The world is looking for environmental leadership. A handful of building companies are showing how it’s done.
Each year we devote an issue to the supply side of the building equation - calling attention to companies that have reduced their environmental impacts in some way. In a few cases, they may even have made adjustments that are restorative - rehabilitiating wetlands, for example - or finding a way to recycle materials that are notoriously hard to reuse. Rubber roofing manufacturers, for example, have made great strides in chipping away at the mountain of used tires that dot the nation.
But a new global study of perceptions of environmental leadership finds that most institutions - from government on down - are seen as lukewarm leaders (at best) when it comes to sustainability. The Globescan/SustainAbility Survey found that national government is the institution least trusted (by sustainability experts) to do the right thing on environmental issues. Next come corporate leaders. At the other (more positive) end of the spectrum are social entrepreneurs, who seem to inspire a lot of confidence, at least among those "in the know."
Before we write off corporations, however, it's important to note that some companies are years ahead of the green curve. In fact, if you look at what experts said about Patagonia, one of the world's best known and respected eco-friendly companies, you can see that committing to sustainability early is key to their brand position. Buyers perceive them as a company that truly cares about the environment, that got into green before it was trendy, and "is a cause-driven business model: first planet and people, then profit."
That's some great information for building sector companies to ponder. Those who show a serious approach to environmental issues today will be rewarded in the long term by consumer loyalty and trust. At the same time, they'll be doing right by future generations.
But that's a message that a few major companies - many of them featured in this issue - have already embraced. They stand out from the crowd as "Eco-Leaders" and deserve the support of the marketplace: We know many of the leaders in these companies personally. They're working hard on the inside to move their practices toward sustainability.
Posted: 8/15/2013 10:30:48 AM by
Mary Kestner | with 0 comments