Letter to the Editor, Business Day:

Re Nicola Robins letter headed ’Sustainability more than just green’  in Business Day 5 April 2013:

As author and initiator of the “Greening your Business” course published by Business Day,  my aim was to create an introductory overview – a primer – to the growing field of environmental sustainability: why it has become important to businesses, what it involves and why and how to implement it.

Accessibility to a wide audience of businesses, big and small, is primary to the purpose. It is not written for listed companies who have their own departments and large budgets for sustainability (and sustainability consultants), but for people and companies who are keen to take it on themselves.

‘Green’ is simply an easier term for most people to get a handle on than  ‘sustainability’. It’s also not as jargony and is more inspirational. Why is the ‘Green Economy’ taking off , instead of the ‘Sustainable Economy’?  Because it presents a brighter more hopeful future that appeals to anybody.

Yes, there is a risk of oversimplification but that is often what happens when ideas are mainstreaming.  It should not be an either/or  between ‘green’ and ‘sustainability’  but both/and  – i.e. both terms have their place and share overall aims, though they may work at different levels.

About the shortcomings of a ‘Green Policy’ :  I fully understand the frustration of consultants trying to work with CEOs who think once a ‘Green Policy’ is stuck up on the wall, the job is done.  But that is a shallow reading of the course module dealing with it  – which clearly is in  agreement by stating that a policy is  “not much use if it is drawn up in isolation, framed and merely consigned to display in the foyer.”

Our civilization is facing some serious constraints and business is a prime mover in helping shape  a better future for all. If ‘greening’ opens more people’s minds and hearts to what needs to be done, then it certainly has a place as part of the solution.

Hugh Tyrrell

Director, GreenEdge