• WisBusiness

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Book review: “The Green Business Guide”


By Terri Schlichenmeyer
by Glenn Bachman c.2009, Career Press $15.99 / $18.95 Canada 287 pages
One night last week, you saw something you’d never noticed before.

You happened to stay after work for an hour for some catch-up and the office cleaning crew came in before you left. You watched, dumbfounded, as they hauled away bag after bag after bag of trash. Paper, discarded cups, empty soda cans, empty printer cartridges, all to the Dumpster.

You’ve been doing all you can at home to be greener. So why can’t you do the same at work? You can and it won’t be easy, but with “The Green Business Guide” by Glenn Bachman, corporate greening is more do-able than ever.

Bachman says there are three trends that affect going green in your business: a global economy defined by “relatively free exchange of goods”, a change in the health of the planet, and a growing world-wide population. Within the next 20 years, it’s projected that there will be 8 billion people on Earth.

One of them – you – could make a difference.

Becoming a green enterprise will take planning, without a doubt. Bachman points out that not every business will need to implement everything in this book. Depending on the size of your corporation, not everything he mentions is practical to do.

To get started, embrace an ecodesign, both in the product you put out and the products you use. Ecodesign is “a meld of art and science that creates ecologically benign and economically viable products and services”, which pretty much sums up what you’re about to do.

Designate a person within your corporation whose responsibility is to make sure your materials procurement strategy is ecologically sound. When shipping your product, know what kind of packing you need and don’t overuse. If you’re thinking about building, be sure your contractor is in agreement about Earth-friendly materials.

Inside your building, make use of settings to avoid running appliances when they’re not needed. Take a hard look at your automotive fleet and the transportation needs of your staff, including all business trips of all lengths. Consider telecommuting. Make a goal of becoming a certified green enterprise.

Looking for a light-hearted, fun way to go green at work? You won’t find it here. “The Green Business Guide” means business, in more ways than one.

There’s no “dumbing down” in this book, and nothing cutesy. Author Glenn Bachman uses technical terms and (gasp!) advanced math-based concepts to help you find the best and most efficient ways to make your corporation greener.

Some of the ideas are new but common-sense (let shareholders know what’s in it for them), some seem to be grumpy (if someone sends you a document, single-sided, call and request that they not do it again), and some feel nit-picky (use only narrow-ruled notebooks). Still, there’s nothing saying you can’t pick and choose your ideas to do what feels right for your business.

If you’re a greenthusiast, a greenback, or a sprout just starting out in business, pick up a copy of “The Green Business Guide”. With the help of this book, you can make a noticeable difference.

-- Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was three years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.

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