The San Francisco Chronicle has an interesting column about businesses embracing "sustainability." Chris Laszlo, author of "Sustainable Value; How the World's Leading Companies are Doing Well by Doing Good," argues that sustainability is a "huge opportunity" for businesses.
Solar technology and cellulosic polymers are examples of innovations that could eventually transform the energy and plastics sectors. Consumers will choose cleaner energy at a lower cost, just as they will opt for the shopping bag that biodegrades over the plastic one that doesn't, as long as quality remains the same and they don't have to pay more for it.He adds: "Given half a chance, most corporate leaders want to do good if they can do well at the same time. When that happens, we could see a rapid transformation to a more sustainable world. After all, what other institution has the resources, global span and nimbleness to turn on a dime when an opportunity presents itself? Now that the demand is growing everywhere for solutions to environmental and social problems - a marketplace demand that is not only for more material things but also for a healthier and more sustainable world - corporations can become good citizens and make a profit doing so." This echoes an idea that I've mentioned in Plastics News before; that most people in the plastics industry consider themselves to be environmentalists (a point that many people outside the industry don't understand). Plastics processing company managers believe they're doing the right thing for the the environment, running clean factories that make products that are easy to recycle and save energy. I think many will embrace the idea of sustainability. The real question is, will consumers?