Green Business Bureau News
Contributed by Dr. Keivan Zokaie (email@example.com). You may register your interest in attending the book signing and workshop here: http://leanandgreenbusiness.com/events/upcoming-events/usa-book-launch-june-chicago
Like lean thinking, greening your business is not just a “nice to have”—it is now “must have.” It is a key economic driver for many forward-looking firms. If you are a business manager and you are yet to develop a solid plan for going green or if you are in doubt whether going green pays off, have a look at companies like Toyota, WalMart, DuPont, Tesco, Unilever, Marks & Spencer and General Electric, all of whom have invested heavily in greening their products and processes over the past few years.
Unilever plans to double its revenue over the next 10 years while halving the environmental impact of its products. GE aims to reduce the energy intensity of its operations by 50% by 2015. Tesco has announced that it will reduce emissions from stores and distribution centres by half by 2020 and that it will to become a zero-carbon business by 2050. WalMart’s Zero Waste initiative claims that more than 80% of waste generated in its U.S. operations has been diverted from landfill while the company’s goal is to generate zero waste in the first place. In 2010, WalMart announced that it will cut total carbon emissions by 20 million metric tons by 2015.
Toyota, in its Fifth Environmental Action Plan, announced that it will improve the average fuel efficiency of its vehicles by 25% in all regions by 2015 compared to that of 2005. In production, Toyota has already reduced emissions per vehicle by 37% between 2001 and 2012. If that wasn’t enough then look at DuPont which committed itself to a 65% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over a ten year period up to 2010. In 2007, DuPont saved $2.2 billion through energy efficiency. In the same year its total declared profits was not much more than $2 billion! And the list grows longer with many small and medium size companies following suit.
However, there are still too many companies out there, who push environmental improvements to lower priorities. They are oblivious to the reasons behind why the likes of Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever have been so passionate about sustainability. Unilever, alongside the rest of the companies mentioned in the above, invest significant time and resources in ‘green continuous improvement’. None of them, however, have joined the Greenpeace! So why should they bother?
The secret of Polman’s recipe is simple. It’s a simple yet powerful realisation that the environmental and economic footprints are aligned. When we prevent physical waste, increase energy efficiency or improve resource productivity (they all mean the same thing by the way!), we save money, improve profitability and enhance competitiveness. In fact, there are often, huge opportunities which we call “quick wins”, thanks to years of neglect. That’s the secret of those companies.
There are other benefits too. First of all, investing in green continuous improvement (CI) unlocks great amounts of innovation and vigour across the organisation which in turn underpins future success. Secondly, with most industries there is a substantial and growing market for sustainable products.
Lean means doing more with less. That’s why lean thinking supports green and vice versa.
Nonetheless, today economic and environmental Continuous Improvement are separate organisational silos and sometimes even come into conflict with each other. This is one of the biggest opportunities missed across most industries. Too many greening interventions are concerned with technical fixes and top-down implementation of end of pipe solutions which hardly leave a lasting cultural change. Lean and continuous improvement practitioners, on the other hand need to obtain essential knowledge about the key environmental measures and priorities. The power of lean and green is to bring the two together.
Here is an example. A few weeks ago we worked with one of the largest sandwich factories in the world. A team of great men and women engaged in a programme to reduce physical waste. They used simple techniques such as value stream mapping and A3 problem solving (well know lean tools). The results were staggering. No one (including me!) expected to see nearly 1000 tonnes of waste prevented in just a few weeks, in a very mature industry. The commercial benefits were even more staggering. I am constantly surprised – in a very pleasant way – when we put lean and green together.
Our forthcoming book, “Creating a Lean and Green Business System: Techniques for Increasing Profits and Sustainability”, is packed with case studies and examples of leading firms who use lean and green as simultaneous sources of inspiration in various sectors of industry—from automotive and retail to textile and brewing.
Just to give you a little flavour of what my co-authors and I found in the process of researching for the book, I can give you an update about our benchmark study into the automotive sector. Our benchmark was done 20 years after the original IMVP Programme benchmark which led to coining the term “lean manufacturing”. Interestingly we found out that Toyota — the holy grail of economic efficiency for decades — tops the green charts too. This led us to discover more about Toyota’s notion of Monozukuri which means sustainable manufacturing and lies at the very heart of Toyota Production System (or lean thinking). For more information about the book and the power of the “lean and green concept” visit: www.leanandgreenbusiness.com
Finally, I would like to personally invite you to come and join us at the book signing breakfast on June 25th in Chicago, IL. Hunter Lovins and Doc Hall will be there too. You may register your interest in attending the book signing and workshop here: http://leanandgreenbusiness.com/events/upcoming-events/usa-book-launch-june-chicago
I look forward to meeting you. Please do share you own lean and green stories.
