When it comes to environmental initiatives, new concepts are entering the calculus of building a business case for going green. Risk management, for example, is central to the strategic thinking of most companies today, and "green" technology contributes to better risk management along several dimensions.
First, green infrastructure, with its state-of-the-art materials and applied physics, offers better sustainability and fail-over capabilities, and operates with less energy and fewer people. Reducing the cost of operations and business continuity means more money at the bottom line.
Second, green initiatives have become a marketplace mandate and therefore enhance the reputation of a company. Reputational risk has become a huge factor in determining winners and losers in the marketplace. A poor reputation results in customer churn, impairing a company's ability to meet organic growth objectives.
Third, U.S. industry is facing a wave of regulation that will require an environmental road map going forward. Companies that begin building the framework now to become a sustainable enterprise will find the minefield of regulatory compliance easier to navigate in the future.
One place to begin is in IT infrastructure. Vendors can provide statistical information on the reduced operating costs of newer, green hardware, demonstrating that with the savings it yields in data center and facilities costs, the hardware will pay for itself. Beyond this, the return on investment for reducing risk and, in the process, improving business results, even with tight budgets, makes the business case compelling.