Two Decades of Green Business Research
Copyright 2013 Sustainable Development International Corp.
Since its founding two decades ago, SDIC has conducted research into organizational sustainability and environmental health. Over that time, a wealth of green business best practices have been developed to deal with pollution, habitat destruction, and other environmental issues. Many companies are becoming more energy- and resource-efficient as they seek to reduce their impacts on the global climate and on ecosystems in general. They are working with architects, environmental organizations, consultants, and others to purchase greener products; establish effective recycling programs; reduce the detrimental environmental impacts of their facilities and production processes; enhance the environmental benefits of their products; and offset business travel emissions via teleconferencing, telecommuting, establishing ride-share programs, and so forth.
Businesses have made great strides in short order. Recognizing the environmental harm that their activities often inadvertently cause, some companies have embraced a multitude of green business best practices, hired environmental managers, and established workplace teams to baseline, monitor, and improve overall environmental performance. Many companies have studied their negative environmental impacts and worked in earnest to reduce those impacts and set new standards for environmental responsibility in their industries.
These companies should be commended for their efforts to reduce their environmental harm and for their desire to be both accountable not only to shareholders but also to their stakeholders, including the environment. They also should be commended for their relative transparency - their willingness to be open with regard to their environmental impacts and their desire for improvement.
However, despite their progress, some businesses, academicians, consultants, and others are beginning to realize that today's green business best practices do not go far enough to result in corporate sustainability. They have played a crucial rule in helping to reduce companies' negative environmental impacts during the transition from our current, non-sustainable business paradigm to a future sustainable one.
Although these green business best practices can be seen as the "low-hanging fruit" in the journey toward sustainability, they cannot be viewed as the solution. In order to be green, companies will need to embark on a very different journey than the one that many have taken thus far. They will need to adopt a new view of the purpose of the company and of the company's relationship with Earth's natural systems. In essence, businesses will need to intentionally partner - for mutual benefit - with the places that they inhabit through their facilities, use for their resources, and affect through their activities.
Our History & Mission
Sustainable Development International Corporation began in 1993 as the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies. It underwent a name change and incorporated in 1996. For two decades, the company has sought to help define what sustainability is and how to do it in the business context.
Our mission is to change the way the world works by restoring health to degraded ecosystems and rebuilding natural resources. We seek to do this by changing the way that organizations of all kinds interact with the natural world through their activities.
Dr. Amy K. Townsend has worked in the sustainability field for more than 20 years. Her early research began with India's Sundarbans region, the world's largest mangrove ecosystem, and the impacts that humans have had on that region over time. Over the course of her career, she has been increasingly interested in the effects of human organizations on the environment. She wrote the first book on greening the workplace and has also contributed to the literature on green business and biofuels. She has developed and taught courses for The George Washington University School of Business and James Madison University among others.