How did Big Green Book come about?
The seed of an idea first came up for Big Green Book after attending one of the first business conferences held in the UK which was hosted by Business Link; which looked at, if it was possible to run a business profitably while switching its operations to a more green agenda this was back in November 1997.
These where the early days, when fledgling industries like Environmental, Ethical, or Green businesses where still regarded with Scepticism and belonging to the lentil and sandal brigade. Here, we met and spoke with so many like-minded people and experienced a level of excitement and green business possibilities we had not experienced before.
There was a room full of 250 people all working towards what we had been working towards: growing a business that not only provided a livelihood for ourselves but that also made the world a more just, sustainable and environmental place.
Business, Environment, and the Bottom Line...
We had conversations with people who knew exactly what we were going through because they were going through it as well. We swapped advice and ideas with other budding entrepreneurs who may not have had the level of experience we had. At the same time, we received extremely valuable advice and heard inspirational and motivating speeches from individuals who had been trying in their own small ways to push the social benefits and profitable successes of greening a business for over two decades.
We all grew, learned, and helped one another develop ourselves and our business ideas, and then it all came to a dramatic halt. The conference was over and we could no longer reach those who perhaps had a word of advice, or help those who might have a question with which we could help.
There seemed to be a huge void that was created. We found ourselves looking forward to the next conference immediately and wishing that it wasn't perhaps a full year away