GB #5: British Columnist Eyes US Green Business

From the UK’s Telegraph, a column by David Litterick on green business development in the US, particularly in NYC:

It’s not easy being green. That was the refrain of Kermit the Frog. It was taken up by corporations across America, who decided that being environmentally friendly was neither easy, nor particularly profitable.

Being nice to the environment may buy your children some time but it isn’t going to pay the bills tomorrow and shareholders have an annoying habit of concentrating on the bottom line. That’s why returns on all those “vice” funds seem to beat funds that invest only in companies purer than driven snow.

It seems, however, all that is beginning to change. Perhaps it’s the fact that George Bush is appearing ever more a lame duck president. He’s unlikely to spend three years in prison for denying global warming but will spend considerably longer than that in political purgatory. Americans are waking up to the effect of their actions as never before, and companies are responding. Or perhaps it’s the other way around, but the results are the same.

The most high profile example – both figuratively and literally – is the $1bn gleaming glass Bank of America tower now rising above Number One Bryant Park in the heart of New York’s new financial district of Midtown.

The building will have all of the bells and whistles, including a grey water system and a green roof, and is being built almost completely of recycled or recyclable materials. Litterick is right that our corporations have a tendency to push their green credentials a bit hard; at the same time, I’m glad that they feel like they have to do so. It will definitely increase our need to keep the green wash detector on, but B of A‘s new building looks like the real deal.

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