Improve your business reputation … go green

According to Fortune magazine, being green is a key discriminator in survey responses as to corporate reputations. That is a serious change in the business world. As Fortune notes,

Consider: In 1982, the year of the first Fortune survey of corporate reputations, green was just the color of money. These days “green” means something more. The three Most Admired Companies this year – General Electric (Charts), Starbucks (Charts), and Toyota (Charts) – are building their growth at least partly on strategies and products aimed at helping preserve the planet.

Over the past 25 years, the world has changed. Two companies from the 1982 list (Johnson & Johnson, and General Electric) are still in the top ten (of the “Top 20 Most Admired Companies“. Both of them have focused on ‘going green’.

In true Intelligent Design of their futures,

The handful of companies that have consistently won the applause of their peers over this quarter-century have adapted to the changing environment in ways that Darwin never dreamed of, and they plan to keep it up. As even the Bush administration reluctantly acknowledges that hydrocarbon emissions may be imperiling the planet, many of the Most Admired Companies are busy figuring out ways to think green and garner more greenbacks too.

And, while “garnering more greenbacks” through energy savings, increased productivity, increased sales, these companies are also garnering increasing respect and improved reputations. “It’s no coincidence that the top three companies on the list are among the most vocal about how green they are.”

General Electric, on top for the seventh time, is described as follows:

GE’s much-publicized “Ecomagination” campaign is aimed at supercharging revenues while doubling its $700 million R&D budget to come up with solar-energy hybrid locomotives, lower-emission aircraft engines, more efficient lighting, and ever more sophisticated water-purification systems. Evidently conservation begins at home: GE cut its own energy bills by about $70 million last year, partly by installing new lighting in more than 100 of its plants, and reduced its greenhouse-gas emissions by about 150,000 tons.

$70 million in energy bill savings. Now, that is starting to make a real mark.

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