Sustainability, renewable energy, “green” practices – these terms have become more and more a part of modern terminology. All relate to the concept of drawing on fewer resources than can readily be generated by nature. This is sustainable living through practice.
In business, sustainability makes sense for a vast number of reasons. By going “green”, energy independence can be obtained. Fewer resources can be spent on many needs that other businesses must continually pay for – electricity, water, temperature control, petroleum products, production materials, and so on. Money can be saved, and on top of it, positive press for planetary consciousness can lead to more business. The reasons for switching over are countless.
Even though sustainability seems a no-brainer, it has not entirely caught on as rapidly as could be expected. Short term gain and refusal to change old ways have been the unfortunate but true forces at work behind the slow overall change-over to sustainability. There is often some short term investment needed in order to make changes. A closer look though certainly turns up some examples of some very well known business entrepreneurs who have truly begun adapting sustainability to their business models.
Charles Phillips, CEO Oracle (former) and Infor are one example of sustainability through policy. In response to findings by the U.S. Department of Energy regarding business energy consumption in America, Infor enacted its EAM Asset Sustainability Edition Program. With this program, classic loss prevention policies take over energy expenditure monitoring. Not only is this applied within the company, but it is also applied to clients and helping them limit unsustainable energy practices. This has earned Infor partnership with Energy Star.
Larry Ellison, CEO Oracle, has the company delving deeper into “green” practices and sustainability. The Oracle sustainability stir began approximately around 2008 with rumors flying over the upcoming formation of special company committees on sustainability. These committees were formed and have led to present practice. Today, similar to Infor, Oracle has instituted energy programs that affect its customers and itself internally in the name of sustainability.
The giant, Microsoft, and Bill Gates have come to incorporate many “green” practices into their business model for quite some time now as well. Microsoft has been labeled green because these many practices including Green IT Provision, Cloud Computing Solutions, Travel Reduction and Carbon Reduction programs, Green Manufacturing, Energy management Programs, and many more.
Offshoot foundations of Bill Gates and Microsoft, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also operate with planetary consciousness in mind. Today Bill Gates continues a personal crusade of environmental activism through tours, speeches, and investments. Projects include water saving toilets, eating for global sustainability, subject-relevant climate issues, deforestation, and many more.
These efforts on behalf of some very real, big business players are very encouraging. Often, societal changes such as this kind require a “trickle-down” effect from the top, such as seen in these brief examples. Despite the overall slow shift to sustainability globally, there are some bright stars leading the way in the U.S. Stay tuned for more change to come.