Lacking appropriate market signals, current business practices often harm both ecosystems and human communities.
Cordova fisherman R.J. Kopchak salvages wood from couches hauled to the landfill in his hometown on Alaska's Prince William Sound, and fashions it into new furniture.
A green business reduces costs for raw resources, wastes, and management of toxic compounds by enhancing Resource Efficiency, participating in better Materials Cycles, and using Waste as Resource. A green business runs on Renewable Energy and uses Green Procurement throughout its supply chain to identify products and services consistent with Reliable Prosperity.
A green business assumes Product as Service for its products, providing customers with ways to return a durable product at the end of its life for disassembly and remanufacture into a new generation of products.
A green business operates for Community Benefit. It provides tangible social benefits to its employees, customers, suppliers, vendors, and local community. It is a Local Assets, largely owned by, and therefore accountable to, a specific place. A green business reliably builds value over the Long-Term Profitability, rather than seeking unsustainable short-term results.
The business case for participating in reliable prosperity is strong. Many of the typical investments — for instance in energy-efficient lighting, native landscaping, or transportation reduction — offer a direct payback time of under three years. Other investments require the evaluation and internalization of social and environmental costs over a project's entire lifecycle. This internal use of True Cost Pricing allows green businesses to anticipate broader market shifts.
A green business is transparent in its activities, carefully reporting on its environmental and social performance. This can create better relationships with neighborhoods and local governments, speeding regulatory and permitting processes. Products and services that are sustainable — and that can be given credible Product Labeling to that effect — create differentiation in the marketplace, and in some cases capture a price premium. Enhanced employee morale from a values-based approach reduces turnover and improves productivity. Reduced environmental risks and liabilities decrease the cost of insurance and bank loans. Social and environmental commitments attract investment from the rapidly growing socially responsible investment sector.
Green businesses improve their ability to use resources efficiently, close their materials cycles, employ renewable energy, and practice green procurement. They build value over the long-term, emphasizing broader community benefit. They measure, report on, and base decisions on their triple bottom line.