For sometime now, human impact on environmental change has become the focus for scientists and environmental conservatives.
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The risks resulting from climatic change have attracted mixed reactions. Accordingly, some companies argue that their revenues will be seriously affected by such factors as the carbon dioxide emissions controls and therefore some have remained skeptical on the global warming findings.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientific consensus has been arrived at concerning the present global warming trend. This is due to increased greenhouse gas emissions, which have anthropogenic climate changing effect.
This concern has been gaining attention from the commerce world presently with organizations re-strategizing in order to give more attention and focus on their environment of operation as well as their sources of energy (Senge, Kruschwitz, Laur & Schley, 2010). This has led to businesses need to develop and adopt green business strategies that are inclined towards environmental conservation efforts (Esty & Winston, 2006).
The managerial concern for most of these organizations and businesses is on ways of implementing a sustainable plan for their green business strategy.
Within this process are a number of considerations that will ensure the completeness and relevance of such an undertaking. However, the planning and implementation of such strategies may be resource intensive and ambitious that requires a possible organizational re-structuring (Benyus, 2002). The main concern for most organizations as far as environmental issues are concerned relates to their source of energy.
This is especially true for heavy manufacturing industries that require large amounts of energy. For a long time the US has been known as the largest producer and consumer of coal that is one of the main contributors to the greenhouse gas or global warming effect. As such the US has remained reluctant in enacting ratifications that would effectively reduce the emissions resulting from the use of coal as a source of energy.
However, the other sources that are considered greener remain expensive to implement and use and are therefore limiting as far as business growth is concerned. Additionally, the greener sources of energy like nuclear may have their own shortcomings that have lasting catastrophic impact on the environment if they are mishandled.
Developing a green business strategy will also consider a number of federal ratifications to ensure sustainability (Hawken & Lovins, 2008). Presently the environmental law has an international orientation because an aspect such as pollution which needs to be addressed by such a law does not respect political boundaries.
Environmental protocols or conventions which are one of the ways the environmental law is enacted can be enforced as bilateral or multilateral treaties. These protocols deal with specific issues of the environment. In developing a green business strategy, such protocols must determine the preparations and sustainability of the business strategy.
The US federal government proposes a number of environmental statutes that must be referenced during the development of such a strategy. A violation of these statutes is considered a civil offense attracting fines and injunctions for the parties concerned.
Generally, a green business strategy aims at reducing the wastage of natural resources and levels of pollution while increasing sustainability. The green business strategy is based on a number of concepts that would cover prevention of pollution, adopting a sustainable vision, embracing clean technology and product stewardship.
In order to achieve sustainability the processes of the organization may need to be realigned so that an ecological aspect is introduced therein. This remains the main reason why many organizations have a lot of talk about green business strategies but very little implementation of the same.
Esty and Winston (2006) have enumerated the expanse of a green strategy to cover such issues as value chain eco-efficiency, eco-expense reduction, eco- efficiency, eco- risk control, eco-sales and marketing, eco- defined new market places, eco-design and intangible value. Undoubtedly for many businesses and organizations today, the barriers to green business approaches and strategies are either social or political.
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Frame work of reference
Princeton Mart is a large scale community based fresh foods and grocery supplier serving the community at Princeton. The community currently numbering over 300,000 residents basically served by Princeton Mart is increasingly becoming aware of federal environmental statutes requirements. Therefore, the management at Princeton Mart has engaged Welkson Consultants to draft for them this green business strategy proposal.
This proposal has been developed for Princeton Mart to enable them to use the natural resources within their environment sustainably.
The adoption of this plan will enable the community and management of Princeton Mart to work collaboratively to protect the environment and responsibly utilize the natural resources through an elaborate environmental stewardship program.
These proposal guidelines are based on Ceres’ environmental sustainability guidelines. The guidelines cover various environmental aspects found within Princeton community.
This initiative will cover the following points:
- Compost generation and management
- Recycling paper, plastics and other materials.
- Community education
- Environmental impact assessment
- Expansion of the initiative scope (architectural designs, energy conservation)
Compost generation and management
Princeton Mart generates close to 1.5 tons of green waste from their sales each day. The employees as well as the community at Princeton Mart can be taught to understand that nature has a way of recycling through compost generation. The company can initiate programs internally or as community-based that explore the basic composting procedure.
The employees and community have a chance of learning and practicing vermin-composting. This will be implemented on two levels at the business site and on a community owned simulated compost site. Princeton Mart will pay and engage recycle and compost management personnel to manage this project. The community can be encouraged to collect and dump all their food waste at the site for compost management.
