Being Green the Smart Way

by HSG on Aug 09, 2013 in Brain Candy

Businesses “Going Green” is so commonplace now it’s more than just an encouraging a trend; it’s become expected of companies big and small. In fact, consumers frequently place more of an obligation on companies to go green than they do themselves. The last few years—the infancy of what may turn out to be a green revolution—have really proven that there are many ways to go green, and that some of these ways are much more financially sound than others. But rather than providing a cut and dry list of green options and their pros and cons, I’d like to take a look at the bigger picture incentives for businesses going green and how consumers are responding.


Teaching You Tools to Become Empowered
To build a successful business and career, you must always keep up with changes in the IT Marketplace. AWS, Office 365, LinkedIn, Sales Force, SEO, Social Media are just a few examples of where knowledge is a huge factor for success.
Training with HSG addresses your knowledge gaps and provides you with the requisite tools to outpace the competition.

What does it mean to be green?


That’s an important question to ask, because the answer usually varies depending on whom you’re talking to. When exploring reasons for why this may be, I think it’s important to point out a quote by Stanford MBA Aldo King, who, after taking a green marketing seminar in 2009 said, “being green is a process.” Keeping that in mind, a loose but generally accepted definition of green products and practices is that they must be better for the environment than the alternatives to be considered as such.


Though even that seemingly fair definition is only sometimes plausible. Take the example of the Toyota Prius. It’s a green product if the transportation alternative is considered a non-hybrid vehicle that consumes gasoline at a voracious rate, but not if the alternative is a bicycle. This all being said, it should come as no surprise how many different ways there are to go green, and how much the results and financial consequences from doing such can vary.


Case Studies


For example, the city of Durango, Colorado, saved $45,000 a year (40%) by switching back to coal power from renewable energy. Had they not made the switch back, they would have had to lay off employees to afford the renewable power, something that’s, understandably, very difficult to justify for most managers.


On the other hand, Wal-Mart saved $200 million a year in fuel costs by installing generators in its fleet of trucks. They stand to save an additional $3.4 billion by asking their suppliers to reduce packaging by 5%.  Though 5% may not sound like a lot, it makes a big difference when you consider the sheer volume of Wal-Mart’s inventory. Think about how much less space they will take up at landfills now. The move is sure to benefit their bottom line, as their waste-haul bill should be substantially less. And, if Wal-Mart was able to negotiate a lower price from their suppliers based on lesser packaging and then pass the product on to their customers at the same price as before packaging was reduced, they will have increased their margins significantly as well. An interesting article outlining 10 lessons that other businesses can learn from Wal-Mart going green can be read here.




Do Consumers Actually Care?


If the following data on consumer interaction with green products has any correlation to their interaction with green businesses, it would appear that people do care, but only up to a certain point. They are “lukewarm” towards going green, as one report put it. The following statistics come from a July 2012 Ipsos poll conducted with


·         3% of consumers are committed to always buying green

·         6% of consumers are committed to never buying green

·         40% of consumers buy green when they are readily available and there is no big cost difference

·         51% of consumers buy whichever product suits their needs

·         46% of consumers are more likely to buy a product if it is environmentally friendly.

·         59% said they wouldn’t pay more for a product because it is green.


A New York Times article from 2011 corroborated this last bullet, citing a consumer products consultant as saying “Every consumer says, ‘I want to help the environment, I’m looking for eco-friendly products.’ But if it’s one or two pennies higher in price, they’re not going to buy it.”


As one can imagine, this sentiment is even stronger during a recession. In 2008, Clorox released its Green Works product line and saw sales that topped $100 million. In 2011, a year that saw the country still very much limping out of the recession, sales had fallen to around $60 million a year.


One discouraging data point not listed here but included in an AdWeek studyon consumers and green products is that people who are already attuned to corporate environmental responsibility are some of the green movement’s toughest critics, regarding all green product development as nothing but a marketing ploy.


