Everything Green Is Gold

 
 
By Alison Diana  |  Posted 2008-07-30
 
 
 

The cost of not going green could be tremendous, especially for companies that have cast themselves as Earth-friendly, leading edge, ethical or empowering.

Going green is a real business concern for many companies, above and beyond regulatory and cost concerns. After all, just as one security breach can tarnish an organization’s financial image, photographs of a company’s servers lodged in a sludge-laden landfill can become a public relations nightmare.

IT companies seen as IT leaders in this area include Apple, Dell, Google, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Sony, according to the “Green Factor,” a June 2008 study of 3,500 enterprise IT decision-makers by Strategic Oxygen, GCI Group and Cohn & Wolfe.

“Despite varying degrees of green products, programs and marketing initiatives, there is no one clear green IT brand leader globally,” Michael Gale, CEO of Strategic Oxygen, said at the time of the report’s publication. “However, when IT decision-makers and IT influencers were asked which brands they most associated with green technology, a handful of companies consistently came to the top.”

“Companies are more concerned today with the brand image of their business,” acknowledges Jim O’Grady, director of the HP Financial Services Technology Renewal Center in Andover, Mass. “To my surprise—and actual pleasure—I’m starting to see customers that are standardizing and centralizing asset management, and now the conversation is turning into environmental compliance.”

Reputations are being made—and potentially destroyed—by how well an organization manages its outdated equipment, say IT executives. This is changing the ways in which businesses manufacture and decommission products and equipment purchases, as well as their methods of doing business and selling their offerings.

Today, a green plan is a necessity, not an option, according to Drew Neisser, president and CEO of Renegade Marketing, a New York-based online agency. The company, whose business is based on being ahead of the curve, predicts the creation of the “chief green officer” at organizations.

More than 70 percent of respondents to the “Green Factor” survey said they would probably or definitely increase their preference for a brand’s green products if they were convinced of its positive impact on the environment and business. Nearly 60 percent would expect to pay a premium for these green products, according to the report.