Tag Archives: Basics

CSR: Going Beyond Compliance, Risk Management, and Philanthropy

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) focuses on the “people” and “planet” aspects of the Triple Bottom Line.  This is a corporation’s initiatives to take a proactive approach to managing its impacts on the environment and society.  Proactive being the keyword, meaning that the business implements programs to lessen harmful impacts and amplify positive impacts before it is forced to by regulation, industry, or its constituents. Beyond Compliance CSR programs are voluntary and are not enforceable by regulating agencies.  In fact, a strong CSR program goes above and beyond what regulation requires.  A simple example of this would be an organization that uses the Clean Water Act as a benchmark and sets goals to reduce contaminating releases to a set standard below what the act allows.  A more robust program would also implement a program that educates employees on the effects of pollution and partners with organizations that work to protect local bodies of water. Beyond Risk Management While Corporate Social Responsibility could be looked at as a form of risk management in that it keeps an organization ahead of the curve in terms of changing regulation and customer demands, CSR goes beyond risk management in the traditional sense.  Generally speaking, risk  Continue Reading »

Basics of a Green Team: Part 4 of 4

Basics of a Green Team Part 4:  Why NOT to Have a Green Team Still not sure if you need a Green Team?  Here are some reasons NOT to create one.   You are looking for marketing material. Sure, an active and engaging Green Team will produce great material for your company blog, twitter, and facebook page.  However, if this is your main reason for assembling the team, you’ll run out of material fast.  Having a successful Green Team requires an investment in time, talent, and at times, even treasure.  If your company is interested in the marketing material more than the results, the team will feel undue pressure to produce “showy” results and not enough support for producing meaningful results.   The Other Guys are doing it. You  want to keep up with your competition.  They have a green team and everyone is talking about it.  You better get one quick so you don’t fall behind, right?  Wrong.  This is not the path you want to start your Green Team out on.  As was mentioned in Part 3 of this series (What Your Green Team Needs for Success), clear direction is important to the success of your Green Team,  Continue Reading »

Basic Sustainability Concepts and Why Businesses Adopt Them

Sustainability Planning can seem like a big, complicated, even scary ordeal to those who are new to sustainable business concepts.  Let’s break it down.  Sustainability planning is really just establishing some thoughtful goals and creating a plan to achieve them.  Goals should be given much thought and discussion and should align with the overall business philosophy and vision, and they should be challenging while attainable.  That can still seem very open-ended and indeterminate.  Let’s break it down a bit more.  Here are some basic sustainable business concepts that may help. ECO-EFFICIENCIES The easiest concept to sell, eco-efficiencies include reducing resource consumption, reducing material waste, and reducing landfill contributions through recycling and reuse.  Businesses see direct savings from eco-efficiencies.   SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES Innovating products and services that positively impact the environment and community gives companies a competitive edge.  This requires forward-thinking, entrepreneurial-minded leaders who are not afraid of taking risks and who understand the long-term impact of the products and services they sell.   STAKEHOLDER AND SHAREHOLDER ENGAGEMENT Collaborating with everyone who is touched by its products or services allows a company to truly understand what their customers want and need; what their employees need to be happy,  Continue Reading »

Basics of a Green Team: Part 3 of 4

Basics of a Green Team Part 3:  What Your Green Team Needs for Success Green Teams usually start out with lots of excitement and motivation, which builds momentum fast.  However, progress can slow quickly if the team doesn’t have the tools and support for success.  Here are a few key elements for an effective Green Team. CEO & Executive Leadership Backing – This is ESSENENTIAL.  If the CEO and executive leadership are not actively and visibly supportive of the Green Team, the team will begin to question the company’s commitment.  The key words here are “actively” and “visibly”.  It is not enough for the CEO to say that he or she supports the team’s efforts and goals.  All of executive leadership need to show their support by talking about what the green team is working on, asking about progress, giving praise and recognition when their initiatives succeed, offering insight and advice, asking other employees for their thoughts on the green efforts, and participating in engagement activities and initiatives.  Take every opportunity to show and voice support for the Green Team. Clear Direction– During the formation of the team, a clear path of purpose should be laid out.  Ideally, the team  Continue Reading »

Basics of a Green Team: Part 2 of 4

Basics of a Green Team Part 2:  How to Build Your Green Team So you’ve decided you need a Green Team.  Now let’s make it happen.  Here are some steps to help you get your Green Team assembled using a top-down approach.  Often times, Green Team’s are created as a grass-root effort by a handful of motivated employees.  In that case, your process may be different, but these steps can still help you and give you more credibility with upper management and peers. Step 1 – Define the Roles Decide what the function of this team is and write a formal description.  Think about how many people the team needs.  Determine if a chairperson is necessary, or if the team will be led by a manager or company executive.  Outline the expectations, or write job descriptions for the chairperson and team members.    Step 2 – Share the News & Take Applications Let your staff know that your company has made a commitment to sustainability and that a team of their peers will have the opportunity to be directly involved in the action.  Clearly explain the team’s purpose, the roles and responsibilities, and how these positions will integrate into their  Continue Reading »

Basics of a Green Team: Part 1 of 4

Basics of a Green Team Part 1:  Does Your Company Need a Green Team? Has your company been toying around with the idea of creating a green team?  Wondering if you really need one or not?  Well, let’s first talk about what a green team is and what they do. Green teams can go by many other names, but the general idea is that you have a designated group of employees who are responsible for all or part of your Corporate Sustainability Plan.  For some companies, a green team might be a sort of pep squad who encourages the rest of your staff to get involved with (and comply with) company green initiatives by planning fun activities, contests, or reward systems.  For others, a green team could be more like a research and development committee who continually looks for ways to improve the company’s products and services through green innovation.  Or maybe some green teams are tasked with sustainability goal planning and tracking.  Still others may lead the efforts for all of these and more.  Typically, the green team is a volunteer based committee.  In other words, these employees have “regular” jobs within the company and participate on the green  Continue Reading »