As we all know, there are hundreds – if not thousands – of environmental standards out there. Every environmental group has its own idea of what is good for the environment. And every group wants its own standards to be adopted by as many companies as possible.
If a company does not act now, the great danger is that some one may end up defining a set of standards for the company. Your competitors may define it for you.
There is an excellent article in the November 2010 issue of Harvard Business Review on this topic. It is entitled “Winning in the Green Frenzy”. In this article, the author talks about 4 basic approaches a company can take to survive in these uncharted water and uncertain climate.
A company can adopt existing standards if it finds that those standards are compatible with its own corporate culture and philosophy. It can also co-op an emerging set of standards by working with the organization to influence the development of these standards. It is better to be part of the solution than having the solution ramped down its throat. Another approach is to define your own standards and make your competitors follow your standards. The fourth approach is to break away from existing standards and declare that yours is much better.
For example, if your gadget is very energy efficient and yet your industry does not seem to place a lot of emphasis on energy usage, you can break away from such standards and set new standards that emphasize energy usage. In that way, you are forcing your competitors to compete with you on your terms and against your strength.
Remember these four options: adopt, co-op, define and break away. How green do you want to be? It is up to you if you act sooner rather than later.
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