THE E-FACTOR by Joel Makower


The Bottom-Line Approach to Environmentally Responsible Business
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 Massive information-gathering and a dedicated belief in the potential profitability of green business practices distinguish this lively manual for the environmental reform of companies. Makower (Woodstock, 1989) is the editor of The Green Business Letter. The author's focus is not on ``what business has done to the environment'' but rather on ``what effect a degraded environment'' and public concern about it may have on ``business's ability to be profitable and competitive'' in the 1990's. His prediction: negative, unless--as in some of the many corporate case studies included here--companies are willing to move out in front of the regulatory curve and become environmentally ``proactive.'' Makower's prescription for proactivity is offered through a collection of euphonic directives: Companies, he says, should take into account ``economics,'' including the cost of new regulations, shareholder lawsuits, green taxes, and customer good or ill will. Businesses should also increase ``enforcement'' of environmental regulations, which should teach them not only ``not to break the laws but to do no harm.'' And they should invest in ``empowerment,'' or learning to draw on employees, community groups, environmental experts, customers, and suppliers to preserve the environment; in ``education,'' or learning how to create and promote a green image and/or to set up a team for damage-control when an environmental disaster happens; in ``efficiency,'' or finding ways in which pollution prevention, waste reduction, and energy efficiency can maximize profits; and in ``excellence,'' or combining ``Total Quality Management'' with the ``E Factor'' for accounting bliss. In conclusion, Makower tells company environmental officers--a rapidly growing occupational category-- how to launch a program, step by step. Unabashedly pro-business, which leads to some anomalous moments--as when, without irony, Makower quotes an Amoco Oil executive as saying ``I killed two birds with one stone'' by running contamination tests after a refinery containment failure. On the other hand, the author knows American business and businesspeople thoroughly, making this an important management tool for a cleaner era.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-8129-2057-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Times/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1993