Green Initiatives Present New Challenges

The biggest challenges for companies trying to become green include figuring out how to measure what they do, and integrating lean initiatives with other forms of improvement.

Adam Zak, head of Adam Zak Executive Search, offered those thoughts when I spoke with him recently.

Adam’s experience is in recruiting people to fill lean jobs, not in overseeing environmental initiatives. But he knows a lot about how companies are run – and he sees what is happening today.

“Lean and green are becoming intimately intertwined, although most companies haven’t figured out that by doing lean they are achieving green objectives – because they haven’t figured out how to measure green,” he says. “What people are struggling with is, what do you measure and how do you measure green, and how do you define that?”

Equally important, if not more so, Adam believes, is the way different efforts are disconnected.

He comments, “What I’m seeing, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg, is that people are trying to figure out how to meet what used be variety of objectives. They are telling me they are doing green over here, lean over here, and there is a third silo, product innovation or R&D. They are all using language that is similar and should be connected.”

Growing numbers of companies have a person with the title of CSO – Chief Sustainability Officer. But Adam argues that “We should be creating a new breed of CSO who has his fingers or hands on the levers of the lean activity, the innovation active, and the green activity.”

Do you agree? What is your company’s experience with pursuing green initiatives? Post your comments below.


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