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Table of Contents

Review of Books on Green Buildings – Part 6


Summaries and Opinions on the Five Books

Table of contents


The corporate world has acknowledged their remarkable impact into the environment. They see themselves now as more of the savior for the present environmental problems which they have caused as well. They have a potent force because business is one of the most powerful instruments for creating products and services and supporting the community.

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Companies have also realized that it is not necessarily costly to care for the environment and protect the earth’s natural resources. They can have a win-win situation because they can innovate products and services in such a way that they can harvest both financial success and environmental stewardship. They can handle the challenges of turning green by having the right mindset, culture and the proper tools and instruments. The companies’ ecological advantage is a new way to approach business. Stakeholders also value the goodness of their companies, not just their profitability and their innovations. They are now turning their heads to becoming green. Green business is setting the trend for a new corporate context.

Green business means sustainable business that caters to the needs of the stakeholders – customers, stockholders, financiers, among others – without making a detrimental impact to the environment. Green business is the new way to produce products and develop breakthroughs with the help of technologies. It is also a business model that shows responsibility of the organization to balance corporate stability with that of social and environmental sustainability.

The five books we have discussed in the previous pages all attest to the success of the environment and the business. These books are the following: Harvard Business Review on Green Business Strategy, Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage, The Green Building Bottom Line: The Real Cost of Sustainable Building, Green Business: A Five-part Model for Creating an Environmentally Responsible Company, and Marketing green buildings: guide for engineering, construction and architecture. They show that in the long run, financial success and sustainability can be both achieved by the companies which commit themselves to greening. They also illustrate how the environmental practices and new trends have contributed to their enhanced value and redeveloped value chain. They have promoted the sustainable operations of business and the applications of green principles, policies and practices. They have also shown how companies can improvise on environmentally friendly products and services. These developments have shaped how the political and social environment perceive and embrace the green concepts and have contributed in their own ways towards adopting more changes towards environmentalism.

The benefits of green business have been exemplified by various global companies such as IBM, Toyota, Melaver, Inc., Body Shop, among others. The green business trend made a very powerful impact on the way business design and innovate products and services. It also made various changes in the way products are packaged, marketed and sold. Generally, green business paved the way for renewed marketing and business strategies. It is founded on the principle of environmental stewardship and the care of the community. Companies adopt green principles, policies and practices to optimize their performance, both financial and socio-ecological.

Summary of Marketing Green Buildings

The green building markets have flourished over the last few years. Jerry Yudelson, in this breakthrough book, leads architects, engineers, and contractors who are diving into the green building market. The book provides a firm grounding in marketing strategies and tactics applied in the growing demand for green buildings. The book is an effective tool for green building professional, advocates and enthusiasts. It encourages green design, sustainable strategies and new products to prospective clients of green building clients. The book also presents a good description of the best strategies and approaches to market and sell green building-related services such as consultancy services. It also provides updated information on the significance of the LEED (or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) in green building projects.

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The book introduces green buildings. It also features the unique requirements in marketing green buildings. It helps transform the building industry to a more energy efficient and environmental friendly industry with its new designs. The book reviews the developments in the green marketing of buildings since LEED was introduced in April 2000. The author interprets the value of green buildings in terms of personal ownership, operation costs and cost saving i.e. energy savings. The growth of commercial and institutional green buildings is increasing. They are embracing the LEED qualifications and standards. Yudelson explains that the basic approaches to determine the demand for green buildings are: segmentation, customer or client motivations and unmet needs. Firms must think of how to integrate specific elements of the new generation of sustainable design into their new projects. LEED are applied not only in the design of the buildings but also in the interiors as well as the finishing touches.

Summary of Harvard Business Review on Green Business Strategy

Green Business strategy is the compilation of various articles by distinguished leaders in green buildings and environmental advocacy. It depicts the commercial landscape and how greening fits in as a core business strategy in today’s most innovative businesses. Industry leaders and corporate managers explain how their companies turned green and reaped its financial and social rewards aside from the image boost it has given them.

Hence, the book essayed the emergence of green building strategy through the companies that have embraced greening in their corporate spheres. It shows the impact of their green trust to their bottom lines. Basically, most companies turn to greening because they want to be compliant with the stringent government and non-government requirements. Others also turn green in order to balance their image and enhance their brands. A significant number of companies commit themselves to environmental stewardship because they inherently relate it with reduction in their water and energy consumption, profitability and competitive strategy. Some others relate it with their corporate social responsibility. However, the book’s utmost message for companies is that they must turn green in order to be more competitive and profitable.

