Being less bad is like complying with the law — NOT ENOUGH

Being a little less eco-nasty is not good enough.

Your company needs to do something good.

Every day, I talk to business people about the importance of being thoughtful about people, communities and the environment. 

In other words, it is not a single idea: It is a thousand little ideas that design or redesign how we do business. 

When we say, "let's reduce air pollution by a few %", that's just a start in the right direction.  It's being a little less bad.  When you suggest, instead, "let's also invest in air scrubber technology to restore the environment", you are putting something in the plus column.  That's a balanced eco-portfolio.

Take American Express.  They've been reducing their carbon impact over the last few years with some marketing and billing redesigns.  They've also launched a "Root For Our City" promotion that plants trees in eight major cities.  This is adding something back!  Again, balanced.

One of the key messages of the must-read book Cradle To Cradle is that "being less bad is no good".  It's not the right design intention.  The authors point out that the reason companies often harm society (people, communities, environment) is that they don't design with them in mind.  Every time that Aveda designs hair care products, they build them to have little impact and zero waste.  It's right up there with form, function and fashion. 

Ray Anderson, founder of Interface Inc. says that complying with environmental law is "being as bad as the law will allow."  Not good enough.  Again, there's no positive intentions going on — just avoiding law suits. 

If we treat the natural environment like our #1 (and most vocal) shareholder, we'll change the way we do EVERYTHING at work.  Are you ready to make that leap.  As Horst Rechelbacher, founder of Aveda told his people, "Report to the planet!".