Bookcase : Green? Just do it

•By Gareth Kane
• Earthscan
• RRP: £17

Amongst the swag of new books pushing their respective green barrows towards more sustainable business future, this effort avoids worthy advocacy in favour of just getting down to doin’ it.
Written by British consultant described as rising star/future leader in the world of sustainability, it’s based on plenty of practical application. Gareth Kane has been helping hundreds of organisations clean up their respective acts for more than decade. And his website (www.terrainfirma.co.uk) hints at the humorous touch he uses to lighten up the process.
Kane’s three secrets are not rocket science. First: understand the business case and be proactive in grasping the opportunities but don’t forget you’re running business. Those making the fatal assumption that green cred can overcome mediocre performance, poor design or soppy branding are, he says, destined for the ‘green graveyard’.
Second is what to do – preferably follow the “eco-system model” which means adopting non-toxic, closed-loop cycle of production (solar, cyclic and safe); or if that’s not realistic, improve your eco-efficiency (save energy/water/resource use etc) by factor of 10.
Three is how to do it – through lots of small steps (the Kaizen system of continuous improvement or doing things right) combined with huge leaps (Kaikaku or doing the right thing). The latter includes cleaner production, renewable energy, eco-building, eco-design and product service systems.
Chapters 3, 4 and 5 then proceed with the nitty-gritty bits.
It’s all good practical, accessible stuff and Kane’s tips on creating culture for change could usefully be applied to any organisation attempting shift in values or direction. There are also some hints on how best to communicate green messages externally – like avoiding eco-clichés. His comment about never needing to see another picture of hands cupping sapling resonates for me.

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