Never forget compliance!
Most of us in the green business world are very gung ho about “going beyond compliance”, but I’ve started adding a caveat to that – “but don’t forget about compliance”. In my business case for sustainability model, compliance is the base of the pyramid – lose sight of that and everything else collapses – just ask BP.
You should note that “beyond compliance” and “compliance” often converge over time as the latter does not stand still. More and more gets added to the statute book every year and much which is there tightens automatically. Here in the UK, environmental permits for ‘dirty’ industries require the use of “Best Available Technology (BAT)” to prevent pollution – so the bar rises as technologies improve. For other large organisations, the CRC Energy Efficiency scheme is designed to tighten the screw on carbon emissions as the years go on. So incremental improvements may simply keep the wolf from the door for a year or two – another good reason to focus on step changes.
Another interesting recent development is business calling for increased legislation to punish environmental laggards – such as airlines calling for air travel to come under the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme. Far better to set the agenda than react to it.