Topics: Sustainability vs Profitability
on General Discussion
Sustainability vs Profitability
At what point should one draw a line between sustainability and profitability? Businesses are run to make profit, but what is the purpose if we retire into a world in which we can hardly breathe?
03-26-2014 05:09 AM
Do you want to remember your life as enjoying living or as sustaining surviving?
03-26-2014 07:15 AM
I think this question should be addressed to politicians. The sooner they provide free taxes areas for green industries the quicker businessmen will decrease the emission level (also by paying for the R/D teams to find new ways to develop more "green" technologies)
03-26-2014 10:11 AM
Definitely enjoy living.
Let me rephrase the question: Is there a criteria which could be used; say; a certain profit percentage or a certain turnover being reached before sustainability is looked into. In-fact as green engineers and builders have demonstrated in various cases, the most famous being "The Empire State Building", Sustainability precedes and produces profits.
03-26-2014 12:17 PM
I think that you also have to look at what point does what you're doing not maximize profit due to the negative impact it is having.. Granted you have to reach a certain echelon of profit for that to not really matter, ex: Exxon having enough money to bail itself out of many of the environmental fines they have received. But for most, especially independent/smaller businesses, something like an environmental fine/legal case can easily cause them to go bankrupt.
It is definitely a balance, sustainability always has been, but I think that with the rise of Corporate Social Responsibility and social entrepreneurship, which are designed to help combat/fix a problem, not just maximize profit, I think you will see the pendulum swinging more towards looking into sustainability as an equal to profit.
And when it comes to Green Buildings Gopal, profit and sustainability are to intimately intwined...having a more energy efficient building helps save money and maximize profit...having a company that develops green inter-office initiatives also saves money with their conservation.
03-26-2014 02:26 PM
MS. Campbell, how can we improve the efficiency of existing buildings. The most important factor is the ROI. What would the cost to retrofit a 80x100 sq, 20 year old building?
03-26-2014 05:19 PM
Gopal, that depends on what type of retrofitting you're trying to do. There are going to be local and federal code to abide by. Here in Cincinnati for example, many of our new green buildings are retrofitted, but because they are in a historical district, there are rules and code one must follow when retrofitting or remodeling..
There are several third party verification systems, LEED being the most internationally prominent, that help with improving efficiency; and stating that ROI is the most important factor is an assumption. As an individual looking to purchase, gut, and retrofit my own green home, ROI isn't my most important point, having the least amount of environmental impact is... again, the most important factor in my experience has been up to the Project owner.
New HVAC systems help with efficiency, utilizing renewable energy sources help with efficiency, insulation helps with efficiency; I know I'm not telling you something you don't already know. I work in the greenest office in the city, the building is almost 200 years old. Our energy efficiency is considered "Platinum" by LEED standards.
Your question is quite open ended and dependent on many variables. I think it comes down to how much up front investment your project owner is willing to make; hell, if they are open to retrofitting their building with geothermal, there could be a high up front cost, with an ROI in 10 years or so...depending on local utility costs, the viability of implementing geothermal, etc..
If you're focused only existing buildings, HVAC systems are where to begin with efficiency, as well as insulation and energy sources...
03-26-2014 07:39 PM
Where did last 4-day discussion go?
03-26-2014 10:21 PM
Actually many companies worldwide only try to increase profits regardless of the damage they may cause to the environment, so that only governments can curb these damages through penalty for the damage they cause.
03-27-2014 12:41 AM
Sustainability is a political concept. Profitability is a economic concept. Only to the point that sustainability improves profitability through some mechanism such as efficiency are they at all compatible. That's assuming the cost of efficiency doesn't out weigh the benefits.
03-27-2014 03:22 AM
If supposed efficiency improving measures are cost prohibitive, they are not efficient.