Making Green Work – dare you commit corporate heresy?

I’m reposting this from my Computer Weekly Greentech blog because I think the ideas are equally applicable to the Campaign4Change.

Last week I took part in on a webinar ‘Making Green Work’, run by the Harvard Business Review and supported by Hitachi, which featured noted Green Business consultant Andrew Winston and which discussed the concept of sustainability within organisations.

Winston suggested that within firms, employees should be prepared to be heretics, thinking the unthinkable. For example, in the US, UPS has decided that because of the idling involved in deliveries, its routes schedule no left turns – we’d call it taking ‘no right turns’ here. That’s going to save UPS an estimated 28.5 million miles from its delivery routes, saving 3 million gallons of fuel, and cutting carbon dioxide emissions by around 69 million pounds. But how do you create the organisational culture that allows ‘green heresy’ to flourish? Is this down to the CEO to drive the culture that allows this to happen? What role should other corporate officers play in this?

Equally, it’s clear that if such green heresy is to take place within organisations, senior corporate officers need to be incentivised to both think and do sustainability to such an extent that their remuneration depends on it. How far has this gone within the C-Suite? How many Chief Information Officers, for example, are truly thinking how technology can drive green innovation within the organisation, not just in terms of products, but processes, services and new business models? How many CIOs are actually incentivised in this way? And what do these models for remuneration look like? What do they mean for the CFO or even HR?

Winston recently discussed in the Harvard Business Review blogs how organisations like Xerox are working with customers to help them use less of their traditional product or service. It is sustainability that is driving the transformation of Xerox to a services-led business.

As Winston explains, “Xerox advises companies on how to save money on document handling, and holds a sizeable 48 per cent market share in the $7.78 billion “managed print services” (MPS) industry (according to research firm IDC). Part of this new strategy is an outsourcing play -they’ll take over all your print needs for you – to grab share. This is clearly not a niche business-this is a firm that existed on selling devices, paper, and machine servicing, so the more it’s used the better. But at the core, what Xerox is offering is less total printing. That’s a big shift in business as usual.”

You can read the piece here.

Although the original webinar discussed companies in the private sector, I’m sure the same ideas can apply within the public sector, especially in relation to IT projects, Cloud policy and the application of true sustainability. In other words, not corporate heresy, but government heresy. Think the unthinkable – and then do the un-doable.

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