How Does 'Going Green' Affect Your Company, and is it Worth It?
By David Goldsmith
Wednesday, 23rd September 2009
When you purchase a green car, is the car really green?  Or is it just the engine?  When I see a green car, I see a work in progress. Tires still use rubber and oil, and cast iron and metals come from metal fabrication. 

Fabrics and leathers, some which require formaldehyde and other chemicals in their production, are used. So green may not really be green.  The perception is green, or at least GREENER.

Take the GE locomotive.  Was GE trying to produce more efficient, lighter and more powerful products before the push for green?  You bet.  So then pushing harder is just a marketing tactic to suggest that Ecomagination is driving green.

I admit that the green movement has prompted more individuals to try harder to live, work, and produce in more ecologically-friendly ways.  Awareness over the past few years has driven consumers to buy products from firms that have been working on creating sustainable products.   And now you see how firms capitalize on the trend; when firms start moving to green, they promote and promote and promote themselves as going green.

Let's say a wood manufacturer in the US switches from oil stains to water-base stains.  The firm's products are greener and can be promoted as more eco friendly than competitors' products in the US, even though in Europe, using water-base stains is more common. (Apparently water-base stains are not typically as brilliant as oil.)

Attracting market share based on ecological awareness only works if green is "in," and we've seen that with hybrid cars.  Toyota says it took several years to sell 500,000 hybrid cars, yet once the green wave struck, it only took 2 years to sell the next 500,000.  However, with economic challenges, Priuses are no longer in high demand; they are sitting on lots across the US only because a typical hybrid takes 3.5 years to make a return on the additional costs.  When gasoline in the US averaged less than $2.00 per gallon, the payback was even longer.  Toyota can smile again as gasoline prices rise.

So green might have a little more of a challenge to overcome if the product or service is pricier.

What this means is, go green, but don't expect your buyers in a challanged economy to make the green choice as readily in the past.  If you were to spend $100,000 going green, take 50% and change to green, and use the rest to increase productivity and reduce utility and labor costs.  You might say that going green would then be a double benefit that will not only be green, but even more sustainable since the cost of going green comes in different forms.

The Strategic Alchemist, David Goldsmith, is a consultant, speaker, author, and professor who is known worldwide for improving decision makers' individual and corporate performance. Mr. Goldsmith has provided results for Fortune 200 CEOs, was recognized as NYU's Outstanding Professor the Year, was named one of Successful Meetings Magazine's 26 Hottest Speakers, and was awarded CNY's Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

To learn how you can improve your performance using these award-winning proven strategies and tactics, check out www.davidgoldsmith.com, email david@davidgoldsmith.com or call (315) 682-3157
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