Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Model for Business Sustainability

How do we convince business people who aren't otherwise environmentally-conscious to green their operations? We show them the money they can save by investing in efficiency and waste reduction. Many of us have been preaching some form of the line for quite some time. Some businesses get it, while others write off such ideas as "radical environmentalism." While browsing Hugg this evening, I came across a program by training and development company Inspiring Green Leadership that claims to be a model for getting many businesses in a community investing in efficiency and waste reduction through showing them the positive effects on their bottom line. According to its website, Saving Green by Going Green is an "accelerator" designed to work at the community level:
The Saving Green by Going Green Accelerator is a repeatable, five-month process for getting local small and medium businesses to dramatically lower their energy use --— and therefore their greenhouse gas emissions. It supports your community in introducing businesses to already existing local energy conservation programs and accelerating our independence of fossil fuels.
So far, a pilot of the program started in May in San Francisco. While the number of businesses invited to the one-day opening event was small, a large majority of them were interested in energy and waste audits by the local electricalutilityy and waste disposal company. I'll try to keep an eye on results as they come in. In the meantime, check out the program -- it's pretty comprehensive, but looks like it attempts to not overwhelm business owners with information on everything they could be doing. Rather, they focus on energy conservation and waste reduction, and propose working with local programs. I like the idea of trying to stay close to most business owners' comfort zone while pitching these concepts -- that, combined with the money they can save, ought to attract plenty of attention. Cool idea... let's hope it takes off!

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