Lesson 1: “Green Company”: Definitions and Strategies

A Green Company?

  • Definition: A green company (also: sustainable company or environmentally responsible company ) is an organization that operates with a commitment to minimizing its negative impact on the environment while maximizing its positive impact on society.
  • Environmental Practices: These companies can achieve this through practices such as renewable energy, reducing pollution and waste, conserving resources, and promoting sustainability.
  • Social Responsibility: They also focus on ethical business practices like fair labor and contributing to local communities.
  • Motivation: Companies are motivated to mitigate environmental and social risks and align with customer preferences and regulatory requirements. Environmental and social responsibility can also be seen as a business opportunity.
  • Sustainability in Standard Operating Procedures: Going green requires adding roles like sustainability experts and boards, and creating additional accountability structures.
  • Impact on Daily Operations: Day-to-day operations such as going paperless, reducing waste, and changing hiring practices and wages may be impacted.
  • Strategic Decisions: Decisions around supply chains, investments, and potential business partners and customer groups may also be impacted by going green.

How to become a Green Company

  1. Conduct a sustainability assessment: The first step in becoming a sustainable company is to assess your current environmental and social impact. This assessment will help you identify areas where you can improve your sustainability practices and set goals for improvement.
  2. Develop a sustainability strategy: Once you have identified areas for improvement, develop a sustainability strategy that outlines your goals, targets, and initiatives. Your strategy should focus on reducing your environmental impact, improving your social responsibility, and enhancing your economic performance.
  3. Engage with stakeholders: Engage with your stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and local communities, to understand their sustainability concerns and priorities. This will help you develop a sustainability strategy that aligns with their expectations and values.
  4. Implement sustainable practices: Implement sustainable practices that reduce your environmental impact, such as reducing energy and water consumption, using renewable energy sources, and reducing waste. Also, consider improving your social responsibility by adopting fair labor practices, promoting diversity and inclusion, and supporting local communities.
  5. Monitor and measure progress: Regularly monitor and measure your sustainability progress using key performance indicators (KPIs). This will help you track your performance, identify areas for improvement, and communicate your progress to stakeholders.
  6. Communicate your sustainability performance: Communicate your sustainability performance to stakeholders through sustainability reports, websites, and other channels. This will help you build trust with stakeholders, improve your reputation, and attract new customers and investors.

Potential strategies for different impacts within a company

Short-Term Mid-Term Long-Term

Conduct a sustainability audit

Implement green procurement policies

Set long-term sustainability goals

Switch to renewable energy

Develop sustainable products or services

Invest in research and development

Reduce waste

Adopt sustainable business practices / A sustainability plan

Collaborate with stakeholders

Add sustainability roles to your organization

Establish larger Corporate Sustainability structures

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the National Agency and Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.