Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage

Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage

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by Daniel Esty, Andrew S. Winston
     
 

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Green to Gold is an essential guide for forward-thinking business leaders who see the Green Wave coming and want to profit from it. This audio explores what every executive must know to manage the environmental challenges facing society and business. Based on the authors' years of experience and hundreds of interviews with corporate leaders around the world, Green to… See more details below

Overview

Green to Gold is an essential guide for forward-thinking business leaders who see the Green Wave coming and want to profit from it. This audio explores what every executive must know to manage the environmental challenges facing society and business. Based on the authors' years of experience and hundreds of interviews with corporate leaders around the world, Green to Gold, shows how companies generate lasting value - cutting costs, reducing risk, increasing revenues, and creating strong brands - by building environmental thinking into their business strategies.

Green to Gold is written for executives at every level and for businesses of all kinds and sizes. Esty and Winston guide leaders through a complex new world of resource shortfalls, regulatory restrictions, and growing pressure from customers and other stakeholders to strive for sustainability. With a sharp focus on execution, Esty and Winston offer a hard-hitting yet inspiring road map that companies can use to cope with environmental pressures and responsibilities while sparking innovation that will drive long-term growth. Green to Gold is the new template for global CEOs who want to be good stewards of the Earth while simultaneously building the bottom line.

"Green to Gold provides the definitive thinking on how business leaders can address environmental issues in the new economy, a world where companies win by integrating company strategies with social challenges, rather than treating economics and social as separate and different." - Michael E. Porter, Professor, Harvard Business School

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Editorial Reviews

Soundview Executive Book Summaries
The business world and the natural world are inextricably linked. Our economy and society depend on natural resources. Every product comes from something mined or grown. The environment provides critical support to our economic system - not financial capital, but natural capital. And the evidence is growing that we’re systematically undermining our asset base and weakening some of our vital support systems.

Eco-Advantage
Why are the world’s biggest, toughest, most profit-seeking companies like General Electric, Wal-Mart and others talking about the environment now? Because they have to. The forces coming to bear on companies are real and growing. Almost without exception, industry groups are facing an unavoidable new array of environmentally driven issues. Like any revolution, this new “Green Wave” presents an unprecedented challenge to business as usual.

As the business world wakes up to the fact that many natural resources are finite, a second reality is emerging in parallel: Limits can create opportunities. Companies that manage nature’s bounty and boundaries best will minimize vulnerabilities and move ahead of their competitors.

Top 10 Environmental Issues
Here are the top 10 environmental issues facing humanity:

  1. Climate Change. This catch-all includes rising sea levels, changes in rainfall patterns, more severe droughts and floods, harsher hurricanes and other windstorms, and new pathways for disease.
  2. Energy. For big energy users, resource and energy productivity may become a major point of strategic advantage.
  3. Water. Companies around the world now face real limits on access to water. A rising population and growing economies are putting substantial stress on resources. Pollution is increasingly a concern.
  4. Biodiversity and Land Use. Biodiversity preserves our food chain and the ecosystems on which all life depends. A key factor in the decline of biodiversity is habitat loss. Many companies face pressure about their contribution to sprawl.
  5. Chemicals, Toxics, and Heavy Metals. Part of what makes air pollution - and all forms of pollution - more dangerous is the presence of toxic elements. The legal liability surrounding toxics can turn out to be virtually unlimited.
  6. Air Pollution. Significant air-quality controls on factories, cars and other emissions sources have radically reduced air pollution levels over the past 30 years in the United States, Japan and Europe. But the air is still not clean in many places.
  7. Waste Management. The EPA estimates that the 1,200 Superfund sites across the country will require about $200 billion to clean up over the next 30 years. Under the liability provisions of the Superfund law, anyone found responsible for the waste at a site can be held liable for the full cost of cleanup, even if the toxics were disposed of legally.
  8. Ozone Layer Depletion. With a thinned ozone layer, the world becomes a more dangerous place, with reduced agricultural productivity, higher risk of skin cancer and other health problems.
  9. Oceans and Fisheries. More than 75 percent of the world’s fisheries are over-exploited and beyond sustainability. For those whose livelihoods depend on fishing, recreation and tourism, the effect of declining fisheries may be severe.
  10. Deforestation. Every company that uses wood, paper or even cardboard packaging has some stake in, and responsibility for, the state of our forests.

Building the Upside
Environmental strategy has been on a long march for the past 40 years, from a tactical focus on compliance, to an additional - but still tactical - emphasis on costs and efficiency, to a more strategic view centered on growth opportunities. More and more companies now see the top-line potential from artfully managing the pressures of the Green Wave.

