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Profits, transparency join the green movement

Green Is your "green" glass half empty or half full?

Let's find out.

It its quarterly CFO Outlook Survey, Financial Executives International found that 48 percent of companies have taken steps to reduce energy consumption, 30 percent are reducing waste and 21 percent are implementing incentives to encourage customers to be "greener."

So what do you see -- the fact that many companies are implementing these environmentally friendly strategies, or the fact that most aren't?

I don't know if this will sway your opinion at all, but it's worth noting that 28 percent of CFOs surveyed said their companies aren't doing anything to become more sustainable.

Whether they are or not, all companies might want to take a stroll over to the SEC Web site. The Commission has released guidance on rules "that may require a company to disclose the impact that business or legal developments related to climate change may have on its business." According to the SEC, "the relevant rules cover a company's risk factors, business description, legal proceedings, and management discussion and analysis."'s Sarah Johnson offers this take:

The problem may not be so much that companies are skirting the rules, but that they haven't received a sufficient nudge to make proper disclosure. By publishing new guidance, "the SEC is effectively saying, 'We really think you should think long and hard about whether or not greenhouse emissions and climate change are material to your shareholders,'" says Karl Strait, a partner at McGuireWoods.

And companies that haven't made the green move yet? Well, they might want to take a serious look at "Sustainability: A better brand of business?" This Statement article, written by Sustainability Partners International Managing Partner Gary Langenwalter, cites mounds of research to make this claim:

"Over the past decade, a 'learning lab' of companies devoted to the concept of sustainability -- called the Living Asset Management Program, or LAMP -- has more than doubled in value while the overall value of the S&P 500 has fallen" and has "twice the profits of (the) industry average" by "doing good for (the) community and the planet."

Talk about green.

Langenwalter talks more about the benefits of sustainability in this MACPA podcast. Listen to it, then tell us: Has your organization taken any steps to be greener? If so, what have you gotten out of it?


Bill Sheridan