Once in a while in my graduate school classes I run into a fellow student—always much younger than me…they all are!—who thinks we need to reinvent the world all at once to solve our current problems.
I push back against the “all at once part.” The only time human-made systems ever really change all at once is during revolutions or catastrophes: the violent overthrow of a government, say, or the collapse of a once-thriving company. These events rarely end well.
Most changes—even big ones—occur more gradually. For example, our transition to clean energy, while still in its early stages, is arguably happening at least as fast as any previous energy transition—built one solar array or windmill installation at a time.
Likewise, the electric car revolution. Elon Musk may have led the charge (pardon the pun), but we’re not jumping straight to Star Trek transporters. And Tesla still mostly has to sell one car at a time. (New rival, Rivian, did receive an order for 100,000 electric delivery trucks from Amazon. Good on both parties!)
Do we need to act with urgency to address the climate emergency? Absolutely. But few of us can change our businesses all in one fell swoop. In fact, there’s a lot of talk lately of big companies “greenwashing” by touting Environmental-Social-Governance (ESG) pledges to undertake huge transformations in the long-term future while actually doing little to nothing in the short term.
At Green Street USA, we have set out to turn this paradigm on its head. For us, ESG means Each Step Greener.
We know it’s hard for small and medium-size enterprises to make instant transformational changes to the way they do business. They often face resource challenges just keeping up with current obligations. So we’re not asking you for miracles, just to be a little bit greener—but at every opportunity.
Next time you need to replenish your toilet tissue, make a greener choice. When a landscaping tool breaks, replace it with something greener. Stock your breakroom with healthier options. If you control your electric meter, take 15 minutes—all that is really required—to choose to have renewable energy delivered directly off the grid.
Corporations make pledges. Us small guys? We just do stuff.
According to the Small Business Administration, there are nearly 32 million small businesses in America. If every one of them greened the products they’re already consuming or deploying, the positive impact on our world would be HUGE. Dare I say, it might even be revolutionary.
Just remember: Each. Step. Greener!