The Eco-Advantage Mindset
Those who ride the Green Wave - WaveRiders - build a foundation for Eco-Advantage by reframing how everyone in the company looks at environmental issues. For these companies, environmental thinking is not always the final word on strategy, but it is always a consideration.

WaveRiders use an environmental lens to change the way they think and sharpen their business strategies. Environmental thinking becomes intrinsic to how they do business. Deeply embedded, the Eco-Advantage Mindset arises naturally at every opportunity.

Eco-Tracking
The Eco-Advantage Mindset is a powerful motivator and the core of the environmental lens that helps companies step up to challenges and find opportunities for seizing advantage. But it’s just the beginning. Companies need tools to get going. Getting the lay of the land requires thinking and analysis that might not come naturally. Eco-Tracking helps to answer fundamental but sometimes unfamiliar questions:

  • What are the company’s big environmental impacts?
  • When and where do those impacts arise?
  • How do others view the company’s environmental performance?

Pollution Prevention Hierarchy
For most companies, the state of the art in environmental thinking can be summed up with the slogan, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Most companies are still working on integrating these three Rs into the production process.

The pollution-prevention hierarchy has two further levels. Before reducing, companies should explore ways to redesign what they do and how they do it. And even before that, they should try to reimagine their products or processes. Just as companies have learned it’s generally cheaper to reduce than to reuse, recycle or throw out, now they are discovering that it is often more profitable to redesign and reimagine.

Eco-Advantage Strategy
Eco-Advantage has a twin logic. On one hand, the strategic gains are based on hard-edged analysis. The business case for environmental stewardship grows stronger every day.

In parallel, there’s a strong case for corporate environmental care. WaveRiders have made money by refining their business strategies to incorporate environmental factors. But as much as they are driven by profits, they are also aware that their stewardship helps more than the bottom line. When short-term gains don’t justify green initiatives, they are willing to look for long-term value for themselves and their workers, for their communities, and for the planet. The gold they’ve discovered by going green is not only about money. Copyright © 2007 Soundview Executive Book Summaries


—Soundview Summary
Michael Morris
"The future of our country and our children's world depends on getting society on a sustainable track with regard to both energy needs and environmental requirements. It is up to corporate leaders to meet this challenge, and Green to Gold blazes a trail for businesses of all kinds to follow."—Michael Morris, CEO, American Electric Power
Bertrand Collomb
"Every business, big or small, in manufacturing or services, faces environmental risks and opportunities. Esty and Winston show how companies have benefited from taking these challenges as strategic opportunities, but they also detail why corporate environmental initiatives often fall flat. There are important lessons to be learned from both the successes and the failures."—Bertrand Collomb, Chairman, Lafarge

Larry Linden
"Environment and sustainability issues have become an important focus in business generally and in the financial world in particular. Green to Gold is rich with both big-picture thinking and practical 'how-to' suggestions that will help bankers, analysts, fund managers, and investors stay on top of the 'green wave.'"—Larry Linden, Advisory Director, Goldman Sachs

William K. Reilly
"Esty and Winston have produced a compelling blueprint for how companies can address critical environmental problems, from climate change to water, and improve their performance, gain competitive advantage, make more money, and win friends."—William K. Reilly, Founding Partner, Aqua International Partners and former Administrator, US Environmental Protection Agency

Tensie Whelan
"Green to Gold is a must-read for the twenty-first century CEO. Esty and Winston provide convincing examples of how companies out-compete their peers by tackling sustainability head on, engaging stakeholders, developing NGO partnerships, and folding environmental stewardship into their corporate culture."—Tensie Whelan, Executive Director, Rainforest Alliance

Chad Holliday
"No executive can afford to ignore the green wave sweeping the business world. Esty and Winston show how to make sustainability a core element of strategy—and profit from it."—Chad Holliday, CEO, DuPont

Mark McGough

"Green to Gold is a must read for anyone interested in investing in the vast emerging environmental markets."—Mark McGough, President and CEO, Pentadyne Power Corporation

Michael E. Porter

"Green to Gold provides the definitive thinking on how business leaders can address environmental issues in the new economy, a world where companies win by integrating company strategies with social challenges, rather than treating economic and social as separate and different."—Michael E. Porter, Professor, Harvard Business School

From the Publisher
"An excellent, updated primer that tracks the A to Z of getting a grip on green as a business leader." (CNBC European Business, April 2009)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300134988
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
10/01/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
1,252,552
File size:
3 MB

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