Here’s a summary overview of The Truth About Green Business
Part 1: The Truth About Green Business describes what green business is, and isn’t; why it’s important; how to think about and start; the urgency and opportunity of this historic moment; and the driving challenge of climate change
Knowing where you want to go gives you a far better chance of getting there. The guidance for a traditional business is clear — or is it? Where do you aim? How do you steer? And how do you know when you get there? Part 2: The Truth About Green Strategy, explores the relationship between profit and purpose (it’s not what you think); the question of how green is good enough; the surprising reasons why you should ignore regulations; and the secrets — hiding in plain sight — that can guide your way.
“Green is green,” General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt observed. One place many companies start is by eliminating inefficiencies in their operations, which improves profit margins while reducing environmental impacts. Part 3: The Truth About Green Operations explores the opportunities in efficiency, and how to harvest them; the myth of “waste”; the leverage of EcoAudits; the powerful marriage of lean and “green”; and the process of understanding your carbon footprint — and reducing it.
Markets — both B2C and B2B — are hungry for green products and services. To meet that demand, your business has to communicate effectively, accurately — and legally. Part 4: The Truth About Green Marketing looks at developing powerful — and truthful — green branding and messaging; creating and using strong EcoLabels; navigating the minefield of green marketing claims; and effectively reaching conscious consumers.
Part 5: The Truth About Green Products & Services considers what makes a product or service green, the emerging opportunities in product take-back and turning products into services, and how making them greener can make them better.
Ultimately, green business is all about design. Understanding what the market wants — and what the laws of nature require — means bringing new factors to the design process, and designing products, services, buildings and business processes that do greater good, not only do less harm. Part 6: The Truth About Green Design looks at the design lessons of “biomimicry” — using design to reduce product footprints; “cradle to cradle” design; designing with nature; and why innovation is at the heart of greening.
Much of your business’s “greenness — and impact — is determined not just what you do, but by what you buy. Since your suppliers determine your “wastes”, and the content of your products, you’ll need their cooperation to be able to deliver the green products and services you intend. Part 7: The Truth About Green Procurement, takes you through Environmentally Preferable Purchasing; Supply Chain Management — and Partnerships; Supplier Scorecards; and Clearing the rising bar of market, regulatory and competitive expectations.
Part 8 explores The Truth About Green Building. Buildings account for nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US. Almost all our business operate in buildings, and some design, build, lease, maintain or manage them. So here I explore LEED standards for green buildings; the cost of green building; the impact of green buildings on productivity; and the power of integrative design.
Part 9 tells The Truth About Green IT. Modern businesses depend on computers — which in turn depend on prodigious amounts of energy and a steady flow of toxic materials. Green businesses need to depend on computers — and data centers — with much lighter footprints, and need to use information technology (IT) services as a powerful lever to green every aspect of their lives. This section looks at computers and electronics; creating more efficient data centers; and how IT can drive greening through more effective use of information.
The fact is that all the good ideas in the world– and all the lofty goals and policies– are worth nothing if you can’t embed them in your organization, implement them effectively, and consistently harvest the benefits. The best green businesses engage their entire organizations to innovate and implement– quickly, effectively, profitably and gracefully. Part 10: The Truth About Green Management explores engaging employees and stakeholders; the art of keeping score — in ways that drive change as well as track it ; how to use incentives (and how not to); and the leverage of environmental management systems.
Money has been part of the story in every section so far. Part 11: The Truth About Green Finance focuses on money directly. Adam Smith observed, two centuries ago, that “Perfect markets depend on perfect information;” modern accounting systems distort value, and are often blind to important risks and opportunities that green finance can see. So in this part, I take a hard look at profit, value and risk (and why so many businesses misunderstand them, and their relationship); Reality-based Accounting; Investing in green and attracting green investment; the emerging markets in carbon trading and offsets; and the new challenges to fiduciary duty that “green” raises.
I conclude with Part 12: The Truth About Green Futures. “Fasten your seatbelts,” Bette Davis told us back in the last century, “It’s going to be a bumpy ride.” The decades ahead promise to be filled with uncertainty, change and challenge. Green businesses soften some risks, but still need agile leadership that can steer wisely in the face of uncertain futures. I discuss how to find certainty in the face of uncertainty; using scenario planning to orient your company more powerfully to face the futures that are coming at it, and how you can use “green” to “future-proof” your company — increasing your odds of viability and success, whatever the future may bring.