Recycling paper, plastics and other materials
The continued depletion of natural resources and the need to better manage waste calls for the development of a recycling policy at Princeton Mart. Each day Princeton Mart handles approximately two tons of assorted plastic packaging materials. Three quarters of these packaging materials end up within the community who are the consumers. Appropriate branding has been printed on the packaging materials to encourage the buyers who use them to responsibly dispose them.
However, the company can also sustain a recycle campaign where plastic packaging materials, paper and computer waste is recycled to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The company can also liaise with product manufacturers like computer manufacturers who can manage the e-waste at Princeton Mart.
The mart will also extend this offer to the community allowing the community to responsibly dispose their e-waste through them to approved manufacturers who will produce new products from the recycled materials.
Recycling is one of the obvious indicators that Princeton Mart is working towards environmentally responsible goals. This initiative can be extended to the community through a company sustained educational campaign.
Alternatively, Princeton Mart will enroll willing clients in fundraiser opportunities where recycled material brokers pay the Mart to collect recyclable materials from their clients who are given redeemable offers based on the amount of recyclables they bring in.
Environmental education cannot be carried out in isolation from the community. The Princeton community should be involved in the process. As far as Princeton Mart is concerned a well defined corporate social responsibility (CSR) can sustain community awareness through education and participation.
The mart’s employees and the community will be made aware of environmentally responsible behaviour through such initiatives thereby enhancing a sustainable plan. Princeton Mart management can offer their employees staff development training opportunities on different topics to help them perpetuate environmental stewardship when they are engaged in CSR activities.
The success of such an initiative generally relies on periodic impartial assessment or benchmarking. The mart’s management can engage evaluation expertise companies like Ceres to assess their progress on the various areas mentioned above. These experts can also provide program sustainability options to improve the mart’s program.
Community environmental responsibility is always an elusive undertaking. This is the reason why Princeton Mart can closely liaise with companies like Ceres to establish their green business strategy. Princeton Mart has an opportunity to work with the community in conjunction with Ceres to implement a sustainable green program.
Ceres will provide an avenue for Princeton Mart and the interested community to develop collaborative approach to address environmental issues of concern. Based on such an initiative the mart and the community identify from their environment activities that consume excessive energy with a need to eliminate such.
Other factors of consideration are like the use of toxic chemicals such as pesticides; and improving air quality through practices such as carpooling.
Expansion of the initiative scope (architectural designs, energy conservation)
A collaborative approach supported by Ceres is likely to bring Princeton Mart management on board with other like minded managers who belong to other companies who can collectively create policies that encourage sustainable development for their companies and community. Green business is becoming a necessity for most businesses today.
As such many companies realize that implementing a green strategy has environmental and commercial impact. Wal-Mart one of the leading retailers around the world has a stringent green business strategy aiming at cutting on their fleet fossil fuel consumption by 20% by the year 2013.
Honda Motors Corporation has also an ambitious green business strategy with an ultimate focus on production of eco-cars for the future. These are just some of the companies that have serious consideration for green business not just as a commercial leverage but as an environmental concern.
Environmentalists have gone to length to develop tools that can be used to measure individual and corporate contributions in terms of the carbon foot print. With such tools Princeton Mart has determined that there are various high level indicators on their foot print. As a result of these findings they consider addressing a number of sustainability indicators some of which have already been specifically highlighted above.
In general though this research proposal will summarize by pointing out the main areas of this sustainability program. Based on this, the Princeton management can initiate a strategy and liaise with other like minded companies and the community to ensure that the program is a success.
The main sustainability indicators related to Princeton Mart’s green strategy will cover the following:
Princeton Mart must focus on collaborating with the community and other green business advocates to address carbon based emissions. These green house gases have been known to cause global warming and as such results in undesirable weather and climatic effects. A deliberate effort towards reducing or eliminating CO2 emitters most notoriously the carbon based fuels is a worthy cause to undertake at Princeton Mart.
The company can also benefit from carrying out such an initiative in collaboration with known green business advocates. Fossil fuels are high contributors of the green house gas (GHGs) effects. A cut down on the production of such gases involves practices such as utilization of alternative green energy sources like wind or solar.
The choice for Princeton Mart should be clearly for renewable energy sources against the common non renewable sources. Practices such as carpooling can be advocated by the management to the staff at Princeton Mart. This is likely to minimize the energy use per capita.
The management must be able to apply democratic management techniques to win the staff and community at Princeton to support this strategy. Lobbying has been an effective technique to gain influence. Princeton management may well use this approach to be able to gain a successful campaign related to green business.
