Daily Video

March 2, 2012

It’s Easy to Go Green!

It’s become increasingly popular for companies to tell consumers that they are environmentally conscious while in fact they might not be up to par with national standards. The non-profit B-Lab has created a series of checklists examining not only a company’s commitment to their employees, environmentally-friendly practices but also their dedication to the local community.

The NewsHour’s Paul Solman reports on seven states that have passed legislation officially recognizing companies with a conscience. Called benefit corporations, or B Corps, the firms strive to make a positive impact on society while also turning a profit.While major companies are focused on going green and making profits, it’s easy for every day consumers to also be environmentally responsible. “Green means it’s a smarter building,” says Ken Wilson, head of the Washington, D.C.-based architecture firm Envision Design. “Green usually means energy efficient, but it also has other aspects to it that are important like natural light, non-toxic materials, and controllability of your environment.”

To measure “greenness” in an office, factory or home, there’s the LEED system: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The U.S. Green Building Council awards points for water reduction, energy efficiency and the like. The more points, the higher the certification level, ranging from lowest to highest: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

“You don’t have to be certified in order to be green,” says Wilson. “But LEED is a third party certification saying you did what you said you did.”

Quotes

“What B Corps are doing is they’re saying, we’re going to redefine what it means to be successful in business. We’re perfectly happy to make money. We recognize that that’s important, but we’re not here to make money. We’re here to make a difference. And the money that we make helps fuel the difference we can make.” Jay Coen Bilbert, B Lab, co-founder

“We’ve crossed a milestone where in the U.S. market there are more than 10,000 LEED certified buildings. Recently the U.S. General Services Administration studied about 29 LEED certified buildings and determined that, compared to non-LEED certified buildings, they’re saving about 25 percent in energy, 17 percent in water use and have about a 30 percent lower carbon footprint.” Ken Wilson, Envision Design

Warm Up Questions

1.Why is it important to recycle? 2.Name three every items you can recycle?3.What do you think companies and schools could do to increase their recycling programs?

Discussion Questions

1.Do you think it is important for businesses to be environmentally responsible? Why or why not?2.Are non-profit organizations such as B Corps necessary to encourage companies to be more environmentally responsible? Why or why not? 3.What is the LEED system and why is it important?

Additional Resources

Video transcript

Benefit Corporations Aim to Make a Profit — and a Positive Impact

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