State of Green Business 2009
Staff Writer, April 8, 2009
Green building is on the rise, spurring new technologies that save energy and money. There is a green race taking place in the automobile industry, with every manufacturer planning to introduce hybrid vehicles. The country witnessed the first ever U.S. presidential campaign, where both major-party candidates discussed accelerating investments in alternative energy and the green jobs it would create.
We are going discuss about few important items from the "State of Green Business 2009," the fact-finding report that was published this past February by Greener World Media, Inc. This report gives you an idea if the green activity in the business world is representing true transformation.
Water is one of the success stories. According to the report, the companies that use a lot of water like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola figure out how to grow their companies without using more water. Coca-Cola came up with a goal of being water neutral over the next few years. They will return all water used in its operations back to nature as good of shape as they where found them.
Paper is also one of the success stories. We are using 27 percent less paper than we did a decade ago. We are also recycling 27 percent more paper than we used to. So we are using less and recycling more. That's very much a win-win situation.
Not so well...
Whether gas prices are high or low, Americans are continuing their love affair with the car, and appear unwilling to give up their vehicles for the solo commute to work.
Overall commuting patterns in recent years have idled. Partly due to the infrastructure that has been pushed further and further out into the suburbs that we don't have good systems that allow, not just for carpooling but mass transit. Public transit systems, in many cases resembling a hub-and-spoke model with the city in the center and the spokes being in the suburbs, don't always offer a convenient alternative to workers who commute suburb to suburb.
And by the way, we all like to be in our cars alone for some reason, even though it's costly and antisocial. According to the statistics, 76% of us like to do that.
We continue to find ourselves buried under an ever-growing mountain of e-waste. In other words, the progress we are making in recycling used electronics is swamped by the tsunami of electronics entering the waste stream.
The report recommends that the issue of e-waste can be eliminated from one of two things: increased government regulation and designing the products with the environment, human health and recycling in mind. Although responsible e-waste management is unlikely to top policymakers' lists any time soon, there is sufficient pressure from companies and activists to ensure that it will remain on their radar screens for a while.
Who is doing better, individuals or businesses?
In an interview with CNN, Joel Makeower, one of the authors of this report said that he thinks that businesses are doing better than individuals. He has been watching consumers for 20 years who say they want to make a change, but not really willing to do anything differently. Part of that is because some of the products have cost more and haven't been as good.
But on the other hand, businesses, over the last 20 years, have been slowly, but surely, making these kinds of improvements by using less energy, less water and fewer materials. According to him, they aren't doing this necessarily because they want to save the earth. This is simply good business.
In essence, this year's update is a mixed bag of both encouraging and discouraging news.