Guest Column - October 2015
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Locker Rooms

The Power of Green
A New Approach to Locker Room Security

By Mila Adamovica

Developing products with environmental benefits in mind is challenging. Although the proper use of recycling bins and the "reduce-reuse-recycle" mantra have become iconic, is it also true if a product is 100 percent recyclable that it is sufficient to categorize it as "green"? Yes. However, other important factors make the product environmentally attractive. Creating consistent eco-friendly choices takes a lot of determination.

What are the key factors that help us keep the planet green?

  • Efficient use of materials is one of the keys to sustainability. Reusable and recyclable products reduce waste and allow for the extended use of these materials.
  • Another way to go green is to reduce the amount of materials that the manufacturer uses to make a product.
  • Salvaged materials that meet all the requirements conserve energy and resources.
  • Durable products do not have to be replaced frequently, as they can withstand demanding environments.
  • Low-cost cleaning and maintenance also contributes, because there is no need to use harsh chemicals to maintain the products.

Although the Federal Trade Commission does not recommend using such terms as "green," "eco," "environmentally friendly" and "recyclable," marking them as being potentially deceptive, these terms are familiar to global consumers and recognizable in various industries worldwide. Truly green companies adopt sustainability as a key consideration in their decision-making process and apply sustainable practices throughout their operations. Green leaders eliminate, or at least significantly minimize, the use and the production of harmful chemicals, excess materials and waste byproducts. Thorough and careful specification of such products has become critical for manufacturers in achieving credits toward their products being certified as green.

Green Business vs. Green Politics

Environmental law is based on the assumption that economic development pollutes the environment. The goal of environmental policy is to provide the cleanup after the pollution has occurred. As opposed to the political debate, sustainability management states that economic prosperity is based on a healthy environment, and that pollution should be prevented by implementing sophisticated production cycles, efficient use of raw materials to reduce waste, a shift to renewable and recycled materials, and the use of innovative materials that have no impact on the environment. Thus, it is a myth that we must trade off environmental health for economic growth.

Motivation for Going Green

A wide range of reports from industry influencers and academia lead to the conclusion that going green is becoming an increasingly attractive business strategy. In 2011, MIT Sloan School of Management measured sustainability efforts, and released a study that found that:

  • 68 percent of respondents said that their organizations increased their commitment to sustainability. This was a substantial increase compared to 2009, when only 25 percent of respondents reported that.
  • 67 percent stated that sustainability strategies were necessary to be competitive, a 12 percentage increase compared to 2009.
  • 28 percent believed sustainability was a core strategic consideration, and 42 percent said that although it was not a core consideration, it was on the agenda permanently.

In 2012, a similar study conducted by Siemens and McGraw-Hill Construction noted that 42 percent of companies agreed that "Sustainability plays a key role in their business operations," which is significantly up from 18 percent in 2006.

Green businesses are reporting a substantial advantage over their competitors because of the "green stickiness" factor. They are able to develop high-trust relationships with conscious consumers who are willing to pay a higher price for a green product. A 2009 GMA/Deloitte Green Shopper Study found that "once a more sustainable product has captured the shopper's commitment, it tends to retain the shopper's loyalty." PricewaterhouseCoopers indicates that companies that make substantial sustainability efforts report having a greater return on assets than companies that do not make such efforts.