Living Green

As pointed out in e-Sourcing Forum‘s post on Green Suppliers back in May, Interface Inc., the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, was able to save $260m from waste reduction initiatives, as pointed out in this Purchasing Magazine article. But the story continues.

As pointed out by Lindsey Parnell, the CEO and President of Interface Europe, in her article A Sustainable Future in CPO Agenda, Procurement leaders need to play their part in overcoming the many hurdles to environmentally friendly business.

The article points that sustainability is about driving enterprises towards maximum resource efficiency, maximum responsibility for any actions and maximum return on investment. It’s about doing well both commercially and in an environmental and social sense and that the development of consistent definitions of industry-specific drivers would increase focus while the establishment of a return feed of used and end-of-life products would allow suppliers to close the loop and view lifecycle costs, not just one-off purchase costs.

Furthermore, even if companies looked only at what could be achieved with the resources readily available to them, the impact would be significant. Consistently demanding the most sustainable products and services available would also help the market’s development, and I believe gravitation in that direction is inevitable.

As I pointed out in staying green, I too believe this trend is here to stay. After all, when you consider Sprott Asset Management‘s recent report Investment Implications of an Abrupt Climate Change, which forecasts far-reaching and “dire” impacts of rapid climate change, businesses who do not adapt may go extinct. And, as described in BusinessWeek’s Business on a Warmer Planet, some companies are already adapting. After all, as CIO Insight points out in The Greening of the CIO, environmental questions matter more and more for corporate IT, not as feel-good programs but business issues with a direct impact on the bottom line. After all, as pointed out by a recent Supply Excellence post, the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) has triggered shortages for both compliant and non-compliant electronic components, challenges which will need to be overcome by innovative sourcing professionals. Fortunately, some manufacturers are stepping up to the challenge. Zebra Technologies has fully converted its thermal printers to be in compliance with the EU’s RoHS directive, as described in this Supply & Demand Chain Executive article.

Green issues have an impact on everything from product marketing to employee morale to profit margins, and many of them are closely interwoven with the everyday work of IT organizations and the departments, including procurement, that IT supports. The article suggests that you should think of environmental consciousness as the next level of alignment, an enterprise-wide phenomenon that procurement must lead.

And your job is only getting easier. With companies like new startup SolFocus and Energy Solutions Alberta, you’ll soon be able to run your corporations on 100% renewable green energy from the ultimate renewable energy resources – the sun and the earth themselves. (And some researchers are even looking into ways to capture the energy we waste with each foot step, by taking the science of piezoelectrics, that powers your SEIKO kinetic perpetual timepieces, to the next level.)

Furthermore, it may not be too long before we’ll be able to stop wasting paper and silica and write on water itself. (English description.) At the very least, we should be able to replace those neon signs with a new generation of technology. (While we wait for that day to come, we will soon have e-paper to tide us over.)

To answer David’s question, I think Kermit will soon be singing about how easy it is to be green.