2.01.2010

Green… Just Plain Smart Business

My recent posts on "lean and green" and sustainability have generated some emails from practitioners working in this area. Brett Wills, author of Green Intentions: Creating a Green Value Stream to Compete and Win, sent me some fairly detailed insights that I'd like to share here in three successive blog posts. Here is part one:

"Attitudes of customers, employees, and stakeholders are changing. Indicators are constantly showing they are increasingly attracted to those companies who respect the environment and people and are committed to improving sustainable processes. For some, however, there is an illusion that going green is a financial drag. This thinking inhibits the change that is necessary to compete and win in today’s economy. Fortunately, this thinking is rapidly changing as more and more companies continually post results to the bottom line.

Companies like Coca Cola, Kraft, Heinz, Toyota, Interface and HP are showing how going green cuts costs, grows market share, strengthens brands, and increases competitiveness. These companies are clearly illustrating that going green is no longer a 'nice to do' program in good times but a key ingredient to succeeding in the new, reset economy.

The rub is that going green can be difficult if one does not have the tools, techniques, and thinking required for a successful green transformation. The good news is that all the ingredients needed for a successful and profitable green transformation are readily available. In addition, one can quickly learn to apply these tools to immediately realize cost savings and other business benefits with little to no investment and quick implementation.

One such tool is the lean and green process that allows one to quickly uncover the often hidden and costly green wastes laying in an organization. Committing a relatively small amount of time to learning and applying this process will allow one to immediately begin harvesting the low-hanging fruit. These quick wins enable one to get the buy-in and support needed for continuous green improvement.

Whichever way one looks at it, competing and winning in today’s new economy requires a strategy that includes green."

1 comments:

Daniel said...

I completely agree that we need to break the association between "green" and "higher costs." Lean has proven that reducing waste very often makes financial sense.

The other benefit Lean gives to the green movement is a systems approach. Too often, our "green" projects end up hurting more than they help in some unseen part of the big picture. Corn ethanol comes to mind.

Some great (old) books on the Eco-Lean paradigm are Joseph Romm's "Lean and Clean Management" and "Cool Companies."