Green Managers Turn Others Green!

According to a report prepared by Lehman Brothers, “global warming is all set to melt down the global economy”: and India would be among the worst sufferers. Not surprisingly, management schools have begun to produce green managers who are expected to not only take care of such specific issues as trade in carbon emissions, but also, better handle the environmental and social costs of doing business in an increasingly environmentally endangered planet. What is green management all about? This article seeks to answer this question.

With many large Indian corporate groups such as Reliance, Tata Steel and Jindal Steel set to enter the global “carbon emissions market,”: IIM Lucknow has already introduced a new course to equip future managers with fundamental knowledge of the intricacies of these markets and their potential.

“The Economic Times”:,prtpage-1.cms has reported that according to analysts India can generate 248 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent or certified emission reduction (CER) units per year, including 78 million tones from land-use and plantation projects.

These analysts also say that India can annually make around $2,000 million in the clean development mechanism (CDM) projects. The country currently accounts for just 13.72% of the global CDM market and there is tremendous potential for companies to grow in this segment.

Apart from a study of carbon markets, the course will focus on how businesses can move beyond an approach that seeks to minimise environmental impacts to strategies that seek to proactively manage various environmental issues.
The move to train management students to make them green managers was pioneered by Prof John Stayton of Dominican University of California. Presently there are “several universities in the US”: offering “Green MBAs”.

Interestingly, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has probably become the first government in the world to actively encourage all industries to appoint Green Managers and a Green Committee. The ideas being pushed by the Hong Kong government is highly illuminative. Here is a brief overview:
According to the “Environment Protection Department of the HK government,”: a Green Manager can help in the following aspects :

* Cost savings opportunities and increased competitiveness – Companies that are putting in place “green” measures find that these measures pay for themselves through cost-savings, and hence improve the competitiveness of the business.

* Improve corporate image and market position – The association of the company’s name and logo with events, publications and projects that are focused on protecting the environment can contribute to an improved corporate image and market position.

* Business development and market entry – A good track record of environmental responsibility is increasingly important to operate business in new markets and overcome the ” environmental barrier ” to trade created by stricter environmental standards and new legislation.

* The appointment of a Green Manager will provide a focal point for all environmental initiatives to be co-ordinated, sustained, reviewed and strengthened. It is an effective and fundamental step to integrate environmental elements into your business success :


* Develop a sustainable industry – A Green Manager provides a contact point for sharing environmental information.

* A Senior Executive preferably at director level should be made the Green Manager, because:
# He has sufficient influence on the management’s decision to implement an environmental policy.
# He has sufficient authority to put the policy into action within the company / corporation.
# He has sufficient familiarity with the operations of different departments within the company / corporation.

* The Green Manager should preferably get technical support because the Green Manager is responsible for the overall management of the environmental performance of the company / corporation. The actual development and implementation of related measures will be more effective if the Green Manager has the support from the technical departments or assistance from outside experts, particularly during the initial stage.

* The organizational relationship of the Green Manager with others in the company should be as follows:


* The GMC may be formed by representatives from different functional operations / divisions of a company / corporation and the GET may be formed either to investigate or work on particular environmental issues. There is no fixed rule and the exact organizational set-up should be modified to suit different organizational need and size of a company / corporation.

* The following steps have to be taken to appoint the Green Manager:
# *The First Step:* Put up an agenda item “Appointment of Green Manager” for discussion at the next Board of Directors’ meeting.
# *The Next Step:* Obtain the endorsement and support from the Board of Directors.
# *The Major Step:* Appoint a senior executive or director to be the Green Manager and inform all staff of the appointment.
# *The Additional Step:* Start to form a Green Management Committee.

* To get started the Green Manager’s duties initially will include the following:

# Determine appropriate technical and organizational support.
# Formulate an environmental policy for the company / corporation.
# Introduce measures to increase staff consciousness and involvement in relation to environmental issues.
# Implement a program of green housekeeping measures; and
# Publicize the commitment to protect the environment, formulate action plans and record achievements.

Incidentally, studies show that not only large corporations but even small business units show a “positive correlation between environmental and financial performance.”: That is, the greener a business unit, the more chances that it will do financially well too!

For Indian business units, the writing on the wall seems clear and unambiguous: Go Green!

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