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Sustainability: Corporate hype or good business?

The news this week that former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson would join Apple as its vice president for environmental initiatives got me thinking about how often the term “sustainability” gets thrown around.

And I’m wondering how much is hype, and how much makes good business sense?

I know Apple has come under fire for its environmental policies, and that over the last year, it’s converted its data centers and other U.S. facilities to renewable energy sources. The move earned the company the No. 10 spot on EPA’s list of companies using the most green power.

Interestingly, Lockheed Martin Corp. is No. 9 on the list. Lockheed and other defense contractors, such as Northrop Grumman, are working on energy related projects that include power generation and smart grids.

Heck, there’s even a small solar farm at the Pentagon.

And I know that several years ago, ICF International, which does a lot of environmental consulting work, was touting its use of green energy, carbon credits and other activities to reduce its environmental impact.

So, I guess there is a business case to be made for sustainability.

But, there is a lot of image at work here too. Perhaps it’s not an "either/or," but a "both."

I wonder, though, if the sustainability/green label will get overused and lose its meaning. It might just become another "me too" kind of tag.

Care to comment? Is being green good business, or just hype?

Posted by Nick Wakeman on May 30, 2013 at 7:24 PM


Reader Comments

Fri, May 31, 2013 Ty Bachus T&T

I'd like to think it's not just hype... but I do think some companies pursue it to get that extra hype/attention for their firms. I'd like to think they do it 'cause it's the right thing to do. And I guess if it starts as a marketing ploy but actually does the Earth some good, that's not all bad.

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