Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Joel Makower - Green Business

At World Innovation Forum, Joel Makover, writer and green guy spoke. His latest book is Strategies for the Green Economy: Opportunities and Challenges in the New World of Business. This is a contrast to one of his previous books that Rolling Stones called the "definitive book an Woodstock" (not the one I grew up in in Ontario, Canada - but the rock concert).

He suggests many companies are doing random acts of greenness. Some things here and there but not any coordinated approach. I know from my time at SYNNEX, it is tough to be able to afford a coordinated effort. Fortunately SYNNEX was big enough to have a Chief Environment guy. In contrast to the, EMJ did not have one - we were too small. But that smallness allowed us to be fast at implementing and decision making.

I am an environment guy - drive a Prius (and had one of the first one), started the first recycling program at University of Waterloo Coop Residence, one brother in the wind business, one in the biodiesel business and a son in solar power. For some reason, it runs deep in the Estill blood.

He is a good speaker. Points "it is about doing less bad", "have a plan", "Innovation can be the key", "Green wins as long as it is truly better".

A review from Amazon by E. Bruce Harrison,( Author himself of Corporate Greening 2.0):

With more than a dozen previous books, including "The Green Consumer", already on corporate and small-business bookshelves, Joel Makower has become a master green business analyst. This book draws on his knowledge and analytical skills, with market research assist from Cara Pike, and his talent for clear writing to provide business executives a set of insights they need in planning green strategies.

Makower came onto the scene at about the same time that business was being shocked into dealing with stratospheric ozone damage from CFC emissions, and he has come to know the movers and shakers from all the communities engaged in greening over the years. This book looks forward, to show why corporate greening will endure (even if media's attention wanes), citing climate change as a major spur. He notes a parallel shift: the environmental movement morphing into the climate movement and business coping with carbon constraint linked to climate change.

Problems for greening companies include a lack of standards by which to judge "how good is good enough", leaving the bar free to drift higher; an escalating investor intensity for companies to acknowledge, reduce and report on environmental risks (which I would connect with corporate governance influenced by climate change activism); and the erosion of "sustainability" as a green leadership characteristic.

As he has done in his commentaries, Makower makes business choices easy to grasp. On energy use and climate change, he makes it simple: reduce the amount of energy used, buy more renewable-source energy, and remedy climate impact of even the renewables by moves such as carbon offsets.

Business opportunity -- starting with GE's "green is green" -- and communications are focused through the perspectives of context, relevance and good, plain talk. Easy to read, well organized, with nearly 40 short chapters, this is Makower's best book yet for corporate C-suite green strategists.


At 4:52 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Generally people are working from a place of chaos, to have a co ordinated effort requires focussed attention and people are generally to busy to find the time to be effective.


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