J500 Media and the Environment

Business-Jolly Green Giants by jenjenku
October 29, 2008, 6:03 pm
Filed under: Business + Politics, Energy + Climate | Tags: , , ,

Balance! Isn’t that what we always here? Live a more balanced life. Eat a more balanced diet. Learn to balance your workload and school work. Well, when it comes to business and the going green approach, balance continues to be king.

Rebecca, Stacey and my field work has been shaped around businesses. It’s been interesting to learn the viewpoints of companies from small business to large and to non-for-profits. Through our outreach to various companies in the Kansas City area, we’ve certainly identified key trends. Now we don’t want to give away all the secrets so I’ll share just one. One of the key trends that stood out in my field work stems from conversations with Burns and McDonnell. Roger Dick, Burns & McDonnell’s spokesperson for Green Initiatives says “businesses can foster a culture that achieves a cleaner environment without undue economic hardship, if we take a balanced approach”. Sure this balancing act may not stand out from the crowd, but they really have no interest in taking a radical potion on something this important. Important? Yes, businesses see going green, sustainability and protecting the environment in which each of us individually and collectively are a part of, as IMPORTANT.

See what NBC says about Burns & McDonnell’s sustainability initiatives”.

How can we take the messages from this proven successful Burns & McDonnell balancing act and re-skin it to be actionably attractive to other companies? Well, if we give you the answer now it would spoil all the fun wouldn’t it? Tune back in on Saturday, Nov 7thJ!

Jennifer W.



4 Comments so far
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I was glad to see that Burns and Mc had a green side! My dad used to work for them and I’ve always liked their company, but now more so! So, without prying too much into your Saturday presentation secrets, have you seen any difference in “greening” between large and small firms? Do you think big firms have more labor and capital to invest in new parts of their balancing act or do small firms have an advantage in having less bureaucracy and grassroots energy? Don’t spoil any surprises now, but I was curious on your thoughts. 🙂

Comment by susang09

Great question! I will aim to keep it short and sweet in order to deter from giving away any surprises. In addition to talking with Burns & McDonnell I also talked with the Hyatt Crown Center who recently implemented a quite impressive “green plan” within their organization. A key trend I found among big and small businesses is that the leadership and vision have to come from the top. Isn’t this true for everything? Look at businesses that are big into charity. Most likely the CEO is a big supporter of volunteerism and he encourages his employees to volunteer. Secondly, money is always a major challenge. The initial investment would typically be easier for a larger company than a smaller company and there always needs to be an incentive or payback to motivate the masses to participate. Roger Dick with Burns & McDonnell says that “he believes more businesses, large or small, will realize there is a good business case for adopting sustainable practices once they see tangible evidence of the success of companies that are taking the leap”.
Jennifer W.

Comment by jenjenku

In my experience, it is nearly impossible to move these initiatives forward without buy-in from those in leadership positions. The key is to be strategic about the influencers. You may need the CEO, but you may need the head of operations even more in order to actually implement initiatives. It is important to identify the true change agents within the organization.

Comment by j500

I absolutely agree. Through my field work this has continuously proven to be the key trend. The blessing must “come from the top down”. Similarly, I had a conversation with my CEO this morning about leadership, vision and buy-in from the top as the key necessity. You also mention identifying the true change agents. In addition to change agents, I’ve found that by identifying the gate keepers and road blockers it surely helps to speed up the process.

Thanks for the thoughts.

Jennifer W.

Comment by jenjenku

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