BE Blogs: A Voice for Responsible Business

As part of our sustainability pledge to discuss best practices openly and honestly, we share insights that allow others to effect change in their community. While companies have responsibility to drive change internally, we believe they also can add to their insights and impact by sharing their experience with others.

Come by often to read the latest news, subscribe to our blog via email or RSS reader. Even better, join the conversation and share your ideas on how business can be a force for good in your community and environment.

How Smart Companies Save Money (and the Planet)

Oct 29, 2012   //   by Bradley Short   //   Blog, Energy, Technology, The Environment  //  No Comments

I read an HBR post this morning called “How Smart Cities Save Money (and the Planet).” As I read it, I realized that if you you were to replace “Cities” with “Companies,” you can pretty much make the same argument for many fast-growth companies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the post, Michael J. Dixon of IBM wrote, “…today a city’s success should be measured by how wisely it uses energy, water, and other resources, how well it maintains a high quality of life for its people, and how smart it is in building prosperity on a sustainable foundation. In short, cities have to become much smarter about how they use existing capacity and resources.

Now, let me replace “cities” with “companies” and “citizens” with “employees and stakeholders.”

“Today a company’s success should be measured by how wisely it uses energy, water, and other resources, how well it maintains a high quality of life for its employees and stakeholders, and how smart it is in building prosperity on a sustainable foundation. In short, companies have to become much smarter about how they use existing capacity and resources.

Pretty compelling stuff, right?  At its core, any business has the imperative to use all of its resources efficiently to create value.  Any business that can effectively understand and act on its own resource use data will be able to grow and be far more successful than one that doesn’t.

Take a look at the whole article over on HBR.org and after you’ve read it, think about how some of the same data-driven “smart growth” is relevant for growing businesses, just like it is for cities.

This Memorial Day, Embrace Strategic Sustainability

May 28, 2012   //   by Bradley Short   //   Blog, Energy, Leadership, Technology, The Environment, Transportation  //  No Comments

As Americans think about military service this week, let’s consider one lesson that the military stands to teach our companies: sustainability is a strategic imperative.  The U.S. military has been embracing green technologies for years, and more private companies should follow suit.

Read more >>

Death, Sustainability, and Taxes (or lack thereof)

Mar 28, 2012   //   by Bradley Short   //   Accounting & Finance, Operations Management, Project Management  //  No Comments

I read a figure from Ernst & Young last week that shocked me.  In a recent survey, nearly 40% of tax department respondents inside of companies that have a sustainability strategy were completely unaware of any green tax incentives that may be available to them.  To me, this says two major things:

One: sustainability departments are insufficiently aware of the many federal, state, and local tax incentives that are available to them.

And two: sustainability is good business, even without tax savings, for many companies.

To address that first point, I encourage you to take a look at the following resources, which may help you find incentives that are relevant to your business:

  • Energy.gov – a federal listing of energy savings incentives
  • DSIRE – The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency
  • EPA Funding Opportunities – though not directly tax-related, this is a list of resources for getting funding for green facilities projects

Additionally, there are far too many local incentives to list, but you should look to see what is available in your own city.

And on that second point, I’m somewhat encouraged that such a large group of companies realize that sustainability is a vital key to their success, even without governmental help.  Though I hope that more businesses take advantage of what is available so that they will continue to grow.

What incentives does your company enjoy?  And do you know of any more resources to help other businesses find them?  If so, please share with us in the comment section below.

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