The Green Gap


Unfortunately, as is the case with many things humans say, our desires to go green and help the planet do not match up with our actions. This could stem from a lack in education. For instance, according to the Cone Communications survey mentioned above, 85% of people surveyed think it’s a company’s responsibility to make sure its customers are properly educated on green products’ usages. It’s then no surprise that 71% of people surveyed said that they wished companies would do a better job in communicating environmental terms and benefits.


That’s largely because consumers hold businesses to a higher environmental standard—some might say it’s a double standard—than they hold themselves. Cone Communications’ SVP of Sustainable Business Practices Liz Gorman says “The new green gap is about consumers only taking the idea of responsibility so far, despite feeling responsible for proper use and disposal. They’re buying with the environment in mind, but they rely on the companies to provide access and education to truly close the loop.” This to me is just the manifestation of consumers expecting businesses to be visionaries that lead the way in the energy revolution.


Tangible & Intangible Benefits


This data suggests to me that companies should go green in a way that saves them money long term, not purely to look responsible in the eyes of their customers, customers who probably aren’t going to pay for your products if their being green makes them even a penny or two more expensive. Tax and legal benefits for companies that go green have certainly helped to make negligibly different costs for green products more within reach. There are other kinds of benefits that do not necessarily impact a company’s bottom line, but will give them a sterling reputation in the eyes of environmentalist customers and hopefully make employees feel good about working for a company with sustainable practices. I realize that no skilled CEO or boardroom will ever change their company’s direction strictly for these soft benefits, but they are good to remember as positive consequences that should follow any business’s green commitment.




There will come a point in time when it is a safe bet to produce green products that cost a little more but are friendlier to the planet, because human beings will eventually have to start caring more about their environment than a dollar or two more on a bottle of cleaner. Ideally, green products would be no more expensive than others, but we’re a ways off before that happens.


For now, it seems as though companies are best advised to work on making themselves sustainable in a way that cuts costs and that can me touted in marketing collateral. Just don’t expect your customers to foot any extra costs associated with getting there! 




Questions to answer:


1.      Is the money companies put into being green returned to any degree in the new business they get from advertising this fact?

2.      Is going green worth having to lay off employees so they can afford it?

3.      How much can it cost a business to go green?

4.      Do consumers really care? When, if ever, is a company being green the one factor that makes a consumer choose one company over another?




Going green can pass higher costs onto the consumer, as there isn’t enough “green” infrastructure yet.


Also a large faction of consumers who won’t support companies that go green, for one reason or another.


Greenwashing – the process of lying about how green your business actually is. If uncovered, can lead to widespread customer backlash.




Consumers are generally skeptical of corporations actually going green. This could be because many believe the media has a generally negative point of view when it comes to the environment, as they normally only report on it when things go wrong.




There are plenty of soft benefits to going green, but at the end of the day, all businesses care fist and foremost about the bottom line.


Soft benefits:


Reduced Waste

Improved Workplace



Hard benefits:


 Legal and Tax advantages

Public Response

Reduced Waste




How Wal Mart went green the financially sound way


Saved money through fuel efficiency and packaging, primarily.




easier to go green now before it’s too late and more expensive?




Good breakdown of data showing how much consumers care about green products or service providers. Notable stats:


Purchasing habits:


·         3% committed to always buying green

·         6% committed to never buying green

·         40% when they are readily available and there is no big cost difference

·         51% buy whichever product suits their needs




·         46% are more likely to buy a product if it is environmentally friendly.

·         34% say it doesn’t make a difference

·         59% say they aren’t willing to pay a higher price for green products.

·         41% say they are willing to pay a little more for them.


Psychological Influence


·         57% say they think about environmental impact when making every day purchases.

·         29% admit they sure of the environmental impact of their purchases.


This same study described customers as usually being “lukewarm” towards green companies and products.



Green is a relevant term.


