The Green Wave

An excerpt from Green to Gold (p.8):

"What’s going on? Why are the world’s biggest, toughest, most profit-seeking companies talking about the environment now? Simply put, because they have to. The forces coming to bear on companies are real and growing. Almost without exception, industry groups are facing an unavoidable new array of environmentally driven issues. Like any revolution, this new “Green Wave” presents an unprecedented challenge to business as usual.

Behind the Green Wave lie two interlocking sources of pressure. First, the limits of the natural world could constrain business operations, realign markets, and perhaps even threaten the planet’s well-being. Second, companies face a growing spectrum of stakeholders who are concerned about the environment"

Environmental Issues

What are the top environmental problems? We explore here our list of the 10 issues that most companies should have on their radar, ranked roughly by size. Of course the actual impact on a company will vary greatly, but this approximation is a start. If executives don't think at least briefly about each of these and how the company (or its suppliers and customers) may contribute to the problem, they could run into big trouble down the road. Use the navigation to the right to explore these 10 global issues further.

To help companies think through the possible impacts on their business, we offer up our AUDIO analysis (Microsoft Excel | 30k). This tool is a simple grid for analyzing how environmental issues touch the business, both upstream at suppliers, and downstream to customers.


The range and power of the stakeholders that can influence a business are growing every day. In Green to Gold (chapter 3), we lay out 20 groups of stakeholders in five categories (see the navigation to the right). Not all are equal in strength, but it pays to systematically consider all of them and not just the most pressing (usually the NGOs or the government). Pictured below is the new Eco-Advantage playing field.

The eco-advantage players Consumers and communityInvestors and risk assessorsrulemakers and watchdogsIdea generators and opinion leadersBusinesses partners and competitors