More companies are shifting priorities by using business intelligence to not only save on costs but to also become environmentally aware. Business intelligence’s ability to keep track of performance, as well as alert decision makers on behavioural changes, make it a complementary approach as demonstrated by the desire by many companies to become more eco-friendly. Even then, there is need for a clear roadmap that will tie in business intelligence with green initiatives.
Why Going Green is Important
The continued depletion of natural resources has led corporations that have large energy requirements to become more environmentally aware than ever. This is because not only do green initiatives save on costs, reuse resources and meet compliance requirements, but they also help to create brand recognition among customers.
Companies that are seen as being environmentally sensitive tend to create a vision of care. This provides the benefit of perceptions and practicality with the broader effects going beyond the organisation. However, the ability to save money by lowering the use of energy and power is more important. Besides lowering the consumption of energy, the technology adoption organisations also invest in R&D efforts and support social action initiatives that are geared towards environmentally friendly products as well as internal processes. This has broader effects on the environment at large.
List of Companies that Have Great Environmental Initiatives
1. Ford Motor Company
Automotive companies are known to be among the heaviest polluters. However, Ford Motor Company is changing this narrative through their ten-part environmental policy that they have implemented for years. The company uses sustainable fabrics in its vehicles while 80% of both its Focus and Escape vehicles are recyclable. The company also focuses on fuel efficiency, particularly on the six-speed transmission, offering a clean diesel heavy duty pickup truck. Furthermore, the paint fumes in the company’s plant in Michigan are recycled as fuel.
Ford’s factories also use Geothermal cooling systems while the Crown Victoria Interceptor that is distributed to the police has a fuel capacity that is flexible, making it able to run on either ethanol or gas. Additionally, Ford owns the world’s largest green roof and is the only company to have won the EPA Energy Star Award twice in a row.
Disney is determined to please companies that have made it a giant by using zero net direct greenhouse gas emission policies within all its facilities. In addition, it is working at reducing the indirect greenhouse gas emissions through the reduction of electrical consumption. Disney also has a zero waste policy meaning that there is nothing that would end up in landfills. The entertainment giant also uses technology that saves water and is working on lowering the footprint of its product manufacturing and distribution. This is tied up to the company’s policy of having a net positive environmental impact that has made Disney a leader in environmental responsibility.
3. Fisher Investments
The company has initiated the Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative that is aimed at contributing towards the preservation of California’s native Redwoods through cutting down on emissions and gasses that threaten their existence. More specifically, the company employs a plethora of ways in helping the environment through materials, as well as adjustable thermostats. Ultimately, the company’s commitment to reducing their footprint is unwavering.
Hewlett-Packard is one of the first companies to have reported its greenhouse gas emissions, after which they have initiated plans that are aimed at reducing emissions and cutting back on toxic substances used in manufacturing its products like cartridges. The company also has an aggressive recycling program that ensures most of the manufacturing waste does not end up in landfills. Furthermore, it has taken the lead in spreading word on the importance of environmental responsibility in its ads that promote green initiatives.
5. Johnson and Johnson
For more than 20 years now, this company has taken the lead in manufacturing personal care products that are environmentally responsible. It also has initiatives that reduce waste in the course of manufacturing and distribution through use of sustainable products and packaging methods where possible. The company also owns a fleet of hybrid vehicles that it also operates.
Nike is keen to highlight the value of green initiatives through its advertising in addition to putting the great ideas into practice. Its line of sustainable products is made using environmentally preferred materials like recycled polyester. The company also uses renewable energy sources in manufacturing. Moreover, Nike has pressed 650 of its suppliers in 52 countries to develop and implement written environmental policies.
7. eBay Eco-Initiatives
This company has its focus on environmental sustainability. This company has made it possible for people to exchange or reuse goods instead of throwing them away; thus not only increasing the lifespan of these products but also keeping them off landfills. The company also has a classified section where users are able to sell or buy used furniture, household appliances as well as other items that are hard to ship within the local community. The company has also partnered with United Stated Postal Service (USPS) to ensure green supply when it comes to shipping. Together, these two entities are co branded in environmentally friendly Priority Mail packaging that has earned them Cradle-to-Cradle certification.
