Green is the New Black - Even in IT
Since January, Lois Paul and Partners has been co-chairing the Austin Clean Energy Council, an organization founded in 2005 consisting of clean technology companies, universities, etc. that are based in Austin, Texas.
I think it's fair to say that most people have been blindsided by how fast climate change has hit mainstream thinking. I was sitting next to one of the members on the council a few weeks ago, and he explained to everyone that the company he works for - CB Richard Ellis Group (NYSE:CBG) (an S&P company and the largest real estate firm in the world) announced this summer that it will make all of its existing and new buildings carbon neutral by 2010. Afterwards, in passing, he said that if someone would have told him a year ago that this was going to happen to his company, he never would have believed them. He would have thought they were crazy....
Though, from a communications standpoint, we're seeing companies of all types and sizes leaping at the opportunity to address their "greenness," especially in IT. You can look at this situation in two ways: 1) the company really does have something to offer its customer-base to help them address this issue, and 2) The company clearly sees the hype machine and hopes to ride the wave, even if the offering doesn't have substance.
We all know which option we want to see. But I think the larger question is - as businesses explore ways to operate more efficently from an environmental standpoint (fortunately, Wall Street is now starting to demand it, and federal regulations loom in the distance), what is the individual doing on a daily basis at home and at work to change their behavior for the better? I know most of my habits still need serious work in this area.
I met with a person yesterday that runs a company called Green Habits, which works with companies to implement company-wide environmental policies. Her take was this - the companies that institute these changes early on will have the competitive edge quickly as more and more companies change their policies - then look for partners and suppliers with similar values. We shall, but she does make an interesting point, regardless of industry.