Yesterday, Wired published an article summarizing the recent State of Green Business 2008 from Greener Media which gives a bracingly candid interpretation of businesses’ green and greenwashing efforts. The report found that only 8 of 20 indicators showed progress in 2007 while 2 of the indicators, e-waste and carbon intensity, actually got worse. (Guess they still haven’t figured out that they need to design for recycle from the outset!)
The reality is that even though corporations like Apple, Google, and Wal-Mart tout their green virtues on a daily basis, their “greening” efforts have been mixed at best. Furthermore, most companies are still tinkering at the margins and have not embedded sustainable practices like recycling, efficient energy use, and waste reduction into core business practices.
CNet also had a good post over on their Green Tech blog yesterday. According to the blog entry, which had a different take on the State of Green Business 2008 report from Greener Media, there is real money behind the claims of many corporations purporting to “go green”, but consumers still need to be convinced that it’s more than just feel-good PR, which is to be understood. We all know that there has been lots of green-washing going on, and that not all efforts are well thought out and as green as the corporations think they are.
CNet noted that despite the fact that companies are only improving incrementally, and that many of the gains are not enough to over-take the ever-growing economy, these companies are recognizing that pursuing environmentally aware policies does not need to conflict with a corporation’s financial goals. You can do good and save money!
It also noted that consumers and investors are willing to put their money behind companies that make serious efforts to be sustainable. Of the 1,000 investors surveyed, almost half said they were likely to invest in a company or mutual fund with an environmental component to it. Seventeen percent have already made that sort of an investment.