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Table of Contents

Review of Books on Green Buildings - Part 3


Chapter 6. The Ecological Advantage Thinking: Looking through an environmental contexts


  1. Look at the Forest, Not the Trees.
  2. Start at the Top.
  3. Adopt the Apollo 13 Principles – “No” is Not an Option.
  4. Recognize that Feelings are Facts.
  5. Do the Right Thing.

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The Ecological advantage thinking is a strong motivator and the foundation of the environmental perspective which helps companies confront the green challenges. However, this is just the preliminary stage. Companies need instruments to know where they are. They need a toolkit that helps them know their current status with regards to greening their company.

The authors called these companies which ride the green wave as the WaveRiders. These companies founded their own ecological advantage by reorienting how their organizations view the environment and its related issues. They considered the environment in their strategies. They used an environmental perspective to influence their new ways of strategizing their operations with their new environmental standards. As ingrained, their ecological advantage thinking naturally came at each business opportunity.

Hence, to actualize this mind set, the authors suggest that companies must look at the wider picture especially when they make green strategies and invest their resources to greening. They must see the optimum range of prospective rewards from their green investments and the enhanced value it brings to their companies. Their commitment to greening must be from top management down. They are engaged with greening and they take no for an answer. Thus, they will find ways to integrate greening with their operations. They will also look after their community status and continue to do the right about the environment.

Chapter 7: Ecological Tracking: Understanding your company's environmental “footprint”


  1. The ecological advantage thinking as a potent motivation and the central force of the environmental setting.
  2. Ecological tracking helps to answer basic and extraordinary queries:
  3. What comprises the company’s large impact on the environment?
  4. What are the times and the locations of these environmental impacts?
  5. What other companies think of their environmental performance?
  6. Ecological tracking tools to develop an environmental self-portrait and help them manage for

Ecological advantage. These are:

  1. Tracing your environmental footprint.
  2. Capturing data and create metrics.
  3. Setting up environmental-management systems.
  4. Partnering for advantage.


Ecological tracking helps corporations define their environmental objectives and assess their progress towards sustainable production. This chapter discusses the how’s of eco tracking. It presents the present indicators that help corporations track and benchmark their environmental performance. There is no single, perfect group of indicators which subsume all the determinants of environmental performance which address the production problems and processes for the companies. Hence, they need to be integrated according to the goals and the need of the organization. Companies need to choose a set of indicators that aid them in gaining a better and a more complete grasp of the economic, environmental and social impacts of their business processes and operations, specifically their value chain and product life cycle.

Ecological tracking helps companies who want to go green answer basic and yet unique questions such as the following:

  1. What comprises the company’s large impact on the environment?
  2. What are the times and the locations of these environmental impacts?
  3. What other companies think of their environmental performance?

Chapter 8: Redesigning Your World: Designing for the environment and “greening” the supply chain


  1. Companies acknowledge that eco designing their buildings save money on energy, improve the productivity of workers and create physical evidences to their environmental commitments.
  2. The green design movement covers both casual and highly structured efforts in considering environmental issues during the designing process.
  3. How to redesign products, processes and the whole value chain.
  4. Design for the Environment (DfE).
  5. Closed-Loop Systems.
  6. Scrutinizing supply chain as the social aspect of eco designing.


This is one of the most important chapters of the book, redesigning products, processes, and even whole value chains. This is the entry point towards achieving true environmental gains, reducing waste and increasing resource productivity. This is the way that companies will make fundamental changes that will affect their clients, services/products and suppliers. Design is crucial since so much of a product’s environmental impact is strongly established in the design stage.

Designing for environment has been a catch phrase in going green. Basically, it covers both the basic and the highly structured efforts in incorporating environmental issues i.e. product energy use in the design stage. It also includes the tools and the metrics which drive organizational behavior across the organization. Generally, it covers the whole value chain impact of the product, from supplier components to customer utility and disposal.

Ecological designing of interior spaces and whole buildings is also an integral part of redesigning the company. It is very useful because it reduces costs; improve workers’ productivity and attests to the companies’ environmental commitment. LEED is the most common method of gauging the greenness of a building. This is a rating system which certifies how green a building is. The supply chain is also redesigned to install quality but also to apply social and environmental standards.

Chapter 9: Inspiring an Ecological Advantage Culture: Creating an organizational focus on environmental stewardship


  1. Culture in the scheme of environmental commitment.
  2. Four basic culture building tools:
  3. A vision, reinforced by stretch goals
  4. Practices that fold environmental thinking into every strategic decision
  1. Incentives for engagement with and accountability for the environmental agenda
  2. Communications aimed at both internal and external audiences.

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Culture must be inherent and it must be made by conscious effort and incentives to influence people’s attitudes about the environment. This chapter considers creating a corporate culture that promotes environmental consciousness as a “flywheel project.” They must use the right tools and execute the Green-to-Gold processes to strengthen the ecological thinking of the company.

