Green Efficiency: Integrating the Environment into Business Strategy and Operations Premium

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The integration of “green” into company strategy doesn’t mean sacrificing growth and profit—much the opposite!

Only eco- skeptics still confuse “green” with “constraints”.
Is green business just a marketing fad? Eco-skeptics are wrong to think so. Everyone else is definitively integrating this dimension into business strategy in pursuit of a triple goal: reduce costs by minimizing waste, boost growth and compe­titiveness through green innovation, and, last but not least, safeguard the future of the business by getting involved in protecting the planet.

More than anything else, green business is a major strategic engagement that no economic actor can afford to ignore; those who do are likely to cut themselves off from a significant source of growth.


Implementing Green Strategy

As with any major change initiative, the desire to evolve does not justify erratic behavior. Olson draws on classic strategy im- plementation principles to show that green strategy depends on the same operational and human imperatives as any change or improvement project.
1) Build a New Company Culture (Set the example, Raise awareness, Install appropriate equipment, Objectives and measurements);
2) Align Objectives and Action Plans (Formulate a green strategic vision; Review all major areas for potential action; Create a list of the organizational, technological, and process needs; Conduct a gap analysis; Set priorities according to the results of step 4; Establish a roadmap; Oversee plan execution following essential change management rules; Update objectives regularly to adapt them) ;
3) Piloting Green Transformation (Define key performance indicators (KPI); Establish an ad hoc measurement system; Create a dashboard to synthesize data and make it visible in real time; Constantly adjust and improve processes; Monitor day-to-day performance to firmly anchor changes).

Tried and true operations management methods can contribute to do all of these objectives.
IBM has developed and deployed Green Sigma management for its Big Green Innovations project. The initiative is an incubator for technological ideas to make business activities more efficient and integrated, cheaper and higher quality, and considerably less polluting! bioMérieux is leveraging a network of green champions in its eco-efficiency program. Because it takes more than objectives, action plans, and progress indicators to generate and spread best practices throughout a global organization!

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Green Efficiency: Integrating the Environment into Business Strategy and Operations

Business Digest no. 207, June 2010.

Based on Better Green Business by Eric G. Olson, Wharton School Publishing (November 2009), and the interviews with Peter Williams, CTO, Big Green Innovations, IBM, and Anne-Laure Denis, corporate environment manager, bioMérieux, May 2010.