Sustainability: The Bridge, Part II

Over on Spend Matters, Jason Busch gave us a teaser when he asked how green / sustainable procurement will play in a recession. According to Jason, while it would be easy to dismiss green and sustainable procurement practices as a luxury for companies to invest in when times are good, I actually believe that they could help organizations to buoy their top lines and pull up from a spiraling downturn or period of contraction. Whether it’s better marketing the benefits of green supplier practices to customers to spur pent-up demand or making investments in supplier development initiatives which reduce unnecessary packaging, supplier-focused sustainability initiatives have the potential to drive sales and reduce costs.

Over on 2sustain, Tim Albinson recounted the good news and bad news he took back from his recent trip to Washington, D.C. where he spent a day on Capitol Hill. According to Tim, the good news is that people are engaged in the environmental discussion, understand that action must be taken, and are preparing for a significant coming change with the new administration, but the bad news is that while the leaders may “get it” on an individual level, the institutions themselves seem incapable of doing anything in an expedited fashion. It appears that many deem a slow, methodical approach to legislation as appropriate. However, as Tim says, given the crisis nature of the current situation we face – melting ice caps, species on the brink of extinction, brutally over-fished seas, rampant global industrialization, etc – now is not the time for multi-year legislative cycles. It looks like it is going to be left up to industry and NGOs to pick up the slack.

Over on Deal Architect, Vinnie Mirchandani reminds us that, unfortunately, despite the growing moral pressure for companies to adopt more environmentally friendly products, many companies are unfairly pricing green products at a premium, or greenwashing products that really aren’t all that green. Vinnie also says that even though we all want to do good by Mother Nature, it’s not fair to sucker the consumer into bearing all of the cost. Or, as in the example Vinnie gave, paying a markup that is well beyond the additional cost … to the point where it should be illegal (just like raising prices in a state of emergency is illegal in enlightened developed economies).