Most companies get it when it comes to going green. In addition to being good for public relations, environmentally friendly practices can help eliminate waste. And when you eliminate waste, such as excess packaging or unnecessary energy consumption, you save money.
But getting from good intentions to meaningful change is not without its obstacles.
Business professor Tom Gattiker’s research identifies barriers to successfully implementing environmental goals in the workplace and ways to break down those barriers, particularly as they relate to a company’s supply chain – the organizations, people and activities that transfer a product from company to company, and eventually to the consumer. Companies grapple with who should push for sustainable practices along the supply chain, what rationale for environmental measures resonates with employees, and how to get leadership across the company to buy into the process.
“My research is focused on the micro level,” Gattiker said. “A fair amount of research out there looks at the organization level but there’s not a lot that gives guidance to individuals about what it really takes to move projects forward in the workplace.”
Much of Gattiker’s work is funded and published by the Center for Advanced Purchasing Studies at the University of Arizona. Working alongside colleagues from the University of Tennessee and the University of Nevada, Gattiker has visited and surveyed hundreds of ground-level individuals and companies across the country that are striving to go green.
Whether companies are focused on energy savings, transportation-related improvements or reduction in waste or packaging, Gattiker’s research has shown that inspirational appeals, consultation and rational persuasion are far more effective than forcing environmental initiatives.
One of a handful of recognized experts in environmental supply chain issues, Gattiker’s work is internationally cited. His hope is that it helps champions of environmental initiatives succeed.
“I believe environmental issues are the challenge of our time and our generation,” Gattiker said. “Business schools have a big role to play.” – This article was published in the Research Magazine of Boise State University, Explore and written by Sherry Squires.