The “Green” Movement is dying….or is it just misunderstood?

October 28th, 2013

How successful are the “green” efforts your company has been working on

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President and COO at SafeSourcing.

The Green Initiative has been the focus of much attention over the past decade as companies have tried to become “greener” and ideas whose funding has been backed by Federal clean-energy programs were born by the dozens.  With all of the attention it would seem that we would be making great progress on the country and businesses developing a greener footprint.  On closer examination, it seems as though the successes have been limited to a much smaller group than was expected.  In a recent article in The Washington Times the details were released concerning yet another company who was given Federal assistance in order to develop “greener” products.  In fact dozens of Federally assisted companies who received money from the Department of Energy have struggled and in many cases filed for bankruptcy.

1. {http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/sep/6/energy-department-loses-42-million-loan-michigan-c/}

2. {http://blog.heritage.org/2012/10/18/president-obamas-taxpayer-backed-green-energy-failures/}

Lack of Committment – As with any program a company choses to implement, the lack of leadership support is the prime reason a program finds an early grave.  While everyone will agree that creating a greener planet is a good thing and they that they want to do what they can to support making it happen, at the end of the day business is business and the bottom line is the measure of ultimate success.  Getting support for green initiatives should start with those things that also positively affect the bottom line.  Initiatives that cost $100,000 up front but that will return an ROI of 5-10x will receive much more support than one that costs $10,000 and takes 10 years to recoup.

Lack of Planning – There are many aspects of planning a new green initiative (accountability assignment, longer term goals, communication) that should be taken into consideration as seriously as any other corporate objective for success to be achieved.   Because Green initiative projects do not always have the support as mentioned above, being able to define and measure goals for the project become even more critical.  Without accountability and measurable goals, the initiative will quickly lose momentum and excitement and become the “Program of the Month” to be filed away with the others that did not succeed.  Short, medium and long-term goals should be developed to create a constant flow of little victories while also moving the project and giving the company visibility into the value the project brings.

Time & Money – The two greatest resources an individual or company has apart from the human variety are time and money.  The greatest ideas in the world have failed to ever make it out of the gate in large part because of one or both of these things.  The best planning and executive backing will not help if there is not enough time for your company to invest in the project in the midst of conducting normal business.  Likewise the cost of a project or presence of/lack of an ROI can also keep a project stalled or kill it altogether.  Another important piece of this can be the lack of personal incentive to get a project done.  When projects aren’t part of an individual or departments performance evaluation it tends to be the first thing that gets pushed to the side and replaced by more important projects.  Allocating time and money, understanding how it can positively affect your company’s financial landscape and attaching the success of a project to performance appraisals will help ensure the project is a success.

While there have been struggles and challenges with sustainability initiatives recently, SafeSourcing believes in the value of pursuing them and is committed to helping our customers make them successful for their companies without creating a conflict with the demands of running a business.  For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist with preparing for your next “event” or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

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