Important to remember that green must be achieved in a way that doesn’t not drastically reduce the quality of a product. The first electric car only had a range of 40 miles.




“consumers expect more from green companies than they do themselves.”


People who are tepid about rewarding virtuous companies could well be energetic about punishing the unvirtuous. 




Good breakdown on the percentage of customers that walk their environmental talk.

other blog entries

Course Directory [training on all levels]

Upcoming Classes
Gain insight and ideas from students with different perspectives and experiences.

Interesting Reads Take a class with us and receive a book of your choosing for 50% off MSRP.

did you know? HSG is one of the foremost training companies in the United States

Information Technology Training that enables companies to build better applications and expertly manage the software development process.

Our courses focus on two areas: the most current and critical object-oriented and component based tools, technologies and languages; and the fundamentals of effective development methodology. Our programs are designed to deliver technology essentials while improving development staff productivity.

Personalized courses for unique business and technology needs

An experienced trainer and faculty member will identify the client's individual training requirements, then adapt and tailor the course appropriately. Our custom training solutions reduce time, risk and cost while keeping development teams motivated. The Hartmann Software Group's faculty consists of veteran software engineers, some of whom currently teach at several Colorado Universities. Our faculty's wealth of knowledge combined with their continued real world consulting experience enables us to produce more effective training programs to ensure our clients receive the highest quality and most relevant instruction available. Instruction is available at client locations or at various training facilities located in the metropolitan Denver area.

Upcoming Classes

consulting services we do what we know ... write software

Design and Development
Application lifecycle management
We generate use cases, UML documentation, architect the system, create an object model, iteratively develop the system, unit and system test and modularize where necessary. These types of engagements are typically longterm and, almost always, incorporate a variety of software technologies.
If you are in need of expertise but only require the assistance of one or two engineers, the Hartmann Software Group can be of help. Instead of procuring talent by way of a placement agency who is likely to contact us, come to the Hartmann Software Group directly. You may realize some savings.
The best way to learn is by doing.

The coaching program integrates our course instruction with hands on software development practices. By employing XP (Extreme Programming) techniques, we teach students as follows:

Configure and integrate the needed development tools

MOntitor each students progress and offer feedback, perspective and alternatives when needed.

Establish an Action plan to yield a set of deliverables in order to guarantee productive learning.

Establish an Commit to a deliverable time line.

Hold each student accountable to a standard that is comparable to that of an engineer/project manager with at least one year's experience in the field.

These coaching cycles typically last 2-4 weeks in duration.

Provide Expertise
Services for your business growth.
With the introduction of smart devices, e-marketplaces, electronic forms, SEO practices, big data, virtual office environments, media streaming and so much more, there is hardly a business whose livelihood is not, in some way, dependent upon the inclusion of such software functionality into its online presence, work environment and product offerings. Such inclusion often presents a complex array of challenges that are far beyond the expertise of the business as it demands an understanding of technological options, modular decomposition, backend systems integration and web services. Most importantly, the business requires IT talent and expertise; this is where the Hartmann Software Group shines. To that end, here is an overview of some of the services that we offer:

Business Rule isolation and integration for large scale systems using Blaze Advisor

Develop Java, .NET, Perl, Python, TCL and C++ related technologies for Web, Telephony, Transactional i.e. financial and a variety of other considerations.

Windows and Unix/Linux System Administration.

Application Server Administration, in particular, Weblogic, Oracle and JBoss.

Desperate application communication by way of Web Services (SOAP & Restful), RMI, EJBs, Sockets, HTTP, FTP and a number of other protocols.

Graphics Rich application development work i.e. fat clients and/or Web Clients to include graphic design

Performance improvement through code rewrites, code interpreter enhancements, inline and native code compilations and system alterations.

Mentoring of IT and Business Teams for quick and guaranteed expertise transfer.

Architect both small and large software development systems to include: Data Dictionaries, UML Diagrams, Software & Systems Selections and more