, transparent and verifiable business practices.

“Corporate Sustainability” (the focus of sustainable practices on business) is paramount because of the enormous impact the actions and operations of business have on our world. By adapting sustainable practices into every step of their operations, organizations will not only contribute to a sustainable planet but benefit in various ways such as: preventing brand damage to their brand, gaining brand value, increasing top and bottom line growth through improved public good will and more efficient operations.

Oviya Systems will enable you to:

  • Craft well defined goals to achieve sustainable business operations
  • Define a compliance program to manage, monitor and achieve those goals
  • Use appropriate tools and technologies to effectively implement and transparently manage a compliance program that results in active collaboration and accountability from all participants in the value chain
  • Collect and Analyze sustainability measures for pro-active decision making
  • Produce and Publish credible and verifiable ‘Sustainable Reports’ 

The Empowering Corporate Sustainability blog strives to look at sustainability from the organization’s point of view and offers appropriate solutions to address their needs. In order provide the right solution, it is important to understand how organizations perceive sustainability, the challenges faced by them, their beliefs and disbeliefs. While organizations have a moral obligation to conduct their operations in a manner that aligns with sustainable development principles and standards, they are also entitled to benefits that will inevitably result from their commitment to sustainability. These benefits, in turn, motivate them to continue their commitment to sustainable operations. The solution, design, and implementation of any such compliance program should provide clear visibility to those benefits.

Here are a few key elements to ponder and discuss:

  • How to help companies understand their inherent responsibility towards the planet’s sustenance – without any strings attached.
  • How to address company concerns around how the adaptation of sustainable business practices may impact their top and bottom line growth.
  • How to address concerns about the business challenges of incorporating sustainable business practices into existing operations.
  • What are the best practices and standards that can help companies create a compliance program and how to put together ‘code of conduct’ or ‘sustainability guidelines’ that the supply chain partners needs to comply with.
  • How to collect sustainability measures/specifications from the source and analyze the data by using appropriate KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and score cards for pro-active decision making that will help them meet their sustainability goals?
  • How can we ensure that all the partners in a company’s operations (including employees) adhere to established standards and follow them religiously? How can people be held accountable whenever they deviate from the standards?
  • How do we empower and educate organizations in order to help them pick and use appropriate tools and technologies that will effectively manage, monitor and measure compliance toward sustainability goals?
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