Jolly Green Giants

There is no shortage of people who would have us either give up on the planet now or live like we were back in the dark ages while human life is slowly eradicated from the face of the earth. Based on the best guesstimates currently available, the industrial revolution of the past 200 years has brought us to a point where doing nothing about the environment is not an option. But the optimists amongst us agree that while science got us into this mess, it can and will also get us out of it.

It is only a matter of when.

In the meantime, there is an overwhelming voice calling for us all to “go green” in tangible ways that – at the very least – slow down the rate of change.

But going green can be less about deprivation and more about substitution. It can be less about pain and more about gain. It can be less about pessimism and more about optimism.

In retail, the best place to start going green is with your staff.

This is a smart practice for two reasons. Firstly, involving your staff in positive discussion lifts engagement, morale and energy. Secondly, your people have a track record for coming up with simple, pragmatic ideas that make a real difference. The key is to construct a regular process that asks them to look at how the business currently operates and to propose simple ways for the business to reduce waste, become more efficient and improve environmental impact.

With the best will in the world head office decisions often fail in the field.

If the goal is to execute ideas that make your business a better environmental citizen then surely the most effective way to come up with green initiatives (that the field can actually implement) is to ask your people – in the field – to help develop them.

Every day the staff in your stores conduct business as usual. They know where the wastage is and where improvements can be made.

Many of them are genuinely and passionately engaged in trying to make a difference at home and in their every day life outside your business. They talk to like-minded customers. They consume media. They search for information. They debate and develop ideas with their families, friends and peers.

Your business can not only do the right thing but also become more efficient into the bargain.

And it’s all up to you and your attitude.

Because when you look at it the right way, your business is already full of jolly green giants.