Andrew Winston, author of the newly released Green Recovery, and co-author of Green to Gold, knows green business. More than an author and the founder of Winston Eco-Strategies, Winston’s expertise on green-collar work runs deep, with appearances and speaking engagements too numerous to list. He talked with 1-800-RECYCLING about the lifestyle and mindset. 1-800-RECYCLING: Your stance on green is from a business perspective, but what simple advice can you give those that are just now becoming interested in the lifestyle? Andrew Winston: The advice for simple things individuals can do is still the same stuff it’s been for years. Try to drive less and combine trips, turn off lights when you leave the room, change the light bulbs to compact fluorescents, unplug things that are off but are still drawing power, put your computer to sleep when you’re not on it and, of course, recycle as much as you can — and BUY recycled content products (recycled paper products for example). The next level up in effort: Get Energy Star appliances, buy a hybrid car, get an energy audit of your home (many utilities pay for these, and I reduced air loss in the house 15%, all from a simple review that led to caulking that an engineering firm did, paid by the utility), and finally, eat less meat. That’s the hardest for people to hear, but it likely has the largest impact. You don’t have to go vegetarian, but reduce meat to save an enormous amount of energy, water and waste. 1-800-RECYCLING: Your book, Green Recovery, focuses on going green during these tough economic times. Can you give our readers who haven’t picked up your book a quick tip on green living in a slumping economy? Andrew Winston: Here’s my take from a business perspective: Many companies have slowed their green initiatives in the downturn – this is a big mistake. It’s a common misconception that green equals cost. Combine that with a recession that has slashed everyone’s spending and budgets, and you get a seeming logic to stop all environmental activities. But, going green doesn’t raise costs — it lowers them. Seeing your business through an environmental lens drives innovation as well. On top of that, nearly all of the driving forces behind the green wave of pressure on companies have not slowed down. The greening of the supply chain has accelerated, with companies like Walmart taking the lead. Consumers have continued to evolve and grow more “conflicted” about purchases. Governments around the world are readying legislation and regulation on carbon. In short, this is an amazing opportunity to go green NOW – it will save money, if done right, and prepare a company for a much more resource-constrained, environmentally concerned future. 1-800-RECYCLING: What green measures have you taken (if any) in the printing and distribution of your books? Andrew Winston: It’s not really my measures per se, since that end is up to the publisher, but I encouraged a greener profile. The paper is Forest Stewardship Council certified and the recycled content is 48%. The ink is soy based as well. 1-800-RECYCLING: This site focuses on recycling. In your travels, have you noticed an increased awareness toward recycling? Andrew Winston: Sure. Recycling is the first thing most people think of in terms of going green, so as green discussion has risen, more people are thinking about improving in this area. Businesses like Recyclebank have sprouted up to encourage people as well. 1-800-RECYCLING: You speak often on green practices in business. Since your time as a “greeny,” what has changed? What problems remain? Andrew Winston: The focus of the business community has grown tremendously. It’s no longer a niche discussion to think about going green – nearly every big company has someone focused on green issues and is looking at ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions, at the very least. So, the buy-in is much, much higher. But, the focus of most companies is still fairly narrow. Very few companies see going green as a core strategic issue that needs to be a part of nearly everyone’s job. This is a fundamental shift in how the world works, and most companies aren’t quite ready for the scale of change that’s coming.
Andrew Winston Talks Green Business
Green author and business consultant Andrew Winston talks with 1-800-RECYCLING about greening the workplace.