Why Going Green Is Good for Business

Dan Esty Makes the Case for Better Environmental Business Practices

Story by Stephen Fox. Video by Kirk Donnan.

The Oracle OpenWorld Green Room was once again the venue for an interesting and eye-opening discussion about green initiatives and their place in the enterprise. Dan Esty, the Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale University and author of Green to Gold, recounted why businesses should, and have, made the switch to environmentally conscious policies and practices.

“It’s not good enough to get the top-line story right,” Esty warned, adding that companies need to bring their core green agenda into a broader business strategy.

Esty and his team spent five years traveling around the world discovering why businesses were making greener choices, what choices were working, and which ones fell short. They found a few similarities during their travels.

Esty recognized a greater public interest in the environmental area. “Hurricane Katrina gave us a picture of what a climate-changed world would look like.” This awareness, paired with a growing concern over the sources of fossil fuels, is forcing a new understanding of environmental policies. “What we’ve seen is a big and new commitment to a different energy future.”

Esty also found an evolution toward market-based regulation, where companies pay for the harm that they cause. He sees a change not only in how we regulate, but also what we regulate. “We are going to have a price on carbon going forward,” he said, adding that this new approach to regulation holds, “big opportunities for companies.”

Companies are feeling additional pressures from communities, both internal and external. Esty noticed that employees want their office life aligned with their home life and are urging employers to implement the same green programs the employees practice at home. Business-to-business pressures were similar. “A number of companies have begun to signal that they want their suppliers to do better for the environment,” Esty said. “We do see a changing world.”

Recognizing the current financial challenges for some businesses, Esty noted that, “although there is some hesitation on environmental agendas while they get their economic footing again, green business is no longer fringe. This is now about high growth, high margin businesses.”

The bottom line, according to Esty, is that, “environmental concerns are here to stay, and IT’s role just gets bigger and bigger.”

To learn more about how your IT choices can change the environment, and your bottom line, visit some of the remaining green sessions in the Green Room.

Comments:

Well I'm gonna need to read up some more but this is a pretty good spring board.

Posted by Edgar Basham on December 09, 2009 at 01:44 PM PST #

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