Sick of the Green Revolution

“If I have one more person tell me I need to make my company Green, I’m going to become politically incorrect.” This statement was made in a CEO round-table meeting and perfectly describes the frustration business owners feel. Sales are down, the economy is questionable and they are being pressured to make an investment because it is the “right thing to do”. The first priority is to stay in business and find a way to make payroll. Getting pressured to make what they perceive as unrealistic investments for a feel-good
moment is not something a wise business owner does.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t be more wrong.

The Start of the Green Revolution

In the early 1990’s, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) created the environmental standard ISO 14000 as a response to conservation initiatives from the 1970’s. the more well known ISO 9000 Quality Standard, ISO 14000 was not required by most clients, for one simple reason, all cost benefits went to the implementer. ISO 9000 allowed clients to eliminate costly auditing staff, supplier audits and incoming inspection. There was a direct benefit to the
client to insist the supplier implement ISO 9000. The benefit for the implementation of ISO 14000 was indirect so many companies did not include it as a requirement to do business with them.

Why Aren’t Business Owners joining the Green Revolution

Suppliers had limited resources and meeting the customer requirements was the first priority. ISO 14000 got lost in the shuffle as few people had time to analyze the standard and realize the cost benefits.

How does ISO 14000 Relate to the Green Revolution?

The purpose of ISO 14000 standard is to create a continuous improvement process to reduce consumption and waste. If a company can make more product using less materials and energy, and has to pay less to process waste, the unit cost of producing their product is reduced. This gives the business owner the option of increasing profits or reducing price and increasing sales. Still business
owners did not see ISO 14000 as something they wanted to pursue. To make it more palatable to the average business owner, ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 have been gradually changing to make them so similar they can be implemented through thesame process and systems. Companies already meeting ISO 9000 will have little or no difficulty incorporating ISO 14000.

Frequently the barrier to implementing continuous improvement in reduced consumption and waste is a capital investment.… However, due to the Green Revolution significant grants are available to help
companies across this hurdle. Now is the time to embrace the Green Revolution, implement ISO 14000 and increase profitability. Joining the Green Revolution could make more business sense than it does today.

Reducing Pollution and Reducing Landscaping Bills

Mowing Less = Reducing Pollution

Control Landscaping Cost While Reducing Pollution

by Nancy Schumm, Schumm Consulting LLC

One way for business owners to reduce pollution adjacent to waterways like streams, rivers, detention basins and lakes, is to replace traditional landscaping with native landscaping buffers.  Similar to the USDA programs for reducing run-off from farms, businesses may qualify for federal or local grants for protecting and improving water quality by adding native landscaping features to their property.  

Native Plants Assist in Reducing Pollution

Native plants are identified by their heritage, as they were indigenous to the region prior to European settlement.  These plants require less maintenance than non-native plants because they have deep-roots adapted to our clay soils and our climate.  Native plants, once established, don’t require constant irrigation, pruning, or mowing.  They also naturally filter nutrients and act like sponges in our soils.  As a consequence they reduce pollution and in some cases flooding by absorbing more water at the site rather than allowing it to flow off-site.  Using native landscaping as a buffer to waterways can reduce pollution by as much as 95%. 

 Native landscaping, installed by competent companies who specialize in this work reduces traditional landscaping bills significantly.  Imagine not having weekly maintenance expenses or significant water bills for irrigation systems that will no longer be needed?  Other advantages to native landscaping are that they provide opportunities to form new community partnerships, gain good publicity in the green marketplace for the company, and improve community aesthetics. 

An excellent example of a recently completed project is the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center who recently received a Conservation Award for their corporate campus in Schaumburg from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Chicago Wilderness.   

The bottom line is that native landscaping looks better, costs less over time, and improves the environment; a win-win for business and the planet. 

Nancy Schumm is the owner of Schumm Consulting LLC.  She specializes in managing water protection projects with over 20 years of experience in grant writing and project management for a wide variety of landowners both private and public helping by reducing pollution.