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Only Small Number of Fortune 500 Embrace Sustainability

There is no green business bubble, according to a CNN/Money article by Joel Makower. “Once companies wring out the resource waste, toxic ingredients, embedded energy and carbon intensity of their products and services, there’s no turning back.”

Some green products and companies might be left behind, but energy efficiency, waste reduction, pollution prevention, supply-chain management, environmental reporting “will be around in one form or another for decades.”

Furthermore, green business has not hit critical mass. No more than a dozen, if that, of the Fortune 500 have embraced sustainability as a core business strategy, according to Makower. And small and midsized companies remain largely uninvolved.

Why? According to the article the incentives that are needed to push companies in a green direction, whether from government, customers, suppliers, employees, job seekers, bankers or most other business partners and stakeholders, simply don’t exist. “For most firms,” Makower writes, “going green remains an investment with questionable or underwhelming payoffs.”

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5 thoughts on “Only Small Number of Fortune 500 Embrace Sustainability

  1. You’re pointing to a very interesting fact, which to me is a surprise. As a corporate communications consultancy, we work with a number of established technology firms that fully understand the benefits of embracing sustainability. Our point — which we’ve made in a white paper published today — is that public pressure will soon force companies to embrace sustainability. In order to do this credibly, companies need to align communications and operations in order to avoid the “green washing” label.

  2. There is no doubt a gap exists between sustainability trend setters, C-suite policy statements and day-to-day procurement practices along the B2B supply chain. That said, early movers who customize relevant sustainability initiatives into their business value proposition will be the ones who will be best able to show its commercial (not philanthropic) potential.

  3. I think the number of environmentally committed companies is much higher than reported. The difficulty is in standardizing the definition of green. Many in my company (Citi Smith Barney) believe that management that embraces good stewardship of the environment translates to good corporate stewardship.

  4. Many of the trend setters in sustainability are executing their strategies for a “competitive advantage” reasons. The majority of firms will most likely be forced to tackle sustainability for “liscense to operate” issues. They will need to grow, expand and enter into new markets and these actions will require them to take a sustainable approach to successfully execute their strategy.

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