Can Business and Social Conscience Coexist and Fuel Growth?

Patricia Calkins, Xerox global vice president of Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability

“How much should a company spend on green research?” It’s an interesting question floating around many business circles these days.

In fact, I ran into a similar question a couple of  weeks ago in New York as  a participant on a panel at Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored conference called:  “Ethonomics: Can Business and Social Conscience Coexist and Fuel Growth.”

My answer to that question is pretty straight forward because we believe at Xerox that true innovation requires thinking differently about everything you do. So when asked how much of our business we devote to green innovation, I say “all of it.”

For innovation to be worthwhile and sustainable it must be integrated throughout your business process. From inception to end of life cycle, we think about every component that makes up our products and their potential effect on the environment.

Put another way:  If you know how much you spend on green research, there’s a problem.  Green research — separate and apart from your core business; means sustainable innovation is not part of your every day thought process or organizational DNA.

But what’s the cost of implementing green innovation?

With sustainable innovation perpetually in our organizational DNA, the widely held misconception of the high cost of green responsibility still surprises me. The truth is green innovation significantly helps the bottom line by reducing costs, increasing revenue and enhancing brand value — not only among customers, but potential employees as well.

Today with green innovation at the forefront of public consciousness, top tier candidates gravitate towards companies with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability.  With sustainable innovation part of our organizational DNA, we recruit talented individuals who share our understanding of the importance of green responsibility.

Not only do future employees reap standard benefits, future employees are offered the demonstrated promise that you work for a company that understands its responsibility to the community at large.

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