Attaining 10-to-1 Green

If you aren’t gaining a 10 to 1 return on your green business strategy then it’s time to change tactics. Now, your company’s green business strategy may involve nothing more than swapping out light bulbs and adding blue recycling bins to this point. With that said, let’s assume the following: You realize than sustainability is one of the great challenges/opportunities facing your company. There is no leader in your industry to mirror to determine your sustainable business plan. Your customers are beginning to question what you are doing about green.

The 10-to-1 return rule simply means that you should expect 10x return on every green business process/tactic/strategy you develop. When you look at sustainability through this lens, it will clarify what you should be focused on and quite frankly, what you can forget about. The 10-to-1 rule applies to the following:

The return on your investment (i.e. your profit) The environmental improvement you’re making (for ex- 10x reduction in paper use) Healthier workplace (for ex- indoor air quality is 10x better due to…)

The key to applying the 10-to-1 return rule is in asking the right questions. Consider 2 questions regarding solar:

“Should we consider adding solar to our building?” “What would we need to do to gain a 10x return on a potential solar investment?”

Most companies only ask Question 1 and don’t establish the right framework for making a decision. Question 2 starts at the minimum return you want and works backwards to see what you’d need to do to attain it. You’ll either find the efforts needed doable or too complicated/expensive to pursue. Then (and only then) can you make an intelligent decision.

In many ways, effective strategy is like a game plan for an NFL football game. The best teams put themselves in the best position to win before the game by asking the right questions. The Saints dominated the Cardinals in their recent playoff game. Instead of asking: “Should we run the ball or pass against the Cardinals?”, they asked “What do we need to do to get our offense and special teams in the right situations to score points?”

It’s a subtle difference, but asking the right questions and applying to 10-to-1 return rule can do wonders for your business.