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Table of Contents

Review of Books on Green Buildings - Part 2


Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value & Build Competitive Advantage

Table of contents

Chapter 1: Ecological Advantage: Issues and opportunities for business in an environmentally sensitive world


  1. “Green Wave” Sweeps the Business World.
  2. The Logic of Making Environmental Thinking a Core Part of Strategy.
  3. Some of the Mega Forces like Globalization that Gives the New Environmental Imperative Greater Prominence.
  4. Overview of the Book’s Research.
  5. Companies Chosen for the Book.


This chapter introduces the “Green Wave” that has swept the commercial world. It reasons that both the natural world and the global opinion force companies to go green. It then presents the logic for going green as a main part of one’s business strategy. This chapter also details the “mega forces,” such as globalization which highlights the need for environmental sustainability above all things. Lastly, this chapter gives an overview of how it conducted its own research about the companies it focused on throughout the book.

The authors foretold of the vast changes and the transitions in thinking that took place in the corporate world on environmental issues, and how corporate environmental strategies were being made to adapt to these. Admittedly, no company can deny the green effect or ignore it. Businesses around the world are applying environmental strategies to remain competitive. Smart companies can be regarded as those which incorporated environmental sustainability in their overall business strategies and are reaping its rewards.

Those companies which do not join the bandwagon will be losing their business advantage in the context of global competition. Even when these green companies have not found the perfect combination in implementing its environmental standards and policies, it is evident that the business world has started to realize the value of environmentalism in the commercial scheme of their interests.

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Chapter 2: Natural Drivers of the Green Wave: Environmental problems and how they shape markets


  1. Unilever and its Environmental Problem in the Mid 1990’s.
  2. Some Context: Protecting our Assets Base.
  3. Environmental Issues to Watch.
  4. Top 10 Environmental Issues.
  5. Business Consequences.


This chapter introduces the new natural and human pressures burdening the companies today. These forces require an environmental approach which is a key to attain business success. It is evident that it is not the governmental laws and policies which are taking the companies’ attention to environmental concerns. Companies have become more proactive and creative and resourceful in their approaches towards environmental sustainability and protection. They do this not only because they want to achieve their business goals but because they want to address the sustainability issue which they acknowledge as part of their responsibilities.

They now acknowledge the impact of their business activities to the environment. They also know that their environmental activities can enhance or degrade their image and their profitability. For instance, the operation of global brands like Coca Cola in India was illustrated to have made a negative impact on the company when its business operations in the country was accused of causing water pollution and scarcity. It led to the general protest of the community, causing serious damage to the Coca Cola’s credibility and profitability in terms of damage control and mitigation costs.

Hence, this chapter details and highlights the environmental concerns and problems that companies face. Such problems range from global warming to water shortages. Specifically, the top ten environmental problems are: climate change, energy, water, bio diversity and land use, chemicals, toxics and heavy metals, air pollution, waste management, ozone layer depletion, oceans and fisheries, and deforestation. Each environmental problem is tackled in terms of its summary, the possible effects it may cause, and an evaluation of the problem’s impact on the total business operations.

Chapter 3: Who's Behind the Green Wave? Stakeholders and the power they wield


  1. An Array of Environment Oriented “Players” on the Business Field
  2. Twenty Stakeholders in Five Categories
  3. Eco Advantage Playing Field:
  4. Investors and Risk Assessors
  5. Rule makers and Watchdogs
  6. Idea Generators and Opinion Leaders
  7. Business Partners and Competitors
  8. Consumers and Community
  9. How and Why the Environment has emerged as a Critical Strategic Issue for Companies of All Sizes.


This chapter assesses the growing group of environment oriented “players” on the field of business. There are twenty different categories of stakeholders from the historic government administrators to strong non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to increasingly environmentally focused financial institutions. Specifically, the eco advantage playing field is composed of the following: Investors and Risk Assessors; Rule makers and Watchdogs; Idea Generators and Opinion Leaders; Business Partners and Competitors; and Consumers and Community.

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The chapter highlights the questions these stakeholders are throwing to companies with regards to their environmental stewardships. Succinctly, this chapter details the context of how and why these companies have turned environmentalists as part of the general business strategy. It sets the stage for the review of the crucial elements of business environmental strategy. It also reflects the clandestine thoughts about how environment stewardship can make up as a formidable business advantage.

