Sustainability in Business Continuity and Emergency Management – Going Green

Hmmmm, the last blog I posted was on Christmas Eve when the tornados tore through St. Louis, MO.  Today, as I’m posting this blog we are in the early stages of a huge winter storm.  Is it me or what?

Well, despite all of the ice and snow,  I’m seeing green.

No, there’s nothing wrong with my vision as I recently had my eyes checked.  And no, Spring certainly hasn’t sprung quite yet here in the Midwest, although I am quite anxious for warmer weather and no snow.

The “green” I’m seeing is environmental sustainability.

For many years now we’ve heard about “going green”.  At work and at home, we’re encouraged to recycle in an effort to protect the environment.  In the private sector, businesses are establishing formal sustainability projects and organizations.  In the public sector, governmental agencies are addressing many of the same initiatives as their private sector counterparts.  Many of these initiatives in either sector are taking place within in the technology side, and more specifically in the IT arena.  Some examples include data center design, server consolidation, strategies and tactics to reduce power, water, and HVAC consumption.

As Jonathan Estes points out in his book “Smart Green – How to Implement Sustainable Business Practices in Any Industry and Make Money”  (www.smartgreenbusiness.com/press/smart-green/ ) the word “sustainable” is used a lot these days but do we all have a common understanding of what “sustainable” means?  Estes says in its simplest form sustainable practices are those that allow the present generation to meet their needs without adversely affecting the ability of future generations to do the same.  Furthermore, it includes at least three main components 1) people, 2) the planet, and 3) profits.

I was in a meeting several days ago with a few professionals that work in the developing field of sustainability.  As we were talking, I began to reflect on the impact sustainability has on business continuity and emergency management.  Surprisingly, there are many touch points that offer synergy between these fields.  And more importantly, I believe there are many more opportunities available in which we can improve sustainability through our business continuity / emergency management efforts and vice versa.

Emergency management professionals have long recognized how vital it is to protect the environment.  So much so that it’s the second of three priorities that are adhered to consistently, right between the protection of life and the protection of property.

Additionally, emergency managers (and business continuity professionals) are often faced with resource management issues.  Issues where response and recovery goals and tasks must be accomplished with resources that are limited in supply – resources that can’t afford to be wasted. 

Business Continuity and Emergency Management professionals can become leaders of change when it comes to sustainability.  Given the extraordinary challenges associated with going green, extraordinary leadership is required.

As we continue on the business continuity and emergency management path, we need to ask the question “how does what I’m doing positively impact our sustainability?”  We need to ask this when we are:

  • managing projects
  • conducting Risk and Business Impact Analysis
  • developing recovery strategies
  • planning
  • exercising
  • training and creating awareness
  • responding to events
  • recovering from events
  • basically, in everything we do

By asking a strategic question such as this, we can then look for opportunities in which to implement “green” strategies that will not only protect our businesses and communities but our environment as well.

On the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website, (www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/businesses.html ) the EPA points out that “Leading businesses and corporations are evaluated on many aspects of their performance, including product quality, ethics or standing in the community. These businesses can provide a powerful example promoting greenhouse gas reduction strategies through corporate incentives such as financial assistance for employees who use public transportation, car-pooling and even telecommuting. Other “green” practices such as recycling and purchasing recycled materials also contribute to emissions reductions. Corporate policies involving employees and day-to-day operations can have a positive impact on the climate in and outside the office”.

In a future blog, I plan to “recycle” this piece and further expand upon the relationship of sustainability, business continuity, and emergency management.  So stay tuned.

TIP: This one is fun and the tie-in to sustainability is “regifting”.  Go to the following website  and try this out:   www.regiftable.com/regiftingrobinpopup.html

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One Response to Sustainability in Business Continuity and Emergency Management – Going Green

  1. recycle says:

    Thanks for this great read. More and more businesses too

    are going green, which is truly a welcome news for

    environmentalist out there. An example of this is the

    owner of the San Diego Sports Arena, shown here in a video

    interview with GreenopolisTV. Check it out.

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