Monday, October 8, 2007

Applied Sustainability Makes Cents

There is a nice feature article by Adam Wallworth in today's Northwest Arkansas Times about Professor Jon Johnson of the Sam M. Walton College of Business Applied Sustainability Center at the University of Arkansas. Johnson and his staff appear to be doing good work and making some progress in getting the major corporate polluters to embrace sustainability because it saves them money.

The sustainability center was funded by a $1.5 million grant from Wal-Mart, and
Professor Johnson said that move wasn’t just about public relations. "Initially, the company’s interest in the environment was purely a public relations strategy, he said, which is something Wal-Mart chief Lee Scott has admitted. Now, though, it seems that the company really takes it seriously." That's good.

Dr. Johnson says the Center's first priority is to
"develop a business plan that can be used to help companies institute best practices for the environment" and that "the obvious is that reducing energy consumption means saving money." When "Johnson joked with Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody at the Conversation on Climate Action on Thursday," I hope he told the Mayor that sustainable practices could help the city reduce its budget deficit and that spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on ornamental lights is a bad idea for both the environment and the balance sheet.

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