The authors pointed that the three critical factors for this new approach are: a) the impact of business activities on the environment; b) increasing costs such as the cost of energy that has doubled over the last five years; and c) enhanced value put by stakeholders (i.e. consumers and investors) on environmental protection.

Chapter 4. Managing the Downside: Green-to-Gold Plays to reduce cost and risk


  1. Strategy Framework
  2. The Eco Advantage Playbook
  3. Green to Gold Plays Reduce Cost and Risk:
  4. Green-to-Gold Play 1: Eco-Efficiency – Improve Resource Productivity.
  5. Green-to-Gold Play 2: Eco-Expense Reduction – Cut Environmental Costs and Regulatory Burden.
  6. Green-to-Gold Play 3: Value Chain Eco-Efficiency – Lower Costs Upstream and Downstream.
  7. Green-to-Gold Play 4: Eco-Risk Control – Manage Environmentally Driven Business Risk.


The environment has become an important competitive strategy. It differentiates companies from those which deploy the usual land, labour and other forms of production. Hence, a little environmental footprint can have a great impact. This chapter illustrates this through the cases of Ford Motor, Toyota, General Electric, DuPont, among other companies which pursued their green vision alongside market differentiation.

The following steps are the actions which companies must take to pursue their green strategies:

  1. Ecological Efficiency – companies must enhance their production of resources. They must have the same output with decreased inputs. To be able to do this exemplifies the classic win-win environmental strategy.
  2. Ecological Expense Reduction – companies must reduce their environmental fees and fees on regulations. This highlights the costs incurred by companies in controlling pollution and managing the environment. Such examples include waste disposal and pollution-control tools, management costs and penalties for environmental mismanagement issues.
  3. Value Chain Ecological Efficiency – companies need to reduce their value chain costs through the reduction in their environmental and financial costs as they distribute their products. Ecological efficiency is exemplified by IKEA that uses “flat packaging.” Through this, they save on their fuel costs y 15%.
  4. Ecological Risk Control – this consists of studying the whole value chain and how their company affects the entire environment.

Chapter 5. Building the Upside: Green-to-Gold Plays to drive revenues and create inherent value


  1. Green to Gold Plays for growth — of sales, of brand value and of stakeholders’ trust:
  2. Green-to-Gold Play 5: Ecological Design – Meet the Environmental Requirements of the Customers.
  3. Green-to-Gold Play 6: Ecological Sales and Marketing – Create Greater Product Position and Customer Loyalty on Green Element.
  4. Green-to-Gold Play 7: Ecological-Defined New, Market Opportunities – Endorse Enhanced Value and Make Product Breakthroughs.
  5. Green-to-Gold Play 8: Inherent Value – Install Corporate Reputation and Enhanced Brand.

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For the last forty years, environmental strategy has strut itself to the corporate world. It has established acceptance now as more and more companies realize its utmost importance and value. The next rules are the Green-to-Gold steps on sales growth, including the enhanced brand value and increased trusts of stakeholders:

  1. Green-to-Gold Play 5: Ecological Design – companies should meet the environmental needs of its customers. It is always a challenge to determine the customers’ needs with compliance to environmental standards. However, the environmental consciousness of customers is making it more innovative for companies to push on. The chapter advises companies to always take cues from their customers. They need to acknowledge the customers’ needs as well as be conscious about their company costs.
  2. Green-to-Gold Play 6: Eco-Sales and Marketing – companies should create brand image and retain customers based on environmental baselines. As customers become more environmental conscious, they look for products which have an environmental seal. This is a golden opportunity for companies to meet the increasing demands for green products.
  3. Green-to-Gold Play 7: Ecologically Defined New, Market Opportunities – companies should promote innovations in their value system. They must recreate their products or services. This is illustrated by how Toyota acknowledged the Green Wave and came up with an energy-efficient “hybrid” car called Prius.
  4. Green-to-Gold Play 8: Inherent Value – companies must found their reputation and improve their brand image. They must propose a real value proposition in their being green. It is not just about joining the bandwagon on greening.

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