The Initiative for Green Habitats represents a long term commitment towards providing solutions for the creation of Sustainable Built Environments. This blog attempts to provide an insight to our views, commentaries on our work, ideas that we are working on, and provoke thought where there are more questions than answers.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How Green ‘is’ my valley

At what point in its development does a product become Green? Does adding a rainwater harvesting system to a building make it a Green building? Would using a small amount of recycled materials to a larger mix of inputs required to develop an end-product tantamount to it being labelled Green?
Image: renjith krishnan /
This is a subject that questions the edifice upon which companies and their respective product lines are built. Companies should not be able to merely change a process or an input and enjoy the fruits of being in the Green category. As the world focuses its attention on the environmental impact of every product, and even service, the ‘code of ethic’ practised will assume a magnitude of greater importance. Companies and their concomitant industry associations need to pay great attention to this matter so that it can protect its categories and products and command more than a semblance of credibility from consumers and other upholders of civil society.
A simple background research to this article indicated that there are many groups who are concerned and are articulating what their collective Green ethos is. The charter documents of these associations and groups throw much light on how difficult (or easy) it is supposed to be to sit around a ‘green’ conference table with your head held high. Barring the common ones involving recycling, here are a few:
  • Practice Fair Trade
  • Fair treatment of employees
  • Practice energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption
  • Minimize waste in our production processes and in our end product
  • Give back to our communities
  • Be an example of Capitalism with a Conscience
In the quest for mainstreaming Green many such ethical questions will dog us along the way. Merely having a code of ethics will not help the cause. The answer lies in self regulation and an inclination to innovate at every stage to identify the best practices. Too many companies today are way too glib in professing Green without comprehending the full import of their actions. If they will not self-regulate, they run the risk of denigrating the positive aspects of the Green quotient and levelling the playing field for all the pretenders. When this happens companies and their brands will lose the advantage of the Green tag and will find it painstaking to cut through the Green clutter. Taking off on a classic Hollywood film with a similar name, it is our responsibility to examine ‘’How Green ‘is’ my valley?’’

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