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Better Ecology Focus Brings More Profits and a Better World
on November 10, 2000
This book deserves more than five stars.
Mr. Anderson has taken an important step forward in leading Interface Corporation towards becoming ecologically neutral. By that phrase, ecologically neutral, I mean taking nothing from and adding nothing to the environment. This concept has become a popular one in Europe beginning in Sweden, in the form of The Natural Step, but has been much more slowly adopted in the United States. Those who are interested in understanding the processes by which a company can pursue improved environmental performance will find many helpful examples in Mid-Course Correction.
What if you don't care about your company's impact on the environment? Mr. Anderson makes a powerful argument based on his experiences at Interface that you should. First, it is much cheaper to produce goods and services if you use less materials and waste less. This means higher profits. Do you care about profits? Second, the pursuit of sustainability attracts many new customers and better supplier relationships. That also means higher profits. Third, people feel better about themselves. Do you like to feel better about yourself? Fourth, perhaps you should rethink your position about the environment. Even if we have enough for now, if we waste it, we are robbing our own descendents at some point of a good quality life. Mr. Anderson describes many cases of where despoilage of nature from overuse has been very expensive and undesirable by anyone's standard.
He also cites many of the leading books on the benefits of an ecologically sustainable business world. In fact, this movement will become a disruptive technology by making those who waste unable to compete with those who do not. Think about it.
To me, the value in the book is in Mr. Anderson's fine example of how to lead towards becoming environmentally sustainable as a company. I have been aware of most of the arguments in favor of this (including The Natural Step), but could not imagine how an American company would go about pursuing this goal. I also could not imagine how it could be reconciled with public ownership of stock. So much for my tiny imagination. Now, with Mr. Anderson's book, I can understand (and so can you) that becoming a sustainable enterprise is simply good business as well as being a good citizen. That will make sense to almost anyone.
After you read this wonderful book, I encourage you to share you copy with another person and ask them to do the same. This message needs to be spread if our companies are to fulfill their potential, and we are to have a world that we can all be proud of and enjoy living in. Then, I urge you to take this one step further, and think about how your family could become an ecologically sustainable unit.
Do good and do well!