About FlexJobs: FlexJobs is a green-certified, innovative job service for hand-screened and professional flexible, part-time, telecommuting, and freelance job listings. FlexJobs gives job-seekers an ad-free way to find legitimate jobs quickly, easily, and safely. A proud member of the Better Business Bureau, FlexJobs’ trained research team identifies quality job leads in over 50 career categories, ranging from entry-level to executive, freelance to full-time. FlexJobs is a green, carbon-balanced company that is leading the way to the future of work by promoting telecommuting and flexible jobs that allow people work in environmentally responsible ways.
Every Earth Day, the team at FlexJobs takes stock of its own efforts to be green, and we’d like to share our best tips for going green so that other small businesses can do the same. With 27 people on staff, all working from home offices throughout the U.S. and one in Europe, our green efforts are varied and we try to do as much as we can both as a group, and as individuals.
Here are six eco-friendly steps that FlexJobs has taken, and that other small businesses can take to implement green business practices and be more environmentally responsible.
Support green causes Every Earth Day, FlexJobs supports The Nature Conservancy by pledging to plant a tree for each new subscription we receive on Earth Day. This helps us and our customers go green in a special way each year.
Work from home This is a bonus for small businesses because for one, allowing employees to work from home helps us eliminate the need for costly real estate and office space. But even more importantly, working from home is a green way to work. With 27 cars out of the daily commute, FlexJobs is stopping 35.1 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere every year (based on mid-sized cars and an average daily commute).
Don’t travel for meetings There are so many amazing technologies available today that traveling (by car or plane) for in-person meetings can be greatly reduced or eliminated altogether. For small businesses with tight budgets, economical programs exist that allow for seamless virtual meetings. At FlexJobs, we use a program called Join.Me, as well as GoToWebinar, for meetings and presentations.
Encourage recycling While everyone at FlexJobs is encouraged to recycle everything they can, from paper, glass, and aluminum all the way to printer cartridges batteries, in-office workers should also be encouraged to recycle. Everyone should be given a recycling can to keep at their desk, so they can recycle throughout the day quickly, rather than making special trips to an office-wide recycling bin. Educate employees on what can be recycled, and hold drives to recycle special items that can’t go in the normal recycling bin.
Sign a pledge. Several years ago, when FlexJobs decided to formally “go green” as an organization, our CEO spearheaded a pledge that all team members have signed which states that we will all take specific steps in our home offices to be more green every day. Some of those steps include:
- Using CFL or LED light bulbs in our home offices (company-reimbursed).
- Using natural light and air whenever possible, and only using heat or AC when necessary.
- Eliminating printing altogether unless absolutely necessary.
- Maintaining an oxygen-filtering house plant in our home offices (company-reimbursed).
Enlist the help of professionals No matter how hard we try, as small businesses we are always going to be doing things that are less-than-good for the environment. To offset any carbon footprint we might have, FlexJobs is Carbon Balanced by TerraPass. With TerraPass, we can sponsor clean energy and carbon reduction projects that will continue to lower our carbon footprint each year.
Small businesses can take small steps to make a big environmental impact. And as more small businesses start greening their business practices, the better we can support each other.
This article is provided by Jason Smith, Business Electricity Prices, which helps thousands of companies each year to reduce their energy bills and improve efficiency.
Earth Day is April 22nd 2013. This is about climate change, and this is about you and your business. But not only you. It affects everyone. And what is going to be found from this article about business energy efficiency is that people are talking and changes are being made – but there is still a lot of work to do. You won’t find much on turning this and that off, albeit there will be some, because business energy and efficiency in 2013 is about more than this.
Business energy efficiency makes sense
The Carbon Trust suggests that businesses can save 10 percent in energy bills by doing something as simple as automatically powering off PCs at night, while the IEA suggests that every dollar invested in energy efficiency leads to more than $4 savings. If we look at government statistics then we see that the United States ranks highest in energy wastefulness when compared to other developed nations and that 30 percent of energy in buildings is wasted. Are you getting the idea? Making the change is good sense. There are initiatives in place to help make this change, but they need business’ support. In the US there is the Better Buildings Challenge and in the UK there is the Green Deal but the change begins with you and your business.
