Results from CBIA’s 2010 survey, coupled with speakers representing AT&T, IBM Corporation, and Microsoft, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, TelecommuteConnecticut/CTRideshare, and Oakleaf Waste Management demonstrate a strengthened commitment to sustainability principles. The key findings from CBIA’s Sustainability survey report the majority of Connecticut companies have adopted “green” business strategies—mostly in the area of energy efficiency. CBIA first began following green business trends in 2007 when only 47% of Connecticut companies reported going green. The number climbed to 59% in 2008, and jumped to 73% in 2009. This figure increased by only 1% over the last year—possibly implying that corporate sustainability has “reached a saturation point, at least for now.”
As added support to these findings, the representatives of AT&T, IBM, and Microsoft reported their respective companies have shifted away from thinking only in the short term and adopted a long-term analysis of energy costs. Furthermore, each of the three have adopted Smart Grid policies and were happy to report substantial returns on their investments in energy-conserving initiatives.
The environmental community applauds these businesses for their proactive attitudes and sense of corporate responsibility—yet work is still needed. Upfront costs and lack of knowledge are the two primary obstacles companies face in their efforts to “go green.” Many business leaders remain unconvinced that consumers are truly willing to put environmental concerns ahead of their wallets. In addition to these concerns, corporate leaders still have an incentive to think only in the short-term in regards to energy costs. Should the government decide to put a price on carbon, the externality posed by carbon dioxide will be internalized within the company’s operations costs and they will no longer be inclined to ignore the serious energy issue our country faces. Environmentalists must continue their efforts to inform the pubic on the importance of this issue. More importantly, we must persuade our policy-makers to more vigilantly pursue a clear, all-encompassing energy policy that forces corporations to view sustainability not as an unaffordable luxury, but as a sound, if not essential, business practice for a 21st century, global economy.
Trinity College, Hartford, CT.