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How Harley Could Save Its Milwaukee Home and the Planet

How Harley Could Save Its Milwaukee Home and the Planet

Harley-Davidson may face eviction from its home of Milwaukee, after being there for 107 years, due to unmanageable manufacturing costs. The crisis raises critical questions about the sustainability of old industrial practices and begs the question: Maybe Harley should get with the times and just go green? Well, what we found out may just surprise you.

Harley, which accounts for roughly half the motorcycle market share, actually does incorporate eco-friendly practices into their business, despite not mentioning the environment in any of their stated values on their website. It seems the company may be having an identity crisis, balancing the sexy masculine nature of their product with pressures to go green. As it is, their “green” info is tucked away inside pdfs like their 2009 Sustainability Strategy Report, not necessarily in-your-face branding. That and the fact that profits are actually soaring, despite plunging sales. Again, identity crisis, anyone?

Harley’s current green strategy boils down to reducing “waste, water, energy and related GHG emissions associated with our manufacturing facilities,” according to the report. They’re also a member of the Sol Sustainability Consortium. So what gives? Isn’t “going green” supposed to support the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit? Maybe so, but it either aint enough to save Harley, or the company has to do more.

So, Harley, will returning to mother earth save you or not? Time, or maybe just the Blue Green Alliance, will tell.

[Photo via Harley-Davidson; Homepage photo via flickr/Luciano Meirelles]

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