8. Starbucks Stores Go Green
This company embraces principles of environmental sustainability across the board. The company not only purchases Fair Trade Certified and Certified organic coffee but also focuses on achieving LED certifications for its new outlets. By creating ‘green’ stores, the company is able to reduce operating costs as well as minimize the impact of business practices on the environment. In addition, the company has a green building strategy that includes adjusting temperatures for its air-conditioned stores from the standard that is 72o to 75o F and purchasing cabinetry that is made using 90% post industrial materials while incorporating low-flow water valves.
9. Google Environmental Innovations
This business innovator is another leader in embracing a greener future with its green supply chain management practices and environmental sustainability. The company demonstrates its commitment to going green through initiatives like powering its facilities with renewable energy sources, hosting farmers’ markets as well as sustainable cooking seminars and bringing goats to trim grass. Google also has in place an environmentally aware corporate culture, solidifying its reputation of being one of the world’s most forward thinking companies.
Overall, regardless of the initiatives that a company may embrace, businesses will do well to monitor these initiatives and identify ways of becoming more efficient over time.
Schools are increasingly seeing the benefits of going green through energy and water saving initiatives in the face of spiralling utility costs, says Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the Green Building Council of SA (GBCSA). But, there is a lot more that can be done and schools must be educated about the benefits.
“With the 2015 school year now underway countrywide, following the back to school rush, it is an opportune time for school leaders and governing bodies to look more seriously at the benefits of green initiatives. While the main benefit may be cost savings, there are other positive outcomes, including promoting ‘going green’ to learners in their formative years,” adds Wilkinson.
The start of the new school year is also a time that many schools face the stark reality of a lack of funding and infrastructure problems, with a bigger number of learners to cater for.
Wilkinson comments: “Like businesses in our primary market – the commercial property sector – financial management has become a key responsibility for school principals, staff and governing bodies who, at times, have very few options at their disposal.”
Research done and reportage on the state of schools in the country convey a lack of funding, poor infrastructure, inadequate equipment and the sometimes dire state of school property, buildings and playgrounds.
The greening of schools offers a unique opportunity to address these issues and is an extraordinarily cost-effective way to enhance student learning, reduce health and operational costs and, ultimately, increase quality.
“As part of its mandate to not only promote green building development and innovation, but sustainable development, the GBCSA team engages with not just the commercial property sector. Many schools are already seeing the benefits of their green initiatives,” says Wilkinson.
“The key motivator of the GBCSA and the green building initiative is the fight against global warming, climate change and the effects that each of these are having on our planet. Moving beyond the commercial property sector, learning centres should provide prime opportunities for their inhabitants to not only do well on the school front, but, do good on the environmental front too,” he adds.
In the commercial property sector, green buildings have lower operating costs, are more efficient, future-proofed, provide a higher rate of return on investment and have been shown to promote wellness, healing and productivity.
Similarly, the GBCSA has seen positive results in the residential space, through its My Green Home challenge. The initiative saw the Ngewana family from Pinelands in Cape Town accept the challenge, with a complete green retrofit of their home. To date, electricity usage at their home has now fallen by 53%; water use by 44%; and, waste to landfill by 81%. This translates into a direct annual saving of about R 18,000.
“Imagine that R18 000 in the life of a poorly-resourced South African school,” says Wilkinson.
“Through encounters with those in our green network, we have found that there are green solutions that schools can implement in order to help them tackle their pressing budgetary needs.
“The benefits go beyond savings on utility costs at schools. Positive lessons the learners get to absorb through their exposure to green alternatives at school, creates an all-round win-win situation,” he adds.
“Green initiatives must be implemented at even more schools countrywide. Public schools in particular need to be empowered to be able to implement such initiatives, as many grapple with the dilemma of reducing their operating costs.
“Cost savings from going green can then be redirected to other important priorities such as better facilities and resources,” says Wilkinson.
The GBCSA is committed to promoting and facilitating greener and better buildings in the country in all sectors, and has made significant headway in the commercial property space. For a wider positive impact, the council recognises the need for greening schools as well as institutions of higher education.
Source: Environment Africa
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