Profile: Jon Dee
Businesses which have yet to take their first environmental steps, may soon have no choice, warns Jon Dee. Research shows the public expects business to become more sustainable and they want companies to ‘green up’ the goods that they sell. Lessons for business and how market leaders have responded are all part of what Jon will be sharing when he delivers his keynote presentation at the upcoming Destino Australia Sustainable Tourism conference in Melbourne (19 & 20 July).
Money really does grow on trees, according to environmental entrepreneur Jon Dee.
In these post-GFC days, most business execs are looking for ways to fatten the bottom line. Although most are aware that there’s a need to reduce their organisation’s environmental footprint, they’re too caught up in daily management to think about ways to help the environment as part of their day-to day operations.
What they fail to realise is that by making changes to their operational practices today, they’d be doing more with less. As a result, they’d be improving their environmental efficiency while having a positive impact on the triple bottom line.
In researching his book ‘Sustainable Growth’, author, environmentalist and entrepreneur Jon Dee found that most business execs have a genuine willingness to act. What they lacked was the confidence to move forward. Unless they were directly impacted by environmental regulations or were operating within a fragile ecosystem, most lacked even the most basic understanding of how to implement environmental management practices in their business.
Most were also totally unaware of how much money could be saved by making these changes to daily operations. The obvious fact that saving energy, using fewer resources and finding new ways to do more with less would be a good business strategy had been overlooked in the face of just keeping afloat when times got tough.
“For those businesses who’ve yet to take their first environmental steps, we’re moving to a stage where they may have no choice”, warns Jon. “Research shows that the public expect business to become more sustainable and they want companies to ‘green up’ the goods that they sell.”
One positive effect of a constrained economy is that solutions to improve operational efficiencies are now increasingly in demand. As business sustainability gathers momentum across the world, Australian SMEs are discovering that companies with a strong environmental stance are giving preference to doing business with like-minded companies that can demonstrate they’re applying internationally recognised sustainability standards.
A quick look at how retail giants such as WalMart responded to pressure to become more environmentally friendly shows how change can have a ripple effect all the way down the supply chain and make or break your business.
Back in October 2005, CEO Lee Scott presented an environmental plan to boost energy efficiency, increase organic food sales, and reduce waste and greenhouse gases emissions. He told reporters that the world’s largest retailer had to be a “good steward for the environment” and believed that adopting greener practices would also be good for business by cutting costs.
Marks & Spencer has also enacted very proactive sustainable procurement policies. Under their Plan A initiative, they proactively engaged suppliers by asking them direct questions about how they’re reducing the environmental impact of the goods and services that they supply. Many other companies are now taking a similar approach. Failure by suppliers to respond proactively to such sustainability enquiries could likely undermine their ability to remain as suppliers to such businesses.
Lessons such as these and how market leaders have responded are small examples of the knowledge Jon will be sharing when he delivers his keynote presentation at the upcoming Destino Australia Sustainable Tourism conference in Melbourne (19 & 20 July).
As the Founder of Do Something!, Planet Ark and ‘World Environment News’, some of Jon’s initiatives have become role models for international change. In Australia, Jon initiated the successful lobbying campaign for the 3 year phase-out of incandescent light globes; a move that has since been copied by other countries. He has also spearheaded the highly successful media campaign to phase-out Australia’s usage of plastic bags. In recognition of these efforts, Jon has been named NSW Australian of the Year.
The schedule of speakers for the Destino event includes many who are at the forefront of sustainable tourism. They are not scientists, sales people or venture capitalists, but rather, engineers, general managers, operations managers and auditors.
It’s people such as these who are responsible for implementing change and strategising the best ways to position their organisations for growth in a carbon-constrained economy. They offer first-hand accounts of how to take a hands-on approach to managing your company’s environmental footprint and increasing efficiencies without breaking the bank in the process
You can hear Jon Dee and other speakers at the Destino Australia Sustainable Tourism conference in Melbourne (19 & 20 July).
Tickets for Destino Australia start at just $70 (plus GST).