Will the Fortune 100 Save Us?

by |March 19, 2009

Environmentalists have long criticized our corporate behemoths for environmental violations and unsustainable business practices.  Walmart, GE, Coca-Cola were once considered toxic to the environment and not the names that came to mind for a green future. However, environmentally-friendly announcements over the past few years have challenged this perception.


For water specifically, recent announcements from IBM have me very excited.

My favorite is the Green Sigma for Water – for those familiar with Six Sigma, IBM is now offering these tools to tackle water usage throughout a company’s operations. Pilot programs have reduced water use by 30 percent.

They also announced the SmartBay sensor system, which monitors pollution levels, marine life, and wave conditions in Galway Bay, Ireland, and allows smarter environmental management and development of the region. The technology uses cloud computing and is one of the first systems to integrate data management and water management.

Their press release has a host of other announcements but do take a look at their most recent Global Innovation Outlook on Water – it has some interesting takeaways on how private and public groups are working together to solve some of our global issues.

We can always argue that corporations are not doing enough, but I do feel there has been a paradigm shift in the past few years and that these companies will be the new drivers behind many environmental initiatives.

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Johnny JeffryDan StellarMeaghan Daly Recent comment authors
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Meaghan Daly
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Meaghan Daly

It’s really interesting to see the interplay between private corporations and natural resource use and management. Interesting to note that on the IBM GIO page, they claim that people need only 3 liters of water per day. When you compare this figure to the graph that you posted the other day, you see that in the U.S., each person uses over 550 liters of water per day. Even in least developed countries, water use is generally more than 3 liters per day. It just makes me wonder where they are getting their statistics from and whether their claim that there… Read more »

Dan Stellar
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This is an interesting article and brings up several important questions. Can the Fortune 100 save us? In other words, can corporations be part of the solution? On the one hand , any solution to our environmental problems needs to include the private sector somehow. Retail in particular plays a massive role in the economy, and when a giant like Wal-Mart makes even a small change, its impacts reverberate through the supply chain. On a practical level it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that, regardless of the motivation, one pro-environmental move by a massive corporation has an impact greater than… Read more »

Johnny Jeffry
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You make some good points. I guess it depends on your standpoint. – If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name in a Swiss bank. – Woody Allen Born 1935