Greening the bean counters
I usually start off my seminars by asking delegates why their company should go green (try it – much more effective than you telling them why they should go green). The first answer is almost always “Save money” and, after compiling a list of other reasons, this is identified as the most important.
I always challenge that answer. The delegates have explained how customer pressure is a factor, yet they then discount this in favour of short term cost cutting – maybe it’s the current economic climate to blame. I usually point out that, without customers, the bottom line is an irrelevance.
There is always more scope for increasing sales than cutting costs. This is an essential truth to get across to anyone doing investment appraisals of green projects – they need to factor the scope for raising the top line into their calculations, rather than just a simple return on investment (ROI) assessment.
Interestingly those who seek to raise the top line will cut costs into the bargain – Marks & Spencer’s Plan A programme was never intended to save money – but it has. But if you take a penny pinching attitude and expect a direct ROI on projects, you will never back the ambitious ideas that will set you apart from the pack in the market – missing out on the big rewards of green business.
So, don’t forget to get the bean counters greened up and aware of their importance in the Sustainability performance of the organisation.