The E Factor

Decreasing waste, increasing gains, and achieving efficiencies aren’t just goals for environmentalists, argues Joel Makower, they’re goals for business. That’s constructive criticism any time. But now is a good time to go “from greed to green,” he adds.

The latest book from the author of such titles as THE GREEN CONSUMER, THE GREEN COMMUTER, and GOING GREEN: A KID’S HANDBOOK TO SAVING THE PLANET, this guide to creating an environmentally friendly company—without sacrificing the bottom line—is an expansion of another previous book, 50 SIMPLE THINGS YOUR BUSINESS CAN DO TO SAVE THE EARTH. Similarly aimed at owners and managers, THE E FACTOR is a practical primer on dealing with the environmental factor while doing business.

Makower, who writes the syndicated column “The Green Consumer,” examines his topic through six prisms: economics, enforcement, empowerment, education, efficiency, and excellence. He’s a storyteller, whether recalling admirable industrial efforts by AT&T, Dow Chemical, Lockheed, and Xerox or speculating on concepts such as “green taxes,” “smog futures,” and company “stakeholders.”

Makower offers plenty of examples for readers to customize for their own use, and he makes real the anecdotes told by executives struggling with compliance internally as well as externally. For example, when discussing empowerment and accountability, Makower revisits the Chemical Manufacturers Association’s “Responsible Care” program, which had the motto “Don’t trust us. Track us.” When a public-interest group did, they were stonewalled by uncooperative managers.

With candor, Union Carbide CEO Robert D. Kennedy commented, “Unless we CEOs and senior management personally commit personally to environmental action and leadership, the rest of the organization won’t take the company’s environmental goals seriously.”