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How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage
Most start-ups face difficulties early on. Creating value in an overly-competitive market is not as simple as ABC.
Although building awareness is not child’s play, there is always something that you can do.
In this book summary, we try to put the essential ingredients together and focus on mixing it up.
Who Should Read “Green to Gold”? And Why?
To be honest, we had a hard time trying to put a label on this process. Anyway, the transition from Green to Gold is not a piece of cake.
Even if you possess the means, but lack the support, you can’t merely get to the top. Sometimes it’s hard for logic to prevail over emotion, and that’s why this book is best suited for sharp thinkers.
In other words, we recommend it to those who know the meaning of critical-thinking and understand how to apply it on a daily basis.
About Daniel C. Esty and Andrew S. Winston
Daniel C. Esty is an American lawyer, policymaker and a Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale University. He is also the author of several books.
Andrew S. Winston currently works as the Director of the Corporate Environmental Strategy Project.
“Green to Gold PDF Summary”
Companies are aware that going green is not accomplishable without hitting a few rocks down the road. In particular, the authors outline two kinds of pressure that most firms can’t withstand:
- From the world with various sorts of needs
- From the stakeholders who try to influence the organization
So, how to comply the company’s policies with the physical world? First and foremost, you have to understand the nature of decision-making. Without the physical presence of certain individuals and their freedom to leverage economic capabilities, you can’t make any difference.
Indeed, all businesses are strongly dependent on resources, which affect the performance of the company. Airline industry requires kerosene; freight forwarding companies need trucks and load, etc. Despite all these individual requirements, almost the entire economy succumbs to ten environmental factors that obstruct the operating activities:
- Climate change
- Toxic substances and chemicals
- Waste management
- Diversity in finding energy sources
- The availability of water
- Air pollution
- Ozone depletion, ocean health, and deforestation.
As a company owner, you have to be knowledgeable about the effects these factors produce, and how to resists them!
This list is backed by overwhelming evidence that shows clearly why many experts in the field choose to attach weight to the data. Even if you are not entirely sure in the accuracy of the information presented, you can still rely on the trust put up by these specialists.
By doing so, you’ll be one step ahead of any environmental issue that may befall on your company. In addition, strong feelings tend to be a potent asset in pushing the stakeholders to draw conclusions to catch the much-talked-about “Green Wave.”
To better understand their rule over an organization, let’s divide them into five broad subcategories or groups:
- “Rule-makers and watchdogs” – In other words, this group represents government regulators and nongovernmental institutions.
- “Idea generators and opinion leaders” – As the name implies, this group symbolize the power of media and academics.
- “Business partners and competitors” – Mostly B2B customers as well as Industry associations accompanied by suppliers.
- “Consumers and community” – Mainly officials, and the general public which includes activists and representatives of local communities.
- “Investors and risk assessors” – The last spot is reserved for broking firms, bankers, and stock market analysts.
How did Ford lose $25 million when it decided to give their contribution to the project of creating Conservation International’s Center for Environmental Leadership in Business? The officials didn’t realize that NGO places emphasis on tropical biodiversity, a global issue that has nothing to do with Ford’s operating activities and manufacturing processes.
Let’s get this straight – nobody denies the positive effects of biodiversity. Nonetheless, Ford in trying to accomplish something missed out on everything that’s going on in front of them.
Here are a dozen other mistakes you should avoid:
- Misjudging the needs of the market
- Expecting a price premium
- Misunderstanding customers
- Eco-isolation” – Enforce green mentality in the company. It’s not advisable to create a separate green group whose action will be ignored.
- Middle-management strain
- Silo thinking
- Claims outpacing actions – Stroll the talk.
- Embrace Surprises – Anticipate possible twists, and plan with caution.
- Making the perfect the enemy of the good – Don’t be rigid. Trade-offs must be held as an option at all times because being second-best is not the worst that can happen.
- Ignoring the needs of the stakeholders
- Unwilling to tell the whole story
Key Lessons from “Green to Gold”
1. Target influential people
2. Understand the process of going green
3. Get the big picture of downside and upside plays
Target influential people
Roll in and discuss the idea of a partnership with influential people who could then put in a good word. These initiatives are vital for reaching a stage where you can actually discuss the notion of expansion.
These charismatic leaders are the bridge you need to cross to succeed.
Understand the process of going green
Anyway, these pressures are not something you should feel a lump in the throat for. In fact, you should be thankful for the opportunity provided to compete and handle challenges.
How is that even possible? Green-plays is expanding on the global arena because of the alignment with the practices of best-in-the-industry companies such as Wal-Mart, Toyota, DuPont, etc.
Get the big picture of downside and upside plays
From this standpoint, having these eight plays at your disposal can be of huge difference and relevance to either the downside or the upside.
First of all, it’s self-explanatory why the downside plays cut costs and handle regulatory hurdles. The upside plays, on the other hand, are introducing new green tangible/intangible commodities to the market and emphasizes brand awareness.
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“Green to Gold Quotes”In the very near future, no company will be positioned for industry leadership and sustained profitability without factoring environmental issues into its strategy. Click To Tweet If the facts don't square with green claims, charges of greenwashing are sure to follow. Click To Tweet Greener products often cost more up front, for instance, but end up saving the customer money down the road. Salespeople need to understand this positioning. Click To Tweet Solo environmental champions almost always fail. Successful corporate environmental strategies build on thinking from across the company. Click To Tweet Yes, it helps if a belief in stewardship is built into a company's history. But any company can make the commitment and find innovative ways to follow through on it. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
Having the opportunities right in front of you doesn’t serve as a guarantee for success. This book gives a review of what’s needs to be implemented in the process from “rags to riches.”
Take a quick scan, and you’ll see that it is worth the effort!