The book also erases the notion that going green entails additional costs. Instead, it promotes the notion that going green means more profitability and competitive edge. Environmental protection is also good for a company’s margin and this is now imperative. Hence, the book internalize why companies must go green. It is an urgent call to managers and professionals. The book provide succinct information on how a company can turn to green initiatives, starting from its mission vision, reinstatement of environmental commitment, training of employees, assessment of its value chain, among others.

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

This book is a practical guide for companies that envisions itself as an environmental friendly company. It illustrates how big corporation such as Wal-Mart, GE and Chiquita evolved from their environmental aloofness to their environmental leadership. The book provides resources, tools, and advises for companies to be motivated to turn green. It gives a road map that is useful for companies to be able to embrace greenness alongside profitability and further growth and stability.

Initially, the book introduces the “Green Wave” that has swept the commercial world. It gives the logic for going green. It then presents the logic for going green as a main part of one’s business strategy. The book also defines the eco advantage playing field as 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. Then, it presents the steps or actions which companies must take to pursue their green strategies. It also presents strategies to drive revenues and create intangible value. The book introduces the unique concept of an Ecological Advantage Thinking which is a strong motivator and the foundation of the environmental perspective that supports the companies’ drive against the challenges of being green. The book terms innovative companies which turned to greening as WaveRiders. These companies founded their own Ecological advantage by reorienting how their organizations view the environment and its related issues. They consider the environment in their strategies. They use an environmental perspective to influence their new ways of strategizing their operations with their new environmental standards. The book also gives the eco tracking tools and instruments to help companies define their environmental objectives and assess their progress towards sustainable production.

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A company’s ecological advantage path and agenda include short term, medium term and long term agenda. The first one is a systematic analysis while the second one consists of tracking performance and building an ecological advantage culture. The last one consists of driving environmental thinking deep into the business strategy. This is exemplified by Toyota which made an energy efficient product, Prius. They studied their markets well so as not to mistake it. They produced the eco-friendly car that is well intended for their customers. The integration of market expansion with environmental promotion serves as the key. The essential features of the products should be carefully combined with the environmental pitch about it. The book implies that companies must think and rethink solutions. Their 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.

One of the most important parts of the book is the redesigning of products, processes, and even whole value chains. This is the entry point towards achieving true environmental gains, reducing waste and increasing resource productivity. The authors stressed that 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.

Summary of Green Business: A Five Part Model for Creating an Environmentally Responsible Company

This book provides a standardized way to approach the greening of a company. It suggests that greening can be followed as simply as any company could. It sets out a five-part model which can be used by companies to integrate green thinking and green activities into each and every part of their business. It also provides the five main reasons why companies are turning to green initiatives.

The book enumerates the five reasons why companies are greening. These are as follows: 1.) Environmental impacts & values; 2.) Government regulation; 3.) Economic opportunities/disincentives; 4.) Organizational crises; 5.) Stakeholder pressure. There are several ways to apply strategies to make your company green and competitive. This includes the following: Energy efficiency; Green product design; Waste management; Water management; Emissions measurement, reduction, and trading, among others. These strategies are very useful for companies to reduce their energy consumption and waste disposal, etc. Other strategies are: use of alternative transportation, supply chain accountability/ethical sourcing, biodiversity and land conservation, consumer messaging/labelling, employee engagement, public policy leadership, green building, safer alternatives to toxics, green manufacturing, product stewardship, sustainable packaging and shipping/logistics, sustainable/green investing, recycling and resource conservation, sustainability reporting, and workplace transformation.

The book depicts the success stories of the green companies as well as those which failed in their green ventures. The book also cites various cases which portray the various benefits of environmentally friendly business practices like better corporate environmental performance, enhanced bottom line, employee retention, customer retention, and overall profitability. Seventeen cases were cited in order to explain the "green advantages” which were experienced by companies such as Patagonia, Interface, Inc., Mitsubishi Corporation, IBM, etc.

This book proposes that the prospects for green business may be in the area of “business ecology.” Thus, the green initiatives of companies must be approached holistically and systematically. Interface, Inc. Encouraged its company to apply green practices and shifted its goal towards sustainability. By doing so, it elevated itself to FORTUNE’s Top 100 Companies to Work for in America. The environmental commitment of Patagonia enabled it to retain its loyal employees and customers. Similarly, IBM saved $17.8 million in one year by motivating its employees to save on energy consumption. Such green moves inspired other companies to also try to be environmentally friendly and reap corporate rewards.

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