Blog Action Day: Step #1 for any company contemplating a greener brand

The answer to a truly greener brand is all around you A lot of companies today are looking to green their brand. Incentives like commute-fr...

15 Oct 2009 3085 Views

The answer to a truly greener brand is all around you

A lot of companies today are looking to green their brand. Incentives like commute-free days, using less paper and recycling. All good. But most companies overlook the #1 source of greenhouse gas emissions – their office buildings.

Buildings are the biggest source of man-made greenhouse gas emissions on the planet and the least discussed. They account for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the SUVs, passenger airlines and automobiles combined. This isn’t news. A 2004 Los Angeles times article by Edward Mazria outlined the problem and the solution quite eloquently. Yet the share of voice for building pollution is dwarfed by the focus on airplanes and SUVs.


Technically, the emissions are not pouring out of a smokestack atop your office, apartment building or local shopping mall. But they are pouring out of smokestacks atop the power plants that provide the electricity to run these buildings. That’s where most of the CO2 emissions attributed to buildings is coming from. In the US alone, buildings consume 76% of all electricity generated.

Moreover, while public pressure has accelerated the eco-friendliness of cars, trucks and planes – buildings have quietly lagged behind. The good news is that the technology exists today to reduce energy consumption in buildings by 30% or more – if the will exists to do so. And why shouldn’t it? Most of these energy efficiency programs pay back in terms of reduced energy costs in a few years.


So before you invest in that fleet of company hybrids, have a frank discussion with your landlord about how your building could be more energy efficient and how you will audit energy use to ensure progress is made. Chances are your building’s owner hasn’t given the subject much thought. They will if you bring it to their attention.

If you are a brand consultant, remind clients that creating a green profile while doing business in a building that wastes energy is risky business.  Environmental groups are on the lookout for greenwash and the most vulnerable spot any company has is the building it occupies.

A new website is scheduled to be launched by the end of this month that should help you and your landlord start making your brand green-worthy. It’s called It will provide information to raise awareness around buildings, energy and the environment. Buildings have been identified as the single largest source of CO2 emissions, that also means they have the greatest potential to make a positive difference. The technology exists. Let’s see that its used.

This post was written as part of Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change. Check out the video below for more details.

Full disclosure: is sponsored by Schneider Electric, a client of The Duffy Agency.

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Sean Duffy| @brandranter
Speaker, consultant & founder of Duffy Agency, the flipped digital agency that provides accelerated growth to aspiring international brands.