There's a lot of evidence to suggest that sustainability and business are a good match. We've often said as much. Amid the many voices out there clamoring for businesses to "go greener," however, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has put out a new resource that may do quite a lot of good.
The NRDC Greening Advisor, as this online guidebook is called, is a no-nonsense guide to examining and improving your company's environmental impact. We like that its businesslike language spares its users any of the green movement's ubiquitous cute rhetoric (the peppy tone has certainly got its place, but not in the boardroom). In fact, the main page practically apologizes for the use of the term "greening:"
Greening an organization is a colloquial way of saying that we’re working to ecologically improve an institution’s supply chain and day-to-day operations.
The site directs users through a series of response-to-climate-crisis tutorials, from a clear and reasoned explanation of the social, environmental and economic threats we're facing as well as the basic business sense of reducing waste and increasing efficiency.
The NRDC goes on to offer concrete, usable solutions for businesses that range from the extremely short-term (using both sides of your paper) to the more far-reaching. Plans for corporate improvement include company-wide environmental policy statements, sustainability reports, energy-efficient building renovations and smarter waste-reduction policies.
Along with nearly every suggestion, the guide offers pragmatic resources, from lists of best products and links to reputable sources, to sample letters and contract language. Often, there are illustrative examples from other big businesses that have successfully implemented green policies.
The NRDC itself admits that the guide is not exhaustive, and we have to agree. While the suggestions for improvement will put a company on the right track to lessening its footprint at the headquarters, the solutions offered don't begin to address issues like how a consumer-packaged-goods company transports its products, designs its manufacturing systems or sources its labor. But as a manual for making-over your office, the NRDC's green enterprise guide offers an inspiring plan, conveyed sensibly and in manageable chunks, and we find that hard to argue with.
Uh, NRDC, not NDRC...