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Sustainable Business Concepts - Green Productivity
A Quick Introduction to Green Productivity

Green Productivity (GP) is a strategy for simultaneously enhancing productivity and environmental performance for overall socio-economic development that leads to sustained improvement in the quality of human life. It is the combined application of appropriate productivity and environmental management tools, techniques and technologies that reduce the environmental impact of an organization's activities, products and services while enhancing profitability and competitive advantage.

Green productivity is a dynamic strategy to harmonize economic growth and environmental protection for sustainable development. It offers small and medium businesses a way to achieve a competitive advantage by doing better with less. It is thus a practical strategy to increase productivity and protect the environment simultaneously.

Traditional methods of pollution control were not cost-effective. The concept of green productivity assures profitability and resource productivity. Businesses and communities get multiple returns in the form of bottom-line savings, value added products and services, and environmental protection.

Having a good green productivity programme -

  • increases profitability
  • improves health and safety
  • makes quality products
  • promotes environmental protection
  • ensures regulatory compliance
  • enhances company image
  • raises morale
  • leads to sustainable development
Green productivity uses a set of management tools, techniques and technologies to encourage innovation and a continuous cycle of productivity gains. The result is competitive enterprises, preservation of the natural resources, and a better quality of life.

A typical comprehensive green productivity programme has three levels of implementation:

  • Management Systems and Programmes, using ISO 14001/EMS, Total Productive Maintenance, Total Quality Management etc.
  • Green Productivity Techniques, using 3Rs, Housekeeping/5S, Resource Conservation, Product Improvement etc.
  • Green Productivity Tools, using Eco-Mapping, Benchmarking, Control Charts and Check lists etc.

Green Productivity and the WSSD

The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) identified three primary objectives in realizing sustainable development, namely:

  • Efficient productive use of resources
  • Environmental protection
  • Poverty reduction.
Green productivity rooted in the concept of doing more with less, is a crucial strategy in achieving these goals.

A number of the goals of green productivity will help achieve the above objectives of WSSD. These include -

  • Greening the supply chain by leveraging the purchasing power of in the private sector.
  • Water resource management, through innovative approaches to using Earth's most precious resource.
  • Energy efficiency by enhancing the use of renewable resources to reduce costs and emissions
  • Clean development mechanism, as a market tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Solid waste management, by reduction at source, proper treatment and recycling

Source: Asian Productivity Organization (APO)

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