Turning the Ship – Week 1 – The Green Wave

The first week of the Turning the Ship on-line dialogue is about the Green Wave: Causes, Drivers, and Magnitude of the On-going Market Shift.

Joel Makower

Joel Makower is Executive Editor of GreenBiz.com, and writes the blog Two Steps Forward.

Joel Makower asks if the era of Green business finally arrived?

He cites the numerous coverage in major magazines in the past year, the increasing number of organizations working in this area and the companies working with activist groups in guiding legislation of climate change. No doubt, the Green Wave is well on the way.

He does not believe that the trend has reached a tipping point however, for this to go forward it “will require breaking down a host of political, economic, and cultural barriers.”

We’ll have to rethink some of our assumptions about the role of government. Politicians will need to decide whether to lead, follow, or get out of the way. Environmentalists will need to develop some new tools and rules of engagement. Wall Street will need to pay attention, and to better track companies’ environmental risks and opportunities. And the public will need to change its attitude, big time.

He urges us to move beyond the skepticism for business organizations trying to show a friendly face. Even though we need to be critical of corporations, now is the time to give them room to “to innovate, experiment, and fail.”

Most importantly, we need to have a conversation that help organizations to be green.

For the rest of the post please click on the Read More link below.

Dan Esty

Dan Esty is the Director of the Yale Centre for Environmental Law and Policy and the author of the author, with Andrew Winston, of “Green to Gold” (Yale University Press, 2006).

Dan takes the example of Ford Motor Company to explain the importance of the Green Wave.

Dan suggests that the recent decline of the Ford Motor Company is connected to its lack of a green strategy among other things. On the other end he believes Toyota’s continued value generation is related to its eco-friendly image and its strategy of building hybrid cars like the Prius.

The most important point according to me that he makes is the importance of strategic focus. He says, “But Ford’s problem wasn’t pollution at its factories, and it certainly wasn’t deforestation of the jungle. No, Ford’s strategic focus needed to be on its vehicles.”

Every business needs to understand its environmental exposure. If you’re Coca-Cola, you need to face up to water issues — as CEO Neville Isdell is doing. If you’re an auto maker, fuel efficiency and tailpipe emissions have to be at the heart of your strategy.

This is the fundamental point. Planting trees and energy efficiency is important but more important is working in the core business strategy of your corporation.

He concludes that “here is money to be made solving society’s environmental problems.”

Truman Semans

Truman Semans is the Director for Markets and Business Strategy, Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

The last post for the week by Truman Semans tries to understand the changing business climate around ‘climate change’ and sustainability issues.

He provides four reasons .

  • At the simplest level, companies engage on climate because they find it in their strategic business interest to do so.
  • Companies believe that the most effective and efficient way to address climate change is for the market to accurately reflect the true cost of GHG emissions as well as the true value of reducing emissions or sequestering carbon dioxide.
  • Companies deeply involved in analyzing policy solutions realize the need for additional incentives and mandatory measures to supplement a cap and trade.
  • Regardless of what approach they prefer, companies clearly expect regulations soon.
  • He provides practical information about how companies can develop strategies to mitigate the risks created through climate change and embrace the opportunities available.

    As Linda Fisher, DuPont’s Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, said in interviews for our Strategies Report, “We need to understand, measure, and assess market opportunities. How do you know and communicate which products will be successful in a greenhouse gas constrained world? The company that answers these questions successfully will be the winner.”

    You can check out the Corporate Strategies Report, as well as the compendium of climate programs BELC companies have undertaken.

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