What Color is Your Bottom Line?

LCT Magazine
Posted on February 15, 2008
By Camella Lobo
These days it seems everyone is going green, from big corporations like Starbucks, S.C. Johnson, and the Big 3 in Detroit, all the way down to the local mom and pop. Seems the world has discovered that showing one’s true colors — as long as those colors happen to be in any variation of emerald, sage, chartreuse, olive, or jade — is the ticket to “going green” in the pocket.
But what does this influx of hybrid technology, energy-efficient, hydrogen-powered, fuel cell, and eco-friendly gobbledygook really mean when it comes to surpassing fickle trends and running a truly sustainable (and profitable) business model in the ground transportation industry? 
There are a few noteworthy trends that have evolved over the past couple of years, along with the intensity of the so-called green effort, which at this point seems to be more of a marketing ploy than a genuine concern for the environment. We know what kind of green most people are interested in… We live in a capitalist society for goodness sake! That’s okay.
What has surfaced through all of this hoopla, regardless of whether it’s all hype or the real deal, is a more conscious consumer — there’s absolutely no arguing that one.
It is your responsibility, that is, if you want to see some cash flow, to respond to those ecologically motivated buyers. And you won’t get the business of this growing segment without being green yourself.
Still, 57% of respondents to a recent LCT web poll said they’re waiting to see how the green thing pans out and a whopping 15% don’t believe the hype at all. Really?
Whether or not this movement is all a fad or a new revolution in global consciousness, there’s another company right behind yours, a green one no less, that will get their business… by way of an ad printed on recycled, acid-free, biodegradable paper made from hemp, that is.
Alright, let’s not exaggerate here but these are some of the biggest opportunities for operators looking to go green.  
FACT: Companies are adding sustainable vehicles to their fleets but does having one hybrid really make you a green company?
This is a tough one. The answer most obvious to me would be “no.” But this also depends on who you’re asking. In the eyes of the green consumer, who is slowly but surely becoming savvy at detecting this gimmick, I would say they’ll catch on at some point… It’s just a matter of time before hybrids, hydrogen-powered, and diesel vehicles are the norm. Just take into account the recent White House passage of a bill mandating all vehicles on the road get 35 mpg by 2020.
Since we probably want the Earth to be around a little bit longer, we need to think on a more long-term scale.
FACT: Companies are developing long term solutions for sustainability and implementing them into their business models.
It’s very simple —they  recycle, conserve, and sustain. There are very easy methods of sustainability that companies all over have implemented in their facilities. Some use energy saving light bulbs and some have gone paperless. Others have enacted strict policies with chauffeurs against idling. These are real, concrete ways to go green from the bottom up. And every little bit helps. 
FACT: The act of purchasing carbon credits to cleanse a company’s eco-karma feels very similar to sinners purchasing indulgences to get into heaven.
But it could work in a roundabout sort of way, which is what companies who are interested in reducing their carbon footprints are praying for. The jury’s out as to whether or not this has any real impact on global warming and if it does, how does one even go about measuring that? Are you a green company just because you’re paying for it? You be the judge.
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