Best Management Practices for Green Businesses – Collaboration
Best Management Practices (BMPs) are methods that organizations use to manage their impact on the natural environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains a website of helpful information about BMPs (EPA.gov/ne/assistance/univ/bmpcatalog.html). These practices are useful for owners of small and medium-sized businesses (SMB). One publication by Harvard University and the EPA’s New England Division illustrates the value of BMPs. In this publication on Preparedness and Security, Harvard University discusses the workings of the Cambridge Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). The key concept behind this committee is collaboration.
Collaboration and Your Company Culture
A 2002 Corporate Values Survey by the American Management Association (AMA) revealed several insights related to collaboration and company culture. The #1 corporate value stated by AMA survey respondents was customer satisfaction (77%). Other company values related to collaboration reported were teamwork (47%), positive work environment (42%), and social responsibility (33%).
Your focus on building environmental management into the company culture will depend upon creating a positive environment. Employees will use teamwork to establish and accomplish environmental goals, an important aspect of social responsibility.
- Collaboration is a BMP to help your organization accomplish business goals more effectively such as coordination of environmental management activities. The idea of getting people to work together toward the achievement of common goals is a core concept of management. If you cannot achieve collaboration and goal achievement, it will be hard to manage with green business principles.
- Collaboration begins with getting employees to subscribe to a green business model. Employees are strong resources for achieving objectives and making sure company operations run smoothly. Their contributions to writing an environmental management plan and carrying out its objectives are crucial to green business management. You can make employee participation in environmental management planning mandatory or voluntary depending on your management style. To make participation mandatory, consider writing environmental duties into job descriptions and holding employees accountable through the evaluation process.
- Collaboration works best in a positive company culture. Integrate other aspects of your management program with the goal of becoming a greener business. For example, your personnel, financial, and customer-driven practices affect company culture. How much have you paid attention to the total management approach toward creating a positive culture lately? Hopefully, you are satisfied with your answer. If you built the company from the ground up, your personal stake in the company culture is huge. Look for HR and management strategies that help you to build a better culture around sustainable business practices.
- Collaboration is an ongoing process. Once you establish a desirable culture with a green focus, ensure that employees maintain a focus on environmental collaboration. For example, this means including in policies and procedures periodic updates for the environmental management plan, recognition for employees who save resources like energy, and being accountable to your consumers for your environmental impact.
Positive outcomes of collaborative environmental management include other rewards for your business. Use the concept of collaboration in all areas of the business to manage your workforce. When you are not sure how to go about it, consider enrolling in management development courses or seminars from many U.S. training providers, or contact your local small business development center for educational information.
About the Author: JD Carr, CGB - is a serial entrepreneur and consultant with over 14 years experience building Internet and digital media businesses. JD is a Certified Green Broker® and specializes in commercial building sustainability and finance with Greenergy2030.com. A vocal advocate for environmental issues, JD writes and lectures frequently on the subject and is committed to helping entrepreneurs realize the positive goals their organizations can achieve through sustainable business practices.