Green business leaders can build competitive advantage and performance by adopting a Net Positive Impact (NPI) target that combines precise tactics for avoidance, mitigation and conservation that empowers healthy, sustainable economies, advocates for human welfare, and protects our depleting natural resources.
We are now pushing the planet to its limit. The 2012 State of Green Business report indicates environmental repercussions of the world’s largest companies in four main sectors: utilities, food & beverage, basic resources (such as timber and mining), and oil & gas. These four sectors are responsible for 65 percent of the roughly $1.2 billion in impacts.
NPI has gained wide traction globally as a goal of public policy, lending standards and corporate policy. Thus far the impact of companies adopting these targets has been strictly voluntary and viewed as revolutionary. In the coming years, as more governments mandate green and sustainable progress reports from companies large and small, sustainable business leaders will make NPI a normal business practice.
A few good examples of businesses adopting NPI (either directly or indirectly) include:
• The Consumer Goods Forum, an independent global network of retail and manufacturing companies, began showcasing its ability to develop standard approaches with members through its intention to mobilize its collective resources to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020.
• Walmart, noting that 90 percent of its GHG emissions come from its supply chain, began an initiative with Earthster to create an open data commons for product designers, manufacturers, suppliers and sustainability experts looking for current information on materials, energy, water, social and climate impacts throughout the product life cycle.
• The apparel company Puma developed an Environmental, Social and Economic profit & loss statement that assesses the benefits of their business against their environmental and social costs.
As awareness of the environmental impacts of business become more widespread, consumer, governmental and supply chain pressures for companies to lighten their resource footprints will continue to increase. Companies that embrace frameworks such as NPI can realize benefits to their own triple bottom lines as well as create competitive advantage.
Sponsored by Green Mountain College
Located in Poultney, Vermont, Green Mountain College offers a premier online Sustainable MBA that fully integrates the principles of sustainability into each course. Committed to its mission, Green Mountain College has received numerous awards in relation to its sustainability efforts. More information can be found at greenmba.greenmtn.edu