Corporations Get Greener
Many corporations are starting to see the green in being green. Whether out of social and environmental concern or to cut costs and increase profits, more companies are looking to improve the construction and operation of their facilities and businesses. It's up to you as a consumer to let these environmentally minded companies know you approve of their actions by doing business with them.
Big companies, including big box retailers, are moving to more sustainable construction and operation. One of the most notable companies, simply because of its sheer size and reputation as a low-price retailer, is Wal-Mart. This company illustrated its green effort with the construction of the McKinney, Texas, retail outlet. The store was designed and constructed in accordance with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines and included wind turbines and used cooking and motor oil for providing energy for the building.
The company also vowed to increase fuel efficiency in fleet vehicles, reduce energy in its outlet stores, cut solid waste production, and reduce the production of greenhouse gases. A second LEED building was constructed in Aurora, Colorado. It is hoped that with the experience of these two stores, Wal-Mart will be able to create a set design applicable to its other locations and set a green example for other retailers to follow.
Courses focusing on sustainable development and environmental responsibility are showing up in business programs all over the country. The Center for Sustainable Enterprise at the University of North Carolina is one place where today's students are learning to be tomorrow's responsible leaders by understanding the impacts of social and environmental changes.
Many smaller companies operate with the environment in mind. However, as large corporations build more efficient and environmentally friendly buildings, perhaps the process will become part of the mainstream and more businesses will be encouraged to follow suit. Sustainable development has the potential to streamline the design and construction processes and possibly lower the cost of green construction, making it more viable for other companies that might not have been able to afford it.