Growing the Green Biz

| 1/25/2008 3:23:35 PM

You’ve got to hand it to corporate America. While the profit-mad behemoth has previously abused the environment the same way a drunken house guest abuses your bathroom, some companies have started taking a greener view of things. Sierra magazine reports that consumer pressure has greened up a lot of business. And this doesn’t apply just to green-branded businesses like Whole Foods. Businesses across the board have found that green measures can boost their profits. This thinking is spreading through the whole supply chain, the chain of goods and services from which three-quarters of a company’s carbon footprint comes.

For a long time, big business and environmentalists could never get along. But companies are fast learning that conserving their resources saves money, thereby increasing profit. And as the environmental movement scores more converts, consumers themselves begin to demand socially responsible goods.

“Corporate social responsibility” is becoming dizzyingly popular, according to the British newspaper the Economist, in a sometimes critical special report by Daniel Franklin. “$1 out of every $9 under professional management in America now involves an element of ‘socially responsible investment,’ according to Geoffrey Heal of Columbia Business School.” But the corporate social responsibility movement isn’t even close to perfect. While it’s appealing as a buzzword, the practice has confused a good many in business. But Franklin delivers a hopeful conclusion: When corporate social responsibility is done right, it can deliver a lot of good and increase profit. Which is good news for all of us.

Brendan Mackie

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