Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why Sustainability?

Unfortunately, I think sustainability is starting to get a bad rap.  First, there are political overtones which people just can't seem to get over.  However, what is more troublesome is the "greenwashing" which is going on.  Many companies are now using it as a "marketing tool" and do not really believe in the idea of sustainability.  As if to show how prevalent this is in the industry, Greenpeace actually has a web site dedicated to stopping greenwashing.  The title is "Clean up your Act not your image".

I personally believe doing "good things" for the earth can be done while also being responsible to stake holders for a company.  You have to just believe that statement or you will go down the rat hole of "pay back" periods, EVA and the other tools accountants dream up to "engineer" their finances.  At the end of the day we either take sustainability seriously or we will have it imposed on us. What good is it to have an energy efficient product for example with "sustainable packaging" if the product arrived at the store on a truck spewing fumes into the air, idling and wasting fuel and using imported fuel?  Makes no sense to me.

John Pattullo, CEO of CEVA Logistics said in 2010, "In today's economy, many customers are unwilling to pay a premium for green transport [however] the logistics industry must support change towards sustainable services."  I could not agree with him more.  Sooner or later we have to make the change and I hope it is sooner. 

So, I implore all those in the logistics field:  Do not take such a serious topic as sustainability and turn it over to the marketeers.  Your customers and, most important, the public will see it for what it is, and ultimately, you will tarnish your brand.

1 comment:

  1. The companies who disregard sustainability or only use it as a marketing tool will surely be the first ones to go under (at least we can hope). Sustainability and CSR shouldn't just be considered a marketing tool, but it should be way to improve and save the world. Most of the materials used by companies and corporations are not renewable and will eventually run out. If companies/corporations don't start thinking and practicing true sustainability and CSR they will be ruining it for all of us. Using a recent example, Apple, who has always preached their CSR and labor and human rights, has finally admitted they have issues with all of the above with their suppliers which they can't seem to control. If they don't pull it together soon, they will definitely start to tarnish the brand in the eyes of those who care.