Keeping Current on Green Management

Last Updated Jun 18, 2008 11:45 AM EDT

What does it mean to be a "green" manager? How about a green company? What is a green product, really? Will customers pay more for environmentally sensitive goods?

These tough questions are under discussion at a new Harvard Business blog series called Leading Green. It's a valuable one-stop-shop for business people to stay current on the topic, as well as for contributing your own insights and experiences.

Some recent entries:

What is the DNA of the Green Corporation?
"What principles of management does the green revolution demand that we inject into the rusting DNA of the industrial-era firm?

When Clorox Goes Green, Tough Questions Emerge
"While a company may be confident that interest in carbon-friendly products and services is on the rise, what can it really understand about this rapidly developing market?"

Conflicted Consumers
"It may be true that we're not that green yet, but there's something more important and subtle going on beneath the surface: the rise of the 'conflicted consumer.'"

How Tiny Trash Bins Create Big Change
"An overwhelming majority of employees say that it's at least 'somewhat important' that their employers offer green programs. So why do so many fail to participate in them?"

Green At The Core
I enjoyed Umair Hague's post on the DNA of the green corporation. His take: To effectively produce green goods and services, the modern corporation has to change its core beliefs and structure. Says he:

Even if we invent magical new green technologies, without new principles of management, we'll just end up where we are today in the very near future: history will repeat itself. Making green itself sustainable means putting it not just into technology â€" but into our DNA.

... Without new DNA, green will continue to be what it is to too many boardrooms: either greenwashing via marketing, or an opportunistic source of near-term bargaining power. In neither case will companies be able to discover next-generation sources of advantage by getting authentically green.

If you were building a green company from scratch today, what would you bake into its DNA?
  • Sean Silverthorne

    Sean Silverthorne is the editor of HBS Working Knowledge, which provides a first look at the research and ideas of Harvard Business School faculty. Working Knowledge, which won a Webby award in 2007, currently records 4 million unique visitors a year. He has been with HBS since 2001.

    Silverthorne has 28 years experience in print and online journalism. Before arriving at HBS, he was a senior editor at CNET and executive editor of ZDNET News. While at At Ziff-Davis, Silverthorne also worked on the daily technology TV show The Site, and was a senior editor at PC Week Inside, which chronicled the business of the technology industry. He has held several reporting and editing roles on a variety of newspapers, and was Investor Business Daily's first journalist based in Silicon Valley.