Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shades of Green

We appear to be marching toward greater greenness in spite of our global economic problems and a lack of global regulations.  The Schumpeter column in the November 12, 2011 Economist (Why firms go green) highlighted the trends outlined in a report by Ernst & Young.  The results from 300 top managers of big global firms quizzed by Ernst & Young included:
  • 44% stated that spending on sustainability had increased since the 2008 financial crises.
  • Even without carbon regulation - - some sorts of green investment make commercial sense.
  • Improved energy efficiency and waste management are seen as having the darkest shade of green.
  • The falling price of renewable energy is starting to offer firms another way to cut costs.
  • Firms like Coca-Cola, Unilever, Nestle, and PepsiCo have several things in common - - a focus on expanding in the developing world and the need for lots of water.  Water conservation has shades of green.
Gavin Neath is Unilever's head of sustainability and he probably summarizes the goal of greening in the face of tough global economic times the best:

"We know what the future looks like.  We know water will be very scarce, we know that energy prices will be much higher, he know sanitation will be ghastly in increasingly crowded urban areas."

Firms like Unilever are starting to put their money where their mouth is.

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