From Green to Black: Sustainability Projects Avoid the Budget Ax

Sarah Fister Gale

Executive Summary

Not so long ago, sustainability was heralded as the new fixture of "business as usual;" however, after an economic meltdown, investing in green projects wasn't worth the risk. This article discusses how companies that pursue sustainability projects are gaining a true edge over their rivals. In doing so, it identifies four areas that experienced a drop in interest in sustainability projects. It reports the results of a 2012 survey conducted by the MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group, showing two-thirds of companies see sustainability as a competitive necessity in today's marketplace and revealing that just over 30 percent of respondents said sustainability is contributing to company profits. It defines "harvesters" and identifies five of their traits. The article notes that it's the ability to turn green into black on the bottom line that will keep projects moving even when budgets are tight. It suggests how companies should approach environmental issues noting that companies should identify places where environmental issues intersect with operational inefficiencies or innovation opportunities. It also highlights the benefits of an integrated approach. The article then overviews how an electronics manufacturer addresses key challenges that require sustainable solutions, and it lists the manufacturer'…

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