When Going Green Can Turn To Brown!

While there are some that argue the new found green social conscience will turn out to be founded on the environmental equivalent of the Y2K bug, most of us agree that – at the very least – it does not make sense to soil our own sheets.

If for no other reason than good manners, moral obligation and aesthetic appeal, all business leaders should be putting effort into improving the environmental impact of their businesses and encouraging and supporting the efforts of their staff. Supporting green initiatives, reducing energy usage, reducing waste production and supporting recycling are a first step in the direction of building an environmentally sustainable business model.

However, there are three “traps for young players” that can turn going green to brown. Firstly if an environmental initiative is undertaken for cynical reasons and/or in a cynically way, it will be seen and noticed by stakeholders and backfire. This issue is an emotive issue that people feel rightly concerned with. Cynicism is the equivalent of thumbing your nose at the very people who support your commercial success.

In the second instance, if it is undertaken without proper planning, the cash impact on the business can reduce profit and become economically unsustainable. The problem with the introduction of new initiatives however is that people get used to them. It is difficult to undo what you have started and no amount of justification completely makes up for the withdrawal of the initiative.

And thirdly, if it creates a negative impact for your customers and staff through in-efficiency, onerous time burdens or increased costs, you will not be supported by either of the key support groups you really need on your side.

Often for all the wrong reasons, retailers with all of the right intentions have come unglued doing the right thing.

In order to attack the issue in a logical sequence, ideas can be generated from all stakeholders and a multitude of sources. Any new initiative needs to be scoped in terms of it’s requirements, it’s organisational impact and it’s output. Ideally it should be process mapped and its effect on time and efficiency measured. Then it’s cost impact should be quantified – including its raw cost versus rebates, expenditure reduction etc.

In business terms you are basically doing a risk analysis.

Then after you have refined a plan to enable you to make it work it should be tested for impact before being rolled out fully.

Like anything else in your business, green initiatives will generate debits and credits. Sincere motivation, positive energy and clever planning make sure that any green initiative turns to gold for your business because – not only is it the right thing to do – it makes business sense to do it.