Sustainability management: Take human bites

It took years for businesses to evolve into the resource-hungry, environmentally blithe entities that they are. Why should managers be charged with fixing things overnight?

OK, let's be real. It took years for businesses to evolve into the resource-hungry, environmentally blithe entities that they are. Why should managers be charged with fixing things overnight, especially if you are a multi-branch, multi-warehouse, multi-whatever sort of operation.

A London businessman, James Doran, has embraced an idea to spread sustainability principles across his company in a phased approach, without biting off more than his team can chew. Doran, who is managing director of fire, security and electrical testing company First Choice Facilities, began running his Loughborough, Leicestershire, office in 2008 as what he calls an "Environmentally Managed Unit (EMUs)." Here's the general statement about how his company using EMUs in its operations.

An EMU basically allows individual locations and staff to make decisions that are guided by environmental and business practices. The renewable energy resources available in one location, for example, are likely to be different than in another location. So, why should one office be forced to do something that doesn't make sense?

The Loughborough office is a carbon-neutral operation located on a site developed by Beacon Energy that features multiple interlinked sources of renewable energy. The office is using biodiesel fuel in its vehicles and its striving also to be paperless. Here's more detail.

First Choice recently opened its second sustainable facility in Abbotsley, Cambridgeshire. The refurbished 1840s building features light-reflecting "K" glass. Both sites have compostable toilet facilities and vegetable gardens, to boot.

First Choice aims to open roughly more than 100 EMUs across the United Kingdom during the next five years. Each will donate at least 1 percent of its local profits back into its local community and 1 percent of its staff time to the Helping Hands initiative.

Call it what you will, the idea of an EMU makes oodles of sense. Even though many well-intentioned managers may want to overthink the larger schemes of things and implement the same policies across all their office, this might be a misguided strategy. The smarter thing to do is encourage corporate-wide sustainability policy, but make sure the details make the best sense locally.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All