• Project Social Green HR Making Money

    Project Social continues to turns green and rolls on.  This week Laura and I discussed greening of HR and how to interest people in making HR more accountable for Green issues.   For those of us in the private sector we find profit margin most rewarding.  How can green make money for our Company? Another way to look at that is ([Current Cost] – [Improved Process}=> 0) = PROFIT. Profit, this is the main reason American business recycle is because there is economic gain to be had.  We are Capitalists. 

    Having said that let me carve out exclusion, some businesses recycle because it is the right thing to do.  Not for Profits may recycle because it is the right thing to do, but they too should be or are looking for economic gain out of recycling.  How can an HR department get something like this going? Well paper is a pretty easy target for the gain formula, while some of the other landfill destined items are a little more challenging.   Paper may require some handling or storage but it usually work easily if you are looking for the old ROI.

    This compactor creates 1000 lb bales of used paper.

    And remember if it is cheaper to dispose of via an alternate means than sending it off to the old dump, it is still a winner and a green alternative. This is another winner for the HR leader looking to do a little green HR.

    Through our discussion on the issues Laura has enlightened me as to how in most European countries there are significant regulations mandating Green Initiatives as well as tax incentives to reward those compliant businesses. While I am not a tax expert it would seem to me that if the U.S. government would make more Green initiatives more financially rewarding, businesses would  rapidly move in that direction.

    Over the years we have seen how tax law drives investment in and out of different areas.  Europe has already figured this formula out [New Tax incentive] + [New investment] = Innovation.

    So Congress needs to come up with the tax rewards for business – or the mandates to bring  green change to business!

     
  • Project Social – Green Jobs

    Project Social and Green Jobs… That’s my assignment.  Laura, my project social partner and I are working on learning more about green jobs and how HR is dealing with this.  Since Laura is obviously the brighter of the two of us (I let people shoot hockey pucks at me) she kind of took the high road on this.  Laura is looking renewable energy credits and jobs in green tech. I on the other hand, with a background in manufacturing and distribution, am let’s say may be a bit earthier wanted to look more to the trenches of recycling. 

    I wanted to see where this whole process of Green/recycling begins. For more than three years I have been doing my part and taking my paper, metal and most plastic out of my waste stream and putting in my blue recycling bin.   For a nominal fee, I set this container at the end of my driveway every week and poof there you have it, I am recycling. This seems pretty simple to me.  Have you ever wonder what happens next? Mind you all of my stuff goes in one bin and then into one truck.  So when the truck gets full they take it to the center dump it into the giant recycling machine and it comes out the other end, not quite.

     This is what happens.

     

    I  was originally going to shoot my own video of this, but later found out the material in my town is shipped elsewhere for sorting; so thanks to my Youtube friend pipmossop for the use of this video. 

    Those of us in manufacturing would like to automate everything, because we know that you only have employment issues – if you have employees.  But some tasks are better left to the human hands, eyes and brain. So, there are going to have to be a lot of jobs like the sorters to continue to make recycling viable.  It is going to be Human Resources’ challenge to turn these into good jobs. Let’s be honest, the sorting of garbage is a likely candidate for Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs.

    We need to view all of the folks who are working in the recycling stream as ecological soldiers, saving the planet from all of the people who live here. It is through these types of practice we can reduce the number of Garbage Mountains that are dotting our landscape all over the country.   I will be visiting my nearest sorting center and find out just what it is that they do, in  order to motivate thier workforce and keep good people in a job that might be viewed as undesireable by many – perhaps a challenge that many of us face daily!