Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Profitable sustainability

It’s clear in talking to many companies here in Monterey this week that sustainability is still largely being driven by marketing objectives – be it PR, competitive differentiation, or simply aligning with growing consumer awareness and activism.

But for others, sustainability has become profitable. Either by tangibly increasing sales or market share, or by cutting costs, brands nationwide are using green to make green.

Some examples heard at Sustainable Brands 2008 this week:

  • Staples has retrofitted all of its distribution trucks so that they cannot drive faster than 60 miles per hour. This not only makes the trucks safer (think lower insurance premiums) but also increases their fuel efficiency by 15 percent. Staples is saving 500,000 gallons of diesel fuel a year this way.
  • Stonyfield Farm was one of the first yogurt makers to move from hard plastic lids to foil tops, saving $1,000,000 a year in the process (not to mention reducing the plastic needed for packaging)
  • More than 55 percent of employees at Sun Microsystems telecommute at least half of the time. While they couldn’t cite specific figures, Sun says this has reduced operating costs for the company significantly (while also decreasing employee commute time and measurably increasing job satisfaction)

How is your organization using sustainability initiatives to make money or save money?

No comments: