Staying Green

About a month ago in my Sourcing Innovation series, I wrote a post entitled Green with Envy that described the many benefits a buying organization can achieve by “going green“.

It looks like this trend is here to stay. In Wired’s recent article Carbon Killers, they point out that for some companies, going green is generating serious greenbacks.

GE has currently pledged to roll back their greenhouse gas emissions 1 percent by 2012 (as compared to a projected rise of 40 percent). Why? In addition to reducing waste, reducing energy costs, avoiding environmental taxes, and reducing production cycles, green policies are starting to pay huge dividends in public relations and marketing buzz. For example, FedEx has announced plans to cut emissions through the use of hybrid delivery trucks. Furthermore, the global market’s appetite for green technology is heating up. If you are a US multi-national, chances are you want to do business in Europe and Asia, regions that have not only accepted, but are enforcing, the limits on greenhouse gases imposed by the Kyoto Protocol. (With 164 countries agreeing to the protocol, it’s not something you can ignore if you want to do business globally.)

After all, with the climate already changing thanks to global warming, as per this recent CNET news article, the smart money eyes climate change. The smart companies are trying to mitigate risk and seeking out opportunities in fields such as clean energy. Climate change and associated policies that arise to deal with it are going to fundamentally alter the makeup of many world economies. Companies that fail to embrace this coming change will probably lose out in the long run, therefore going green now is a good way to ensure a successful future.

Fortunately, going and staying green is becoming a whole lot easier with technologies produced by companies such as Atlanta-based CoalTek Inc.. CoalTek has developed a patent-pending technology that can convert raw-coal into “designer coal”, by way of electromagnetics, that contains less moisture, ash, sulfer and mercury. This allows the coal to burn more efficiently and cleanly, reducing energy costs and pollution. CoalTek is not alone. Denver-based KFx Inc. is also in the clean coal market. Furthermore, earlier this year Southern Co. and the US Department of Energy launched a $557M coal gasification project in Central Florida designed to produce the “cleanest, most efficient facility” in the world when it is completed in 2010.

Furthermore, as the CNET article points out, like health issues related to asbestos and tobacco did in the past, climate change could lead to lawsuits and target companies that either contribute to global warming or did not take sufficient steps to address regulations.