Why sustainability is an essential business practice
A critical mass is gathering behind sustainability efforts, driven by the energy, desire, and belief systems of 20- and 30-somethings. Nowhere was this more apparent than at Greenbuild 2012 in San Francisco. This was my first year at the two-day conference, and walking through the show I was captivated by the enthusiasm and the shifting attitudes about sustainability.
Historically, many companies have seen environmental consciousness as a cost they couldn't afford to pass on to customers. As the environmental movement grew, some businesses used environmentalism as a marketing gimmick. But now, as Greenbuild demonstrated, many have shifted toward a real commitment to sustainability. Here are four reasons why:
- Reducing energy consumption and the waste of materials both reduces a company's environmental footprint and reins in costs.
- Adding production efficiencies and use of recycled materials can help businesses do more with less while reducing waste.
- Being mindful of the environment includes being mindful of our consumers' health.
- The younger generations leading the sustainability movement have come to expect environmentally sound practices. Businesses will ignore these up-and-coming consumers at their peril.
Greenbuild made clear that businesses can't excuse products and behaviors of the past based on the belief that they won't be paid to do the right thing. As views on sustainability shift and more trade shows like Greenbuild make the business case for environmentalism, expect to see more companies changing their attitudes and values as it becomes essential to do business responsibly.
Companies: SCHOTT North America
Linda Mayer Linda Mayer is president and CEO of SCHOTT North America. She has a bachelors degree in history from Stanford University, an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and an MA from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Prior to joining SCHOTT, Ms. Mayer served in a variety of roles including director of financial analysis, corporate planning, development and marketing for the Kohler Company and vice president of marketing at John Deere. www