GreenBiz has just come out with its seventh annual State of Green Business Report, which pulls no punches in terms of bad news. The raw numbers are nothing to shout about, some important metrics are flat or even declining. However, GreenBiz sees plenty of cause for optimism in several significant areas that are not quantified.
1. Collaboration becomes an accelerator
Inter-company collaboration, assisted by non-profit conservation groups and other stakeholders, is becoming a greater force for change. Just a few recent examples cited by GreenBiz are: roundtables for sustainable beef, responsible soy, sustainable palm oil, sustainable forests, and sustainable manufacturing.
To that we’d add campaigns like the Ceres BICEP initiative, which has united hundreds of diverse companies in a call for legislative action on climate change.
…a growing recognition among the public that “sustainability” isn’t just about preserving icebergs, rainforests and charismatic megafauna. It is also about public health, community well-being, food security, affordable housing and alleviating poverty.
2. Chemical transparency creates a window of opportunity
Unfortunately, this is a lesson that Freedom Industries (the company responsible for the West Virginia chemical spill) ignored, but according to GreenBiz the increased pressure on retailers by concerned consumers is one factor pushing “regulation by marketplace.” One result is a greater attentiveness to the kinds of products carried by retailers, and Walmart and Target are cited as standout examples of this trend.
This can also be a self-reinforcing loop when companies actively court sustainability-minded customers with other green initiatives, such as drop-off recycling locations and EV charging stations.
3. Water rises as a risk factor
Water scarcity issues are forcing companies to think more strategically about water consumption and conservation, leading to change and innovation. One example pointed out by GreenBiz is Israel, with so many startups that GreenBiz dubs the country a “kind of Silicon Valley for water.”
That’s in addition to leading global companies, particularly in the beverage industry where Pepsi and AB InBev are just two among many examples.
More trends for sustainable business
That’s just a taste of what Green Biz has to offer. Another trend that caught its eye is shadow pricing, which in this context refers to the estimated price of goods and services that nature provides to business.
The State of Green Business 2014