You, Leadership, and the Environment

Sustainability

The number one priority for leaders is their team, their vision, and themselves.

“I propose a new priority for leaders…the environment.”

Putting all manner of politics and polarizing opinions aside, as a matter of general stewardship, we as leaders all should be promoting a healthy environment.

We should be doing this both in the workplace and out beyond the parking lot. Creating a positive atmosphere in the office about sustainability is key for success. And also important is promoting the natural world that protects natural resources and future capital.

Sustainability and You

Making a commitment to sustainability doesn’t mean conservation. It means a commitment to stewardship and the responsible use of limited resources.

Why is that important to business owners and leaders?

  • Protect the world we live in for our children and our children’s’ families.
  • Promote an image of healthy, sustainable, and profitable business
  • Practice the use of renewable resources and recycling to help cut costs, long run.

One of the main counterpoints to green technology and sustainability is the barrier of profit. Frankly, promoting green  business is not all that profitable in the short run, but it can be viable in the long run.

Green is the Future

Entrepreneurs and businessmen are always looking for the next big things: the next iPod, the next smartphone, the next best-selling book. It’s evident that they already know what’s next: Green

Programs like EnergyStar rank products, and news corporations and groups rank the most ‘green’ companies. Consumers are demanding eco-friendly business, and they want it now.

“Green is the future, but it is also the present.

In the course of history, technology has driven the way towards the future. According to the Daily Beast, most of the companies that rank highest in the ‘green’ category are technology companies.

Leadership and the Environment

We all know leaders set the example, are leading themselves, and are the natural go-to guy for a group. By being ethically responsible for your environment, you are demonstrating to others that being environmentally conscious is important.

“Leaders synergize with their environment.

Working with their environment and the tools they are given, leaders should be striving to be more sustainable and productive. Being a leader in sustainability demonstrates:

  • A commitment to their environment
  • A commitment to the team
  • A commitment to the customer

Leadership Techniques for Eco-Conscious Leaders

 How do you do this? What steps should you take?

1. Determine your Goals

Like with any leadership technique, knowing where you’re going is the first step. Without knowing where you want to be, it’s hard to get there. Set a goal, be ambitious. Reduce energy use in the office by 25%, cut back on the use of plastics, or my favorite, eliminate the use of bottle water in the office.

2. Prepare you Plans

Without detailing what you are going to do, it won’t happen. Figure out what you are doing, how you are going to accomplish it, and who is responsible for it.

3. Get Outside Support

Many nonprofits, government agencies, and NGO’s will gladly come in and do free seminars or send you free materials. Search, ask, and you shall receive! A great resource is Sustainablebussiness.com. It has a list of resources for environmental management.

4. Determine Why

For many people, the question of why you are trying to be eco-friendly is the toughest question. Yes you want to help the environment, but why? To have an impact? To make a difference? To set yourself apart? To establish yourself as a ‘green’ company? Answer this and your mission will be easier.

Technological progress has made it easy for anyone to help the environment, the community, and society. You just need to take that first step in the right direction.

Does your office have any environmental initiatives? Are you for or against sustainable business techniques? What is your favorite idea for leadership and the environment? Do you have an environmental commitment?

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Will Lutterman is a student and writer at St. Olaf College
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