Posts tagged ‘organisation’

Green Businesses’ Dirty Little Secret: Implied Ethics

dsc_1294-1Penned by Nick

The question of ethics for environmental employers is a landmine issue that few people explore. In Wendy Jedlicka’s recent article, she suggests that getting a job at a firm with “eco-ethics” is both difficult and desirable. Though true, this misses the more pressing questions about how ethics apply to environmental organizations.

Finding employment with any employer right now — green or otherwise — is difficult. However, this insight doesn’t cut to the core of the question of ethics. Ethics aren’t constrained to “eco” companies alone. As business schools teach the world over, ethics are universal — both in business and in life.

What’s interesting in the domain of environmental companies is that these companies rely on their “ethical business models” to attract employees more than do traditional “brown” employers. The dirty little secret is that employers — from solar companies to sustainability consultancies and the like — rely on jobseekers’ assumption that they are ethical more than other firms because of their “eco” business models.

Having worked with employers worldwide to find and secure the top green talent, its become clear that not everyone embraces the same level of business ethics. Indeed, many businesses fail to highlight their ethics at all when we ask them what separates them from other employers.

Ethics in the environmental business are — at present — largely taken for granted. Yes, most employees at these firms believe they have a more ethical occupation, but the business practices themselves often don’t exude ethics. Quite to the contrary, many of these businesses fail to push their ethical practices as far as their products or services.

At a time when the very value of long-standing business models has been called into question (read: investment banking, insurance, etc), it strikes me that more employers should be focusing on their ethics.

More importantly, both employees and jobseekers of green companies should be challenging these firms to “walk the walk” and create a truly triple bottom line enterprise that embraces sound ethical practices, sound environmental practices and sound business practices.

Jedlicka’s article is right to raise the question about ethics, but readers should examine a company’s purpose/service to determine who’s ethical and who’s not.

Use the interview itself as a place to ask questions about how an employer’s environmental practices translate into more ethical business practices. Questions like these leave little room for maneuvering, but if a jobseeker’s goal is to find an ethical employer, those that are truly ethical will jump at the chance to respond to such a question. If they don’t, you may have found a case where an organization doesn’t truly “walk the walk.”

Continually pushing employers to keep ethics at the center of their businesses — green or otherwise — is the best way to ensure that your values align with your employers’.

[Originally published on GreenBiz.com]

April 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm Leave a comment

Making Time

Part of our commitment to growing (see value 2) is refining the ways we work to ensure we’re making the most of our time and maximising our output. And as any entrepreneur/manager will tell you, this requires sometimes making tough choices (see value 4 – go the values!)

Here is a great article (with some good links to further articles) which might help and here are my additional thoughts:

1) Taming emails

Increasingly, I am unable to respond to all the emails I receive, resulting in some tough ‘delete’ decisions for emails I’d like to respond to. If you receive 150 emails a day, and can only write 100, you have to get a PA, or learn to delete, cut back and write shorter replies. Sorry to those of you who don’t get replies from me, but it’s not physically possible to reply to everyone! This article is a great starting point for solving your email-blues.

2) Eliminate unnecessary meetings

It makes sense, but is difficult to do. I always try to call people first as opposed to meet with them, saving time and carbon! Yes, a meeting is very valuable and 10 mins in a meeting is worth 30 on the phone, but you need to work out which meetings to attend.

A couple of extras from me:

3) Let people leave you a message

Don’t pick up your mobile if you don’t recognise the number. Ring them back when you’re ready for the call!

4) Plan your day

15 mins spent planning at the beginning of the day will be worth at least that by the time you finish. It also helps you compartmentalise your mind so you’re not juggling 15 thins at once.

5) Taking time with important things

Alongside all of this time-saving, there must be the understanding and commitment to spending time with the things that are important, whether exercising, talking to colleagues or getting some R&R. A hero of mine (Leonard Cheshire) said ‘When you have a pile of work to get through, pick up each piece as if it’s the only thing you’re doing to do that day’. Which I translate to mean, do 5 things well, not 10 things badly, because in the end, it’ll be worth it.

Oh and 6) Enjoy the extra time you create!

December 17, 2007 at 3:53 pm Leave a comment


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