The Unmeasured Green Business Dilemma

The Unmeasured Green Business Dilemma

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How to you measure how Green a business actually is
Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 12:05pm


Imagine the extrapolated vision of the Green business problem, if you will.  If Green businesses are left to any device to earn a Green status, what is the value of Going Green?  As it sits today, a Green business can self-certify in the most ridiculous ways imaginable.   The first way to self-certification is to make any of a dozen Green improvements to the business, and to declare your business “Green.”  Perhaps the business now uses recycled paper and prints on both sides to conserve paper use.  Meritorious, but far from a serious effort to transition to a Green operation.   This is what is now termed a “Token Green” approach to Green business, and it is also part of the well-known form of Greenwashing.

The second misguided process for Green business certification is purchasing a Green business certification online.  The fees range between $500 to $1500 depending on the size of the company, but don’t be fooled by a well-designed website offering an impressive logo.  These operations are obviously money-driven websites that justify their contribution to society by asking their “members” to complete various forms of self-assessment online.  Regardless of the obvious invitation to “Game the System” offered by these online Green business certifications, hundreds upon hundreds of businesses will sign up for these scam-like programs.

Frankly, both of these forms of clandestine Green certifications are designed for ONE PRIMARY REASON, and that is to fool and deceive the public.  Consumers who are seeking to spend their money with reputable Green businesses do not want to be deceived by a greenwashing program that fosters unproven Green claims.  What prevents any misguided business from paying the fee, filling in the forms with lies, and proudly displaying the purchased logo to unsuspecting customers?   Nothing, because the goals these websites set are negligible standards intended to attract more gullible businesses to pay a big fee for a pretty logo.

In a day of crisis issues and calls for transparency and ethics to properly address these world-threatening concerns, shouldn’t there be a backlash of sharp rebuke for unproven and falsified claims of environmental compliance?  Would we not be appalled at a doctor with false credentials treating us when we were sick?  Does anyone want an amateur working on their car when the only real credentials were a correspondence course that he had his brother do for him?   What if the meat department of your local grocery no longer required a physical inspection because a worker had completed an online certification course?  Ridiculous, right?

Green business certification by self-acclamation or by online purchase is cheating at worst and greenwashing at best. Nonetheless, these two methods of Green certification are popular and widely practiced.  Business people are pragmatic and tend toward the expedient solution when it seems feasible. Expedience is often the fool’s path because the environment is such a serious issue.  Eventual exposure will cause a serious backlash when the public eventually discovers how businesses are literally cheating the system.

Every business thinking about an imitation Green certification need only think forward a little to the day when that logo now showing on your website or store window gets some negative press. Eventually, it will come out that numerous businesses use the same purchased logo, but now are busted by an investigative reporter. We all know this will eventually happen because there are no checks and audits. Everything is secretly and privately accomplished by “online assessments” that are also falsely called audits.  Audits cannot be conducted by the one being audited.  That is a scam!

Presently, there is one program that has required a live audit for every single Green business certification. The Green Business League has never taken a fee for a blind certification. Every certification is assessed, Green improvements are documented, and certification is awarded based on audited achievements as a Green business. The Green Business League is the only company that has a trained field force of more than 300 Certified Green Consultants across America and Canada. These professionals provide an invaluable service. After the initial assessment, they map out a clear plan to achieve a verifiable Green business certification.

The choices are becoming more clear because the issues of ethics and transparency allow only one kind of decision. An audit cannot be a self-serving, clandestine, or deceptive decision. All the good done by a Green business certification will cause worse damage when the facts eventually come out. Many shallow Green business certifications will eventually become badges of shame because they were purchase to deceive the public, and the public will not be fooled for long.

To the credit of the Green Business League, the fact is that Going Green is not a token effort or one time purchase. Every GBL member has a Certified Green Consultant as a partner in its business success. Going Green is now part of a successful business plan. Greater efficiencies allow Green businesses to be more profitable and more attractive to other Green businesses. Certified Green Consultants assist all certified businesses throughout the year to maintain and improve the Green values that will pay large dividends for many years to come. In the larger view, the environment of the community, the country, and the world deserve more than a token or fake certification. This is not just another marketing ploy. If a business is seeking to Go Green, it should be an authentic Green business certification.