The opportunities for a corporation to pull these kinds of corporate levers are limitless. When we needed to buy $250,000 worth of new office furniture, we bid the project out to three companies. In our request for bids, we asked what they would provide; how much it would cost; and what their environmental programs were. The bids came in around the same price. We analyzed the environmental programs at each of the businesses and then awarded the contract to the company doing the most progressive environmental work, a business called Herman Miller.
If the story ended there, it would be great. A corporation was rewarded, monetarily, for its green stance and was encouraged to be even greener, purely from a profit motive. But the story continues. We got a note from one of the furniture makers that didn’t win the bid. “We consider ourselves pretty green, too. Why didn’t we win?” We sent them our analysis. Now another business is incentivized to further green themselves—again, purely motivated by profit.
Note: This article was originally printed with the title, "Companies Pull the Climate Lever".