Princeton Mart own large acreage on which they plant fruits and other foods for their market. Compost and other recycling practices are likely to fit well into the implementation of a green strategy for the land. The organic manure from the compost can be used to re-fertilize the land instead of using inorganic fertilizers which have a negative effect on the soil, water sources and the environment in general.
The focus by the company will be to reduce to bear level or completely eliminate soil contaminants and produce natural and safe fruits and foods for the community. Compost management practices as part of the waste management initiative at Princeton is likely to improve land quality as well. While encouraging recycling as earlier mentioned, natural resources can hence be preserved and sustained.
The green business strategy has no bearing if an assessment of Princeton’s environment is not carried out in relation to a number of factors under consideration. As such studying the levels of pathogenic induced disease such as asthma or cancer or climatic change related illnesses points towards the need for a healthier environment and Princeton Mart can be a contributor to such an environment by doing green business.
Flora and fauna evolution cycles are good indicators of environmental health. Species extinction rates must be noted as this most obviously is caused by an artificially destabilized environment.
In managing an effective green business, Princeton Mart must not just have good clean programs. The company must go beyond this and take responsibility for any waste especially non degradable toxic waste.
Hawken (2010) underpins the green business based on a number of propositions. Basically, a green business serves as a restorative economy and so the products from such an economy or industry must be environmentally acceptable. Businesses can receive incentives to manufacture their products using an environmentally acceptable process.
This is likely to result in competitive advantage for such a company where their products that have a smaller impact on the environment and hence will be most preferred (Hitchcock & Willard, 2009). The spectrum of statutes and treaties governing the environment however are barriers to the successful implementation of green businesses (Esty & Winston, 2006).
The GATT treaty for instance is one of the treaties that are a barrier to the achievement of green business. Research reveals that the multinationals make use of such treaties to perpetuate a ‘free trade’ notion which is normally at the expense of the environment. As such these multinationals seen as signatories to such laws will do little or no green business campaign wherever this treaty favours them.
Therefore, a successful green business strategy is a worthy course for Princeton Mart based on the understanding that good environmental policy is optimal business policy (Braungart, 2002). It is desirable that an effective initiative in this light should go beyond the current rhetoric that goes with green business in order to have a lasting impact.
However, the implementation of green business policy posses some management challenges that need to be effectively addressed using the available management techniques. Green business implementation faces the greatest barriers in the social and political circles.
As such the management at Princeton must be able to lobby and look for as much support from the community and other green advocates as possible in order to push through with this strategy.
It may also be possible that resistance to such a process will stem from within the organization where some of the members of the board are against the green business approach. This may result in organizational wars that can negatively affect the organization.
Therefore, a manager in such a situation will need to be a good communicator and tactful and be able to convince the board to go on with the implementation of such a plan. Once the management has been brought on board, Princeton Mart will find it easier to incorporate the community who are their clients by using programs like those discussed at the beginning of this writing.
Strategy formulation remains a very important managerial undertaking requiring input from various stakeholders within and without the organization. Princeton Mart has earmarked a $500,000 budget to start with in its effort to re-structure and adopt the green business strategy.
However, much of the success of this program implementation depends on a combination of various factors among them the community’s goodwill because the environmental issue cannot be handled in isolation. This calls for consultations even involving environmental opinionists within the community whom the management can consult on particular environmentally related issues that are able to result in sustainability at Princeton.
There must be emphasis on the sustainability indicators and ways should be formulated on how to measure the achievements related to these sustainability indicators (Harvard Business School Press, 2007; Illinitch & Schaltegger, 2000).
This process will enable the management of the company to know whether the program is a success and to what levels. Such evaluation can be done internally or externally using green advocating bodies such as Ceres.
Benyus, J. (2002). Biomimicry: Innovation inspired by nature. New York: William Morrow.
Braungart, M. (2002). Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. New York: North Point Press.
Esty, D., & Winston, A. (2006). Green to gold: How smart companies use environmental strategy to innovate, create value, and build competitive advantage. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Harvard Business School Press. (2007). Harvard business review on green business strategy (Harvard business review). Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Hawken, P. (2010). The ecology of commerce revised edition: A declaration of sustainability (Collins Business Essentials). London: Harper.
Hawken, P., & Lovins, A. (2008). Natural capitalism: Creating the next industrial revolution. Boston: Back Bay Books.
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Illinitch, A., & Schaltegger, S. (2000). Developing a green business portfolio Long Range Planning, 28(3), 29-38.
Senge, P., Smith, B., Kruschwitz, N., Laur, J., & Schley, S. (2010).The necessary revolution: Working together to create a sustainable world. New York: Crown Business.