No matter what a company may display in their marketing attitudes, everything always comes down to the bottom line. Management and board meetings are held and, unless there is a significant return-on-investment, the topic of environmentally friendly, green or sustainability will not be addressed. Until about ten years ago, these topics were actually thought to be ‘fringe’ discussions; only meant for start-up and new age style companies. This is no longer true, because corporations are starting to see a glimmer of profitability in sustainability.
There will always be an agenda of topics in any management meeting. Most of these meetings are pretty ‘cold’ by standards that you and I might think. It is in these meetings that departments and the jobs they support are created or destroyed. There is no emotion, empathy or compassion; it is simply and strictly business-as-usual. Part of the management requirements is to bring to the table alternative ideas that will help save expenses and increase the bottom line margins. Up until a few years ago, no one talked about anything that had to do with environmentally friendly or ‘green’ actions. Bringing that topic up in a meeting was the kiss-of-death for any manager.
With the addition of lesser costs involved in some of the renewable and sustainable products, there is now more interest in using these methods to save the company money. Don’t get me wrong, this has nothing to do with an actual feeling of responsibility towards our beloved Mother Earth, it is just a smart business move. The company can also bring their marketing teams into the fray to wrap a campaign around the efforts so that the general public views the corporation as an earth-friendly company.
One of the first areas to examine in the move of sustainability in the corporate world is cutting the costs of resources without the loss of production and actually increasing profitability. As an example, if a company can use 30% of recycled materials in their product and reduce the costs involved in transportation and production, this will not only increase the profit but make the corporation appear as if they are making all efforts to be an environmentally friendly company. Another example might be the addition of a sustainable energy source for the manufacturing plant. If an investment can offer a pay off in a short period of time (i.e.: ten years), it simply makes good business sense.
Typically a company will begin by examining internal functions that can be converted to save money. Internal recycling may be a direction they wish to take; however, they will negate it if they are in an area where the county or city charges them to recycle. This may be good for the environment, but it’s not in the budget. If, however, they can recycle and receive a dollar credit or use the recycled materials as part of their product production, then it is a good sound business decision. You might be surprised that the companies that present a good environmental or health face and are actually not interested in the process at all; just the profits.
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