Is Going Green An Investment Or An Expense?

March 20, 2008

Turn the dial back a couple of years and the notion that a mainstream company (as opposed to an obvious polluter) would make modifications to the way they operate their business, in an effort to become increasingly sensitive to the environment would have seemed like a far-fetched idea.

With similar hindsight, the concept that purchasers (be they consumers or businesses) would factor the "greenness" of a company into their decision-making process would have been equally outlandish.

In just a few short years, the recognition of the importance of Going Green has been significant, yet it's still in its infancy. Trying to make heads or tails of what it means to become Green remains fuzzy for many people, including grasping the proper perspective to embrace the costs involved. Are they actually costs or are they part of a branding process to help define a company (i.e. marketing)? Please refer back to our blog post from last Monday regarding Whole Foods.

At the end of the day, Going Green is all good. Most importantly, it is the right thing to do from an "eco" perspective, but it may also be beneficial to the business in a number of other ways. So although Going Green may result in some incremental costs, those funds could plausibly be viewed as an investment rather than an expense.


Happy Green Holiday

March 17, 2008

It’s hard to believe that the calendar is already indicating that the Ides of March have come and gone. The clocks have sprung forward and, if you are like me, you are still trying to get used to waking up in the dark. While many parts of the country are anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring, they are still seeing lots of white (ie snow).

However, this Monday, many parts of the country / world will be seeing Green. I am not referring to Green as in dollars and cents (although that would be nice). I am not referring to Green as in the environment (although that would be even nicer). I am not even referring to Green as in seeing grass rather than snow. I mean Green as in Saint Patrick’s Day Green. The luck of the Irish Green. The little Irish mythological fairy known as a Leprechaun - Green. As in shamrocks, four-leaf clovers, Green beer, Green clothes, Green hair. Green! Green! Green!

Not only is Ireland known for its Green landscape but it is actually known for being forty shades of Green. Do you think they knew centuries ago when people started celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day how cool and positively impactful being Green could be? We at Green Business Alliance wish you a Happy Saint Paddy’s Day and encourage you to join in the green festivities and Greenify Today for a Better Tomorrow.


Loca - What?!

March 9, 2008

An email arrived in my inbox this afternoon containing a suggestion from a co-worker for an upcoming blog topic. The message included a brief description and a few urls describing the following word…Locavore. I immediately thought to myself…Loca what?! Locavore. It was not a typo and it was not a dinosaur descriptor.

In fact, it was The New Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year in 2007. The word is just a few years old and originated in the San Francisco area. Locavore is defined as a person who seeks out locally produced food. As I dug a little deeper on the internet, I came to find out that many Locavores only eat foods produced within a certain mile radius of where they live. There is even a challenge known as the 100-mile diet.

Wow! This seems to tie in nicely with Earth Day Resolution #1 – Go Green – I Mean Literally. The resolution encourages people to make an effort to eat more locally grown greens, fruits and other colored vegetables. Who knew it had such a fancy name and that locally could be translated into an actual mileage radius! Suffice it to say, I continue to learn something new every day and today, I learned a cool ‘green’ word.


Sticky Fingers and a Blue Trash Can

March 3, 2008

Having just returned from a week outside of the office, I was thrilled to walk into the kitchen to see that someone was kind enough to bring in a dozen fresh donuts. I went looking for a plastic knife, as my philosophy for eating donuts is that it’s less fattening to eat one in pieces (even if I wind up eating the whole thing).

My search for a plastic knife was unsuccessful, and then I remembered that part of our internal effort to become a Green office was to finish our current supply and then transition to actual silverware that you have to bring from home, and then take home to wash. Needless to say, I was unprepared for the change in regimen and as a result was forced to break apart the donut with my fingers. I wonder whether the resulting use of a paper towel (recycled of course!) after I washed my sticky fingers was as anti-green as if I had used a plastic knife in the first place.

Another change I noticed was the appearance of a blue trash can under my desk. After inquiring with my peers, I found out that it is specifically for paper, magazines, newspapers, junk mail etc. that can be recycled. I now have a bit less legroom under my desk, but am pleased that I have taken another step in our quest to operate as a Green office.


REC’s – Dollars and Sense

February 25, 2008

RECs, Renewable Energy Credits, Green Tags, Tradable Renewable Certificates, Renewable Energy Certificates. What does it all mean? Let’s begin with the basics of renewable energy (also referred to as clean energy). There are varying forms of this energy which are derived from resources that can not be depleted. In other words, these resources are naturally replenished. Wind and Solar power are two common examples of renewable/clean energy. Biomass, Biodiesel, and Geothermal are also types of clean energy. 

So what exactly is a REC (Renewable Energy Certificate) and how much does one cost? According to Wikipedia’s definition of Renewable Energy Certificates, RECs are “tradable environmental commodities that represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource. These certificates can be sold and traded and the owner of the REC can claim to have purchased renewable energy.” Businesses and individuals can buy these RECs whether or not they have access to clean energy.

The cost of the REC depends on which type of renewable energy one is interested in purchasing. The price of these renewable energies can fluctuate. The quantity of the RECs purchased is often determined by how much electricity a business or home uses over a period of time. The REC provider will help you with the calculation. Suffice it to say that RECs are not super expensive. For example, a business I know recently purchased RECs to offset their yearly energy consumption in their 6,000 square foot office. The total amount of the RECs was less than $350 for the year.

The bottom line is that purchasing RECs makes good business and environmental sense without breaking the bank.


GreenVisibility Directory Vision

February 19, 2008

Our objective for establishing the GreenVisibility Directory is to provide businesses who commit to becoming Greenified with a well promoted platform to showcase their products and services. We also intend to incorporate a series of Community features to further interweave the companies and broaden their reach with interested businesses and consumers.

Although promoting a Green Directory is a new endeavor, it is well within our scope of expertise, as Green Business Alliance’s founders have been heavily involved with the Interactive Marketing industry since 1999. Their company, www.morevisibility.com has been a recognized leader in the Search Engine Marketing and Optimization arena since inception. With that experience as a backdrop, the plan is to develop a national directory of businesses that place a significant emphasis on following basic principles to Greenify their businesses.

The essence of the Directory will be its eventual reach and community-like features. Over (what we hope) will be a very compressed period of time, major growth and evolution will occur. The larger the number of companies who participate in the Green Business Alliance program, the greater the footprint of the directory will be.

There is stronger momentum for companies to Greenify their businesses now than ever before. Green Business Alliance is taking the lead in bringing together these like-minded business professionals to flourish online through a community enabled directory. More details on the community dimension to follow in the near future.


Go Green And Boost Employee Satisfaction

February 15, 2008

Like with so many other things in life, it is easier to act tomorrow than today about the environment. The planet was here before any of us, and contrary to a lot of the doom and gloom being spread, will be here when we leave.

 That being said, businesses play a very important role in the lives of their employees as well as in their community and with customers. An employer who commits to becoming a Green company sends a clear message that they are forward thinkers, which carries with it important benefits.

Wells Fargo Bank is one of many large corporations who has made a staunch commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Although environmental issues are just a component of CSR, Wells Fargo has made a significant investment in outlining and abiding by a CSR platform. For a detailed report on their initiatives, please click here.

Although most businesses do not have the resources to engage in such a large scale initiative, we believe that even a modest effort can have a significant impact on employee satisfaction and consequently the success of the business.   


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