Instead of focusing on ways to offset carbon emissions, Dave Douglas writes in a Business Week article that companies need to invest in creating more sustainable versions of themselves. “We need companies to go beyond carbon neutrality to something I call ‘carbon advantage,'” Douglas writes.
There are two ways to achieve a carbon advantage. The first, according to Douglas, is “to use efficiency and resource reduction to provide a fundamental advantage in your operations and products.” Wal-Mart is doing precisely this by reducing product packaging throughout its supply chain.
The other road to a carbon advantage is “to use innovation in green products and services to offer customers a competitive advantage.” Last May, GE announced that revenue from its eco-focused products rose past $12 billion in 2006.
Douglas also says that there’s increasing evidence of a new, virtuous business cycle: “Companies seeking sustainability look for sustainable products and services, which provides further opportunities for sustainable companies.”