02 June 2009

How Big Is Green?

Today many companies have their "green" or "sustainability" function within their Corporate Social Responsibility group. This made sense when companies might do a recycling drive or tree-planting project for the benefit of the community.

But now sustainability pervades every part of the organization--anywhere that energy can be saved, waste eliminated, water conserved, transport cost reduced, or products designed better. Accounting for energy and GHG emissions is becoming more and more sophisticated. These accounts are being incorporated into performance reviews and reports to stakeholders.

$ and C

Over time carbon accounting will become as elaborate and fundamental to management of the enterprise as financial accounting is today. (Did you hear that SAP bought a carbon accounting company?) Stakeholders will demand carbon accounts, and those who falsify them will risk going to jail. Every business plan will have a sustainability section, as well as financial projections.
Will carbon accounting be handled within the finance department? Will the Chief Sustainability Officer report to the Chief Financial Officer? Maybe he or she will be called the Chief Carbon Officer.

Green is Routine

The things we think of as "green" today--energy efficiency, waste reduction, low-carbon power, recycling, conservation, green design--will become standard elements of every part of every business. "Sustainability" will come to mean "hitting your carbon numbers". Some businesses moving this direction today. All will have to do so in the future.

[crossposted from the HaraBara blog]