Eco-Advantage Toolkit

Executing any business strategy well requires a range of things to go right -- from planning and analysis to execution to managing softer cultural issues. No one piece of the puzzle creates the full picture. In Green to Gold, we lay out the pieces of what we call the Eco-Advantage Toolkit (in chapters 6-9). At the center of a triad of tools sits the Eco-Advantage Mindset, five principles for how leading companies think about environmental strategy (see chapter 6 in full in Green to Gold). On this site, we provide a some more details and links related to the three actionable tool categories:

We also touch briefly on the overarching strategies companies use, which we call Green-to-Gold Plays (chapters 4 and 5). The toolkit, in the end, is what allows companies to execute these strategies successfully.

Tools Self-Assessment

How prepared are you to execute comprehensive environmental strategies that will give you a leg up in a tough marketplace? Do you have the right tools in place? Here are a few questions to spur thinking and hint at what a leading company, or WaveRider, might be doing differently. Download the list for yourself (PDF: 98k).

Eco-tracking
  • Do we know what our product's or company's environmental footprint is? (Ok, step back: do we know what an environmental footprint is?)
    • Do we know how much energy and water we use, the type and quantity of toxic chemicals we produce, our contribution to air and water pollution, and our total waste production?
    • Do we create environmental metrics that fit our business best?
  • Do we track the environmental impact of our product after it leaves our hands (e.g., energy use by customers)?
  • How about the environmental practices of our suppliers?
    • Do we demand and track environmental metrics on their operations?
    • Do we know what chemicals or elements are in every component from every supplier?
  • Do we have an environmental management system?
  • Do we have emergency procedures in place (and is everyone trained)?
  • Do we know who our key stakeholders are and what they think of us?
    • Have we created partnerships with outside organizations to understand our environmental issues better?
Eco-design
  • Do we have a design for the environment program in place?
  • Are environmental issues considered at the design phase?
  • Do our designers have thetools they need to reduce the environmental impact of our products throughout the lifecycle (such as lists of materials that are forbidden)?
  • Are our offices LEED certified, or optimized for energy use and worker productivity?
  • Do we audit our supplierson environmental (and social) criteria? Have we ever 'fired' a supplier for being out of compliance?
Culture
  • Do we have goals for environmental performance? How aggressive are the targets? Do any seem impossible?
  • How do we decide whether or not to invest in environmental improvements (operation changes or on new product development, for example)? Is it the same process as for other capital investments?
  • How do we engage and include all levels of employees in the vision or goals?
    • Is compensation or bonus affected by environmental performance?
    • Do we reward environmental success or innovation in non-monetary ways?
  • Do we ensure that staff with line experience and environmental knowledge interact?
  • Do we produce an environmental or sustainability report? How comprehensive is it?
    • Do we use our report to influence and teach employees?
  • Do we train employees to look for opportunities for environmental innovation?