Returning to the issue of certification by audit, the credibility of the audit is frankly built upon the key issues of independence, professionalism, and national standards. The dumping down of the certification process flies in the face of a horrific world crisis. We do not know what will happen when our present 6.7 billion people worldwide expand to the predicted 9 billion people in 2025, but we do know that it presents an unmet challenge with substantial consequences.
We are glaringly aware that our resources are finite and limited. Thomas Friedman's book, Hot, Flat, and Crowd is one of the best treatise on the realities that our world is facing since the days of the bubonic plague, cholera, and typhus that stripped millions of people from the face of the earth. None of us want to be proponents of doomsday theories. Yet, we all know that the prospects for a good life in the future diminish with each day of delay and neglect.
The World Water Council reports that "While the world's population tripled in the 20th century, the use of renewable water resources has grown six-fold. Within the next fifty years, the world population will increase by another 40 to 50%. This population growth - coupled with industrialization and urbanization - will result in an increasing demand for water and will have serious consequences for the environment."
Short of government intervention, the best way to bring about change is the unification of our efforts behind a common goal. The combined strength of a national movement has immense potential for change. While we must appreciate every contribution no matter how small the effort; this is, however, not the time for token efforts. What is needed is an all out attack on the massive environmental tsunami that is approaching.
Local groups should not take undue pride in their fiefdom glories but meld their efforts with a strong national effort to consolidate Green business standards. This is not about political gerrymandering or advancement of a favorite segment of Green or sustainable services. It is required that everyone step up to the challenge with more than a modest effort.
I have argued that "The environmental crisis is a universal problem that requires universal participation."Universal participation is the problem that got us to where we are today, and it will undoubtedly require universal participation to get us out. What is implied in this obvious expectation is that there will be some uniformity to the effort.
A national standard will emerge, and it should come sooner than later. Executive Order 13514 has given confirmation of what is needed to provide a comprehensive approach to the Green business model. In this order, we find a broad range of subjects to consider. The list includes: water conservation, paper reduction, waste recycling, fleet improvements, carbon reduction, and improving energy strategies.
A thousand books can be written, hundreds of ad hoc committees may form, and hundreds of Green or sustainability firms will be created to address the environmental needs. What will be missing is the national credibility to incorporate something more than these smaller realms of influence. Logic demands what environmental forecasters should already know. We cannot throw rocks at a monster than must be killed with a boulder. Tokenism is, therefore, an insult to our intelligence and the threats facing mankind for years into the future.
We cannot adopt a "This too will pass" attitude thinking that somehow, somewhere a solution will appear on the horizon like a rescue ship steaming toward a stranded survivor. News of innovations and breakthrough are heartening, but there is no "Big Fix" that will solve this issue. What is needed is a behavioral change that transcends geographic locations and boundaries. Good intentions of smaller programs are welcome, but the emergence of a national standard for Green business certification is the next necessary step.
By R. Michael Richmond
R. Michael Richmond, is the Director of Development for the Green Business League (http://www.greenbusinessleague.com/) and an avid proponent of Green and sustainable business programs.The Green Business League offers a national certification for Green business that has been broadly received as a leading standard for environmental compliance.