Sunday, September 13, 2009

Some Thoughts Behind Industry Conferences on "Greening"

I have been attending industry conferences for quite a while and I do agree that such events can influence corporations to change their ways, but change will be a very slow process. I am not sure what goes into the minds of managers who attend these events but deep inside they are still the same people who are just going for the usual bottomline. Stand alone projects such as energy conservation, waste reduction, etc. are useless if they are simply viewed as individual programs because it does not affect a change the overall corporate views of companies.

As an EMS auditor, I would rather focus on Top Management commitment and clarity of environmental policy rather than the number of environmental projects that a company churns out. Green conferences provide a venue for sharing best practices but the focus is more on technologies and projects that a specific company has proven effective within its own context but such fora must also not fail to provide frameworks for companies who are "lost" in integrating such programs into their sustainability agenda.

Oftentimes, this becomes the root of Greenwashing, because companies focus more on promoting specific projects and programs rather than their actual commitment towards sustainable development.  Third party verification to a certain degree is far more  effective than blatant ads in ensuring compliance to regulations and commitment to sustainability. However, current validation criteria is still not a perfect system of validation, reliance on scientific data on the impacts requires continues studies.

Green conferences are a good thing, but it will take a lot more of these to really change how things go about...