The Power of Going Green
5 Industries that Could Make a Difference
by Brian Mase New
In a recent university speech meant to be motivating, renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking argued that humanity only has about 1,000 years left of viable existence on Earth; pointing out that star colonization must be a priority. It's a dour prediction that arises partly out of climate change and pollution concerns. Last year, esteemed climatologist James Hansen issued a report based on his studies of Antarctica and global warming. In it, he suggests that mean sea levels are apt to rise 10 times faster than formerly predicted—10 feet by 2065—if emissions aren't cut immediately.
While such change needs to be a collaborative event with government, business, and independent citizens all doing their part to reduce waste and emissions, it is industries who have been really leading the necessary groundwork for some serious impact. This includes improving supply chains, utilizing more environmentally-friendly raw materials, and integrating renewable energy sources.
The move towards sustainability and going green has become arguably the largest marketing trend over the last few years as being green can be cost-effective and ups a brand's value in the consumers' eyes. In addition to reducing their environmental impact and improving their image, eco-friendly business practices send a message to consumers and other companies that the time for change is now.
Five Industries That Can Make a Difference
Just consider the following five industries that are beginning to harness the power of green and how, by following their example, we can all make this a world on which humanity can survive for millenniums to come:
1. Waste Management
The waste management industry is most commonly associated with the hauling away of junk and the storage of that junk in overflowing landfills. But did you know that this industry is a green leader? From revolutionizing recycling techniques to investing and using new renewable technologies transforms all of that waste into valuable energy.
This is a goliath of industries that technically comprises of all companies who make hardware, product software, and provide services. It's an industry that has undergone massive infrastructure and product changes in just the last twenty years as people moved from corded home phones to bulky first gen cells and onto the mass of handheld smartphones and devices.
A nasty side impact of all this is a growing amount of e-waste—which is the fastest growing type of waste in the country. Companies within this industry have begun to recognize their role in this and some, like Sprint, are offering unique buyback programs to promote the reuse and ultimate recycling of unwanted devices.
3. Home Remodeling Franchises
Home remodeling and renovation franchises are in a unique position to make an environmental impact as through their direct interactions with clients and home upgrade advice. Today's home remodeling franchises can assist homeowners in implementing energy-efficient solutions, such as solar panels, enhanced insulation, and more energy-efficient windows, to create comfortable living environments that reduce environmental impacts.
4. Automobile Makers
While they can be blamed for creating products that are huge environmental problems, automobile makers have it in their power to make some hefty environmental-saving changes. This goes beyond just making more fuel-efficient, as well as some no-fuel electric cars for the consumer market. GM, for example, is operating more than half of its Arlington, Texas production facility on electricity generated by a local wind farm. Other green initiatives include heating departments with recycled vehicle oil and instituting solar panels where appropriate.
5. Fast Food Industry
Yes, even that industry that first fueled the movement towards sustainable practices is going green. McDonald's is heeding the need for greater sustainability by implementing a series of exciting green initiatives. They are placing stricter policies in reusing, reducing, and recycling waste across corporate, suppliers, and stores. LED bulbs have been pushed in all restaurants to reduce overall energy use and stricter equipment decisions, building standards, and operational practices have been outlined for reduced carbon emissions.
The importance of being green is no longer a value held only by the most ardent of environmentalists. Businesses ranging from the greasiest of fast food chains to independent home remodeling agencies are understanding the need for more environmentally-sustainable practices. Harnessing the power of green is simply good for business, good for the environment, and ultimately good for humanity.