Seeing the green light: Time to get moving with environmental practices

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The latest edition of IndustryWeek’s Manufacturing Business Challenge has been published.

This month’s challenge discusses a multinational manufacturer of engine and transmission components that is starting to get pressure to show its green/sustainable practices, including their management (i.e., reduction) of carbon emissions.  As a result, they are trying to figure out what tools and practices they will need to succeed in this new green world. We were very fortunate to have a contributed solution to this case-study challenge by Frances Way, Head of the CDP Supply Chain Program at the Carbon Disclosure Project (www.cdproject.net), an independent not-for-profit organization that holds the largest database of corporate climate change information in the world. What would be your recommendation to the challenge as described below?  First, let me say, that I had been a little skeptical about global warming and other environmental issues. But, over the years, I've gradually seen the evidence build. As a person, I'm concerned. As a CEO, I'm concerned for my company. Treest Power is a multinational manufacturer of engine and transmission components for industrial and consumer equipment. I see the growing awareness of carbon emissions in the public sector swiftly moving into the industrial sector, and there are reasons for Treest Power to act now. While I have been awakened by the environmental data and evidence, many in my industry still have their heads in the sand. Going green, or whatever you want to call it, is more than just a good thing to do. If Treest Power approaches this strategically and quickly, pulling in our critical supply chain partners as well, we can get a jump on our competitors and capture a growing market of environmentally conscious customer firms. I believe emerging government incentives and stimulus spending will suddenly wake many in my business, so I'd like to get the headstart. In addition, Treest Power is beginning to get pressure to show our green/sustainable practices, including our management (i.e., reduction) of carbon emissions. Four of our largest customers have asked for documentation on our green practices and the green practices of our supply chain so that they can prove and promote to their customers the greenness of their products. While none of the companies have specifically asked us to make changes, the implication is clear: get on board. This is the push we need as, I believe, eventually industry or government regulations will dictate what we need to do, and I'd rather not be scrambling to meet these mandates — or not meet them and be in real trouble. How can Treest Power begin taking the necessary steps today to better understand the issues and opportunities that await as we transition from old world to green world? What tools and practices will we need to succeed? Here’s what we said…

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