The Business Case for Going Green




By Earl Whipple

Green as a business strategy, in my opinion, is no longer green; this is no longer new and unfamiliar territory.  For large corporations, it is now standard operating procedure to implement sustainable environmental practices into business operations and share their sustainability efforts with consumers and stakeholders.

While it’s no surprise that corporate green initiatives are well-established  and are working to improve the environment, today’s environmental concerns are too numerous and complex to continue with ‘business as usual.’ BP’s oil spill and the consistent media attention and reputational backlash cement my belief that companies should be prioritizing sustainability programs now more than ever.  Companies, just like individuals, need to do more than “just their part.”

There is now a responsibility to build upon core programs and continue innovating to find new and fresh solutions.  PepsiCo recently announced its plan to take four potato chip factories off a water grid entirely and will instead use water from 350,000 tons of potatoes for processing.  I also learned that, similar to AstraZeneca’s car pooling program, Pfizer has a commuter assistance program called GreenWheels, which helps reduce air quality pollutants with carpooling, vanpooling and other options for environmentally sensitive and energy-efficient travel.  These are just two examples of great work companies are doing to solve today’s sustainability challenges.



Like so many things, environmental consciousness can start with something small.  Having employees use mugs instead of paper cups.  Making sure computers are turned off at night. Using both sides of the paper when printing and copying.

Though environmental consciousness may not be the newest business strategy, the collective corporate carbon footprint is huge and the impact made from environmentally conscious programs and practices is real.




  • Donna Lutz, AstraZeneca

    Great post, Earl. It’s good to see how other companies are embracing this strategy. Did you know that more than 500 AstraZeneca drivers participated in a ten week EcoWheels Green Driver Challenge program recently? Participants were asked to incorporate smart driving habits into their daily routines. The pledges of these AZ drivers, when implemented, totaled the equivalent of planting 59,519 trees!

  • It’s not just the biggest businesses that are attracting new customers and shareholders and reaping huge profits by “going green”. Small businesses also are growing eco-profits by embracing surprisingly inexpensive strategies to add value to their products, services and brand.