WaveRiders use four basic culture-building tools:

  1. WaveRiders assess their organizational capacities in plunging into becoming green. Then, they set realistic goals to base their ecological advantage.
  2. They incorporate their environmental thinking into each and every corporate strategy they implement. They include lower risk, brand building and reputation protection into their green investments.
  3. They set incentives and accountability for their green initiatives and engagement.
  4. They present a very good communications to their internal and external audiences. They use scientific indicators such as air emissions, energy consumption, hazardous waste disposal, water pollution, notices of legal violations, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Chapter 10. Why Environmental Initiatives Fail: Pitfalls to Avoid on the Way to Ecological Advantage


The 13 common reasons environmental pitfalls are:

  1. Seeing the Trees but Not the Forest.
  2. Misunderstanding the Market.
  3. Expecting a Price Premium.
  4. Misunderstanding Customers.
  5. Middle-Management Squeeze.
  6. Silo Thinking.
  7. Eco-Isolation.
  8. Claims Outpacing Actions
  9. Surprises: Wasp Stings and Unintended Consequences.
  10. Perfect Is the Enemy of Good.
  11. Inertia.
  12. Ignoring Stakeholders.
  13. Failing to Tell the Story.


This chapter details the common environmental pitfalls when companies launch their green initiatives. This is to illustrate what other companies must not do or how they can avoid these classic mistakes. Companies must look at the larger picture and set out a broader environmental agenda than just making their products green. This is exemplified by Toyota when it made their energy efficient product, Prius. Thus, companies must study their markets well so as not to mistake it. They must not produce eco products that are not well intended for their customers. The integration of market expansion with environmental promotion should be the key. The essential features of the products should be carefully combined with the environmental pitch about it.

For instance, Toyota Prius is said to be powerful and technologically advanced. An added feature is its environmental friendliness. Companies must think and rethink solutions. The greater goal is breaking down the barriers between environmental and business strategy. Integrity is also an important ingredient in being green. Companies must find the baseline economic success in the long run for it to be environmentally stable. They must map out their stakeholders very carefully. Also, companies need to publicly declare their environmental agenda and actions. They must tell their story.

Chapter 11. Taking Action: Execution for sustained competitive advantage


  1. Putting It All Together
  2. Perfect is the Enemy of Good
  3. Solution: Prepare for and Accept Trade Offs
  4. Inertia
  5. Company’s own Eco-Advantage path and agenda:
  6. Short term – systematic analysis.
  7. Medium term - tracking performance and building an Eco-Advantage culture.
  8. Long term – driving environmental thinking deep into the business strategy. Summary:

Companies that apply eco-efficient initiatives could save on energy costs while sustaining the environment. Several stakeholders, including the internal employees, financial markets and customers, are greatly demanding that business should be more environmentally conscious. Financial institutions are also starting to require that corporate performance must be considerate and compliant with environment standards and that their strategies should be able to manage environmental impact. Hence, companies are promoting innovations in being green or more environmental consciousness as they serve their markets in order to attract more customers.

To set their eco advantage agenda, companies employ the following:

  1. Short term goal – companies initialize their status and launch pilot projects. The focus here is systematic analysis. They clarify the environmental agenda and the actors behind it. They also determine the gaps they have when it comes to being green.
  2. Medium term – companies track performance and build an Eco-Advantage culture. They spot emerging businesses by looping into the public sphere s and how the environmental agenda might link up with their business offerings and services.
  3. Long term - companies install environmental thinking deeply into their corporate strategies. Their long-term actions focus on making environment a fundamental element of their business strategies. To do this, companies must employ the Eco-Advantage tools and exercises detailed in the previous chapters. This includes evaluating their entire supply chain, recreating their products and re-assessing markets and their stakeholders’ trusts and influences.

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Chapter 12. Eco-Advantage Strategy: Key Ecological Advantage plays, tools, and plans


  1. Ecological advantage has twin logic.
  2. External pressures on companies about their environmental risk and liability.
  3. Strong values component to the case for corporate environmental care.


Ecological advantage is considered as a core strategy because of two reasons: first is because its strategic outcomes are based on scientific and evidenced data. Second, it is because the case for being green is getting stronger and it is sweeping the industries all over the world. Likewise, there is also a strong case for corporate environmentalism. WaveRiders or those companies that made profits by refining its business strategies with the integration of environmental care into their production exemplify this.

The companies were made to realize that even when their bottom line is important, they also need to be environmental stewards. They install long-term values and goals in order for them not to be distracted by the short-term imbalance between profits and their green investments. Hence, this move benefits their workers, the communities and the whole earth. These companies exemplified that going green is not about getting money.

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