Friday, February 12, 2010

Green Recovery

Last night I read Andrew S. Winston's new book Green Recovery - Get Lean, Get Smart, And Emerge From the Downturn on Top.

The book was awesome and obvious. The gist of the message is it's smart business to be green and that many of the things which companies do to save money are actually environmentally friendly.

One of my tenants in business has always been to try to get 100% utilization of resources, so if I happen to have a board room that wasn't being used, if I get someone to use it (and pay something for that), it was a good way to cover my overheads. It also happens to be good for the environment because I was already going to pay to heat that part of the building.

For some reason, there is a lot of 'Green' in my family. My parents must have raised us right. One brother owns a biodiesel refinery and has written a book on biodiesel. My other brother Glen runs a wind farm and my son has started a business selling solar installations.

The book talks about:
  • Get lean by revving up your energy and resource efficiency to survive the downturn.
  • Get smart by using environmental data about products and value chains to save money, innovate, and generate competitive advantage.
  • Get creative and rejuvenate your innovation efforts by asking heretical questions such as "Can we run our business with no fossil fuels?"
  • Get your people engaged and excited by asking employees to solve their own, the company's, and even the world's environmental challenges.
Winston had written a previous book called Green to Gold, which described how Green is good for business.

Any business that invests money is always looking for a positive ROI and some parts of ROI are tough to measure. I would argue that Green projects should be given a longer ROI than other projects because it's probable the cost of energy is going to increase also because it's good to good in the world and being green is likely to inspire some loyalty in both staff and in customers.

He talks about the obvious savings.
  1. Replacing ordinary incandescent bulbs with energy efficient lights, etc.
  2. Shut off your technology (computers can draw a lot of power). I toured a company called Chromis Fiberoptic in Connecticut Monday that makes plastic fiber optic cables. Very interesting company with potentially disruptive technology but that is another story. One advantage of fiber over copper is it uses less than 1/10 of the energy which in a datacenter environment results in huge savings because you not only save on the power in the first place, but you save on the power to cool it.
  3. Fill the trucks, drive fewer miles, redesign distribution.
  4. Travel less - telecommute and teleconference. I had spoken earlier about one of the companies I invested in called Calliflower , teleconferencing / WebEx software.
It's a short book, it's an easy read. Anyone in business can benefit by going green.


At 8:26 PM, Blogger GPS to GO said...

Fill the trucks, drive fewer miles, redesign distribution.

Any business with employees driving Co. vehicles can also find ROI with GPS Fleet Tracking. The GREEN fleet initiatives of better routing -stop excessive idling -speeding ( USDOT suggests that each 10 mph over 60 costs you 4% more in gas / trip ) wear & tear ect ect - plus -the added benifits of: Where are my vehicles really spending thier time each work day? When did they really get to a job? How long were they really there? Moonlighting -weekend trips with my vehicles & burning MY GAS - We usually see a 40:1 ROI -

At 10:33 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Interesting. The biggest eye opening book I read was Winning by Jack Welch. I read it from an employee's perspective, and learned what makes a high-powered leader tick. The biggest take-away was candor. I'm not sure many read a book like that and look at it from the other end. Maybe I'll take a look at this book.

There is probably a tremendous need for books on how to be a better employee. But there might not be any demand.

At 10:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very inspiring! Thanks for reviewing this book.



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