Sixty years ago, at the beginning of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, green business barely had a foothold. Although based on ancient and fundamental principles, it was a world inhabited by only those considered eccentric, at best idealistic.
Today Wikipedia describes green business thus: “an enterprise which has no negative impact on the global or local environment, community, society or economy – a business which strives to meet the triple bottom line.” To be “green” or “sustainable” one has to meet the criteria both socially and economically as well as environmentally. A far cry from that original definition – or is it?
Green business may still be fairly young and tender but, in keeping with the 1952 definition, it has now very much come into leaf and has emerged from its adolescence as one of Shropshire’s fastest developing industries.
In this second issue, Shropshire Business Today takes a look at how companies across the county work towards that triple bottom line and reveals the passion and persistence which have accompanied those now well-established truly “green” businesses, which when they started out, were a tiny, unheard minority.
There is obviously a clearly defined line between what has been coined as ‘greenwash’, where companies conform to green policies because it is expected of them, and those who have the vision to create something which genuinely contributes to the sustainability of our planet.
Just because one is careful with the paper clips doesn’t mean one can boast of being green – even if the appropriate box can be ticked.
But putting cynicism to one side, as businesses, we do all have an obligation to aim for that triple bottom line, and for many of us financial practicalities dictate that we are actually far greener than we think – the economic climate has forced us, for example, to reduce the number of miles we travel, cut back on our waste and look at alternative forms of energy to power what we do.
Some businesses, it appears, are horrified by, if not contemptuous of, the notorious ISO 14001, believing that they are missing out on big contracts, or are even loth to bid for them because they lack that “green” company policy. Leading county environmentalist Mandy Stoker, however, puts paid to that fear and explains her thinking behind the launch of the Green Achiever Awards. And those once-lone voices can now unite as one voice with the support of the metnet team who demonstrate the back-up available to genuinely green companies.
Green business may still be fairly young and tender but it has now very much come into leaf and has emerged from its adolescence as one of Shropshire’s fastest developing industries.
One of the first places to start in the crusade for that triple bottom line must surely be in the buildings we occupy and who better to explain being green by design than award-winning architect Kevin Slack, of Ellesmere-based Greenspace?
And proving that one man’s waste offers up the ingredients for another’s massive success, Trevor Wakefield, of The Green Roof Tile Company, talks about the response of the construction industry to his invention which is fast winning worldwide recognition.
A success story can neither be achieved nor told without good communication, which is why Shropshire Business Today is supporting the Connecting Shropshire campaign and urges you all to do likewise in the county’s bid for faster broadband.
And finally, no one understands the county’s communications and the part they play in attaining those sustainable goals than Matt Sandford, of Pure Telecom, and Shropshire Business Today is therefore extremely grateful for the support he has given to this, our second issue.