From a high-level perspective, partnerships become more sustainable for corporations when the very nature of collaboration is mutually beneficial. No one company has to re-invent the wheel and can also leverage dollars across multiple channels. Partnerships within industries reinforce the idea that GREEN is not a competitive advantage, but a collective movement where we are all stakeholders in the outcome.
Back in the Fall, I wrote a blog entry encouraging Corporate leaders to continue investing in sustainable initiatives despite – or perhaps it’s in spite of – this tough economy. In this regard, we are at a critical point: as our economy begins the healing process and a new administration begins its work in Washington, both corporate and personal lives will have a tendency to return to “status quo.” Here is where creativity is critical. In the worst – and the best – of times, we must remain committed to sustainability. And in order to engage our customers and employees in a more human approach to how we do business, partnerships and collaboration are more pivotal now than ever before.
A great example of a company leading collaboration for the benefit of sustainability is EcoScorecard (http://ecoscorecard.com). This technology was developed by a group of innovators who saw the need for an online solution to make environmental building much easier. In fact, this tool is a calculator of sorts, which quickly reviews an architect or designers’ products and project needs. It then calculates and lists all available products and their environmental specifications across multiple “green” rating system – the most significant one being the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
This tool was born out of a need for interior finishing manufacturers (furniture, flooring, lighting, etc…) to easily access a simple tool to help make life easier – their own and that of their customers. It reduces sample production and shipping. It reduces multiple phone calls for sales reps. It reduces paperwork. And it saves time and money. The collaborative nature of the tool brings all players in the interiors space into a collective “green” world – providing one-stop shopping for specifying “green” for sustainable building projects. Eventually, we would love to see this tool expand across all product needs for the green building architect.
A new year for many is a time for reflection, but also a time to look forward to a fresh start. I’m sure you share in my hope that 2009 brings health, happiness and wealth for all. I encourage each of us to look at how we can incite our partners (both internal and external) to transition our core business operations to become more sustainable – decreasing a dependency on materials and increasing our time. In these types of partnerships, we offer solutions to maximize efficiency, and efficiency means less time and less money. This is sustainability. Additionally, when costs are shared and not taken on entirely by one side of the equations, we all win. But when the economy rights itself and all is good in the world again, our sustainable initiatives shouldn’t stop or even lessen – they should continue to grow. Our future depends on it.