To make a business more energy efficient in 2013 companies need to communicate with all the necessary parties, including shareholders and energy providers, colleagues and consumers. Don’t do this on your own. You need communication if effective changes are to be implemented. Everyone needs to be able to add their input and report any wastage that they believe can be improved. For big businesses and SMEs an appointed ‘energy champion’ can be the spearhead of their communications for changes.
But be realistic. Do not go out all gung-ho with measures that are nigh on impossible to implement or just downright inconvenient, as this can lead to other positive measures being swept under the carpet. This is why communication is so vital and why it should be at the forefront of a business’ mind when looking to implement changes in energy usage.
Businesses cannot make effective decisions in energy usage and improved efficiency unless they equip themselves with the necessary knowledge. Don’t be put off making key business environmental changes by the price tag or the effort of implementation. Do your research and make sure to consider the benefits that changes can have for staff welfare, customer service and the reputation of your business. Knowledge of energy efficiency will go a long way to making sure that businesses make the right decisions, and should be combined with a willingness to unearth the facts and make real changes.
Technology means more than simply ensuring the lights and PCs are turned off at night. There is technology out there which can make a real difference to efficiency and savings, now and into the future. Smart meters are one such way and this has research to back it up, with British Gas Business having found in the UK after looking at the data from more than 6,000 smart meters that 46 percent of electrical consumption happens before 8am or after 6pm. In the UK there is also the option of half-hourly meters which are used by large users of energy such as department stores and manufacturing plants. Half-hourly electricity meters are read every hour and provide insights into how and where energy is being wasted. This means businesses only pay for what they use, with half-hourly meters helping businesses to apply energy efficient programmes. As the Carbon Trust says, measuring usage will help you to spot patterns and to identify where changes can be made.
Other technology includes LED lighting. But there is still some work to do in this department if the energy saving benefits are to be truly worthwhile – thankfully Philips have announced an LED prototype that should be available to commercial entities by 2015 and which is proposed to be the first to provide 200 lumens per watt of high quality light.
Your business is unique
In 2013 businesses will realise that they are not all one and the same when it comes to energy efficiency. For larger corporations, low-energy lighting and upgrades in heating and air-conditioning systems is good thinking; for virtual businesses, cloud computing can save on their energy usage; for retailers, Sainsbury’s use of renewable technologies in its stores, such as solar power and biofuel generators, is a good example to follow and build on. The point being that the changes your business makes are not necessarily going to be the same as other companies.
Generate your own energy
A business can look to generate its own energy to achieve long-term goals in energy efficiency and cost savings. But this will of course depend upon your business and its goals. Solar photovoltaic panels only require daylight and work on buildings of all sizes, with the surplus energy created able to be fed into the National Grid via rewarding government schemes such as Feed-in Tariffs. Another option for businesses is thermal energy storage that can be more costly to implement than standard air-conditioning systems, but which can lower energy costs and reduce use of on-peak electricity. The technology is out there, but it requires businesses to consider the options.
More needs to be done
It’s all well and good saying how businesses should be more energy efficient, and Earth Day helps to place more emphasis upon this, but the fact remains that the level of carbon emitted in global energy supplies hasn’t changed much in 20 years, according to the International Energy Agency. Yes, there is the technology like solar panels and half-hour meters to help businesses improve their resources and knowledge, but as the executive director Maria van der Hoeven of IEA says, “We cannot afford another 20 years of listlessness.”
Rio Designs Love * Shop * Live * Life is a small business – independent organization that does not take money from corporations or government. They rely on individual donations from people just like you. Please join us and help support communities in need and to help stop the deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, Brazil and to the hurricane sandy victims in the New Jersey -East Coast Shore Line, USA. It is a global effort, of course it would not only benefit the fundraiser(s) of the different organization(s) and or communities in need but it also brings a sense of peace to help others that are less fortunate. Click here to Donate.
According to the latest U.S. Geological Survey, of the total 410 billion gallons of water used in the US, residential water consumption accounts for approximately 25%. Direct water use for residential purposes is only 7%. However, including the indirect residential water consumption due to electricity consumption by the household increases the total consumption figure to 25%.
As Earth Day approaches, Nerdwallet in this article recognizes ten outstanding eco-conscious businesses, including GBB! Click here to read what these businesses are doing to reduce their impact on the environment.
How is your business going green? Share your ideas with us in the comments sections.