Are You Still Working on Green?

John G. Swanson
April 17, 2012
THE TALK... | Management, Operations, Sales & Marketing

With Earth Day coming, I thought I would turn my attention to green. In surfing the internet on the subject, I came across a a small business report on American Express's Open Forum that suggests that consumers are opting for green products less due to the weak economy, but companies continue to move in a greener direction.  The reason companies are embracing green, it suggests, is that green practices are often efficient practices that can save money. 

I wouldn't deny that's happening in our industry, but I would also suggest that green as a topic of discussion–and company and/or product promotion–has faded somewhat.  Energy efficiency certainly remains an important talking point for window and door manufacturers and dealers for sure, but companies don't seem to be devoting as much time to such subjects as LEED or carbon footprints.   

I thought I would use this week's poll to gauge the industry sentiments. And as usual, I'd like to hear from you too.  Email me or post a comment and tell me if your company is working to make itself or its products greener?  If so what, what's motivating your activities?  If green is less a prioirity, why?  And what areas are you paying more attention to? Is green going away? 

 

Survey Results as of 04/24/2012:

 

Is your company working on making itself and its products greener?

It's never been a real high priority here.

  

 

39%

 

Yes, we've been consistently moving in that direction for several years.

  

 

31%

 

Yes, but green is probably not as high a priority as it once was.

  

 

19%

 

Yes, it's a higher priority than it's ever been.

  

 

11%

 

Enthusiasm for green is waning at some companies, it appears, but the survey results make it clear green is not going away.  About 30 percent of our respondents say their companies have been consistently moving in a green direction and about 10 percent say it's a higher priority now than it's been in the past.

My personal take on green is that it's increasingly becoming part of the normal way we do business.  I've personally theorized that Greenbuild–one of the most successful trade shows in recent years–will one day be superfluous.  Nearly everything at IBS, the Remodeling Show, the AIA Show, etc., etc., is green too.

Many predict it will happen with building codes.  Standards such as LEED, ICC 700 and IgCC can now be used to set buildings apart, but some foresee them becoming requirements in some jurisdictions.

Yes, you can stand out from the crowd by taking certain leading-edge steps, but everyone's on the path and it's hard to separate oneself from the pack. My guess is that if there is less enthusiasm for green, it is because it is harder to differentiate yourself that way.

That doesn't necessarily mean you'll be less green, of course.  Most of us care about the environment. Most of us also understand that many "green" steps can also be profitable. Taking steps to use less energy or produce less waste often save money.   Enthusiasm will remain high on that front, I suspect.