A new report from Green.biz reviews the state of the environment in the global economy. You can download the report from them , but here is a lightning summary of the ten top stories of 2007.
- Corporate Climate Commitments – Major companies are making public commitments about their strategies to address climate change in record numbers.
- Automotive Industry Finally Gets It – Major carmakers are bringing us more fuel-efficient and hybrid vehicles, with plans to launch plug-in hybrids soon.
- Planes, Trains, Trucks, and Ships are Going Green Too – Other players in the transportation sector are also implementing eco-efficient tech to reduce their environmental impact.
- Green Marketing/Greenwashing – Just as companies are increasingly catering to the "green consumer," mainstream consumers are increasingly skeptical of such claims.
- Toxic Product Reduction – Manufacturers and retailers faced a public backlash this year concerning toxic materials in their products. As such, they are making amends to reduce or eliminate them in future production.
- E-waste – The computing industry got serious this year about energy use and disposal problems associated with technology.
- Big Companies Get Real about Sustainability – More Fortune 500 businesses announced plans to incorporate company-wide initiatives to engender smarter resource use.
- Green Buildings Skyrocket – Green buildings become the norm in major urban centers across the nation.
- Banks Pull Out of "Dirty Investments" – Shareholder activism pressure large banks to invest in clean energy production instead.
- "Zero" is Where It’s At – "Zero-waste," "zero-carbon," and "zero-emissions," are the rallying cries from the new initiatives emerging from the corporate sector.
This ambitious effort to analyze green business trends provides a much-needed perspective on the field.
The overall results?
Major businesses have made commendable strides towards streamlining their business strategies with an environmentally sustainable focus over the last year. However, it remains to be seen whether, in fact, these approaches are making a difference to the environment. Insufficient data exists as of yet to make conclusive claims about the efficacy of these programs in the aggregate.
This leads to a mixed verdict, "Companies are getting cleaner and more efficient, but only incrementally, and many of the gains are offset by the ever-growing economy."
The report looks at more sector-specific trends over the next week, we will shed light on some of the factors hindering further "conscious capitalism" evolution.