Understanding Green Business

March 5th, 2008

“Understanding Green Business” was my goal last fall. As i mentioned in Green Abort, it was a project that involved (a) me learning about green, and (b) creating a little web site to share what i learned. As I said, I aborted it, because I realized I’m just too new to the space to say something significant in a website. And being the efficient perfectionist I am, I don’t want to waste time doing what others have already. However, there a few things I learned which I will share with you now.

One of the first things i researched was schools and getting a Green MBA. I realized MBA programs fall in 2 categories – these new green-to-the-core schools, and those from standard schools that integrate “social and environmental stewardship”. For the first, there’s basically 3 – Presidio MBA, Bainbridge MBA, Dominican University of California MBA. These schools are fairly new, so its hard to track how good they are in the traditional sense (practical business knowledge), but they do have a green and sustainability focus built into every class. This is in contrast to the second group of MBA programs, which generally have just a few classes in things like sustainability and green business. Most MBA programs reside in this second group. Instead of listing these (I will say Stanford is number one), I will bow to Beyond Grey Pinstripes ‘Top 100 (way awesome). They do a more thorough job then I could ever do, a must read if you are considering a MBA. After I bit of uncertainty on whether i should goto MBA, I decided to wait.

Around this point I came to differentiate between the Green Movement and Green Business. I volunteered at the Green Festival in San Francisco (November 10, 2007) where I was surrounded by the Green Movement. I’ll define the Green Movement as more grass roots and consumer driven – people buying because “it is green” – organic and/or sustainably produced goods (food, coffee, hybrid cars, etc). Green Business is more business first, green second – about operating a business in a green way, applying standard business practices but always aware of the green impact. These consumers or clients may not even know about the green-ness. For example, a restaurant may recycle their water and buy organic, but you may just go there cuz the food tastes good. These groups do overlap in some areas, but not always. What’s important is that Green Businesses should be able to be competitive with non-green businesses, preferably better in ways besides just “Being Green.” Here I concluded I’m interested in only green business. Maybe I *should* get a green MBA?

The rest of what I learned, and I am still learning, is that there are tons of green sites out there – news/blogs, portals, social networking, business related, etc. I could try to categorize them, but being the thorough guy I am, I wouldn’t want to list a few guys and miss an important one. That said, I will say that all people interested in green business should check out these

That’s it. If you’re really bored, you can check out the unfinished green business site