Apr 212010

In the previous post of this series on the book Green to Gold, I explained how to manage stakeholders in your environmental initiatives in Canada. In this installment, I will talk about how to manage the potential downside and build the upside.

Your business in Canada may be considering environmental, climate change, and sustainability initiatives. These may include lowering your greenhouse gas emissions, purchasing carbon offsets, lowering your in-house carbon footprint or the footprints of your supply chain as related to your business.

Just like any business initiative, environmental initiatives have their potential upside and downside. The key to success is to manage them carefully. So what are the potential downsides and upsides when it comes to environmental initiatives? What should you focus on?

Build the upside by increasing revenues and building intangible values. Focus on these two points.

Use an environmental focus to add value to your products, reach out to green consumers, and create new market space. There are six lessions to keep in mind:

  • meet customer needs that actually exist
  • don’t ignore the customer’s nonenvironmental needs
  • control costs
  • remember that green attributes rarely can stand alone: the environmental story is only the second or third ‘button’
  • market to different niches differently
  • don’t expect a price premium

Manage the downside by minimizing costs and controlling risks. These are two potential downsides to focus on.

Minimize costs by:

  • eliminating waste and promoting eco-efficiency
  • cutting disposal costs and regulatory compliance expenses
  • capturing the value of reduced environmental burdens by and down the value chain

Control environmental risk by:

  • anticipating environmental issues and addressing them
  • staying ahead of new regulatory requirements
  • managing government mandates to gain a relative advantage in the marketplace

Focusing on managing these potential downsides and building the upsides should go a long way towards successful implementation of your climate change initiatives.

This is only a high level overview. You can find more useful details in the two chapters ‘Managing The Downside’ and ‘Building The Upside’ in the book (available from Amazon.ca). If you have experiences to share, please leave a comment below.

In the next and final post of the series, I will talk about thirteen pitfalls to avoid in your environmental initiatives.

Contact me if you would like to discuss how these ideas may be applied to your business.

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Derek Wong is a recognized expert at ShareGreen by Walmart, panel judge for Earth Day Canada, keynote speaker at Skills for the Green Economy, and guest speaker at University of Toronto. His innovative approach to employee engagement has led to case studies. Reach him by email or LinkedIn.

  One Response to “Green To Gold, Part 4: Manage Downside, Build Upside”

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