NSL Blog

The lean green business system

September 15, 2013

LeanAndGreenBusinessSystem-390x250I had a cup of tea with my good friend Andy Wood CEO of Adnams Brewery a week ago and he very kindly gave me a copy of a book he co-authored with Keivan Zokaei, Hunter Lovins and Peter Hines. Signed too, which is always a pleasant surprise, and feels like a real gift.

The book is called Creating a Lean and Green Business System, and has a foreword by Jonathan Porritt.

Good for the planet good for business: the authors argue that things that are good for the planet are also good for business. Studies from the the Economist Intelligence Unit, Harvard, MIT Sloan, and others indicate that organizations that commit to goals of zero waste, zero harmful emissions, and zero use of nonrenewable resources clearly outperform their competition.

The greening of business: they say, like lean thinking, greening your business is not just a ‘nice to have’; at least not anymore. It is now a key economic driver for many forward looking firms. This book is packed with case studies and examples that illustrate how leading firms use lean and green as simultaneous sources of inspiration in various sectors of industry – from automotive and retail to textile and brewing. The authors point to Toyota as a good example, the holy grail of economic efficiency for decades. This book, shows that Toyota tops the green chart too, describing Toyota’s notion of Monozukuri: sustainable manufacturing.

A systemic approach: This book puts forward a systematic way for organisations to design their green journey to eliminate green wastes and to generate green value while becoming profitable. Currently, many organisations seem to be void of systematic methods for continuous and profitable green improvements. Environmental management systems and green interventions are by and large skewed in the direction of one-off technical fixes, end of pipe solutions involving limited number of people and scattered improvements which hardly leave a lasting cultural change. On the other hand, the lean community have increasingly become aware of the importance of systematic improvements, paying attention to the cultural and leadership issues and orderly interventions such as value stream mapping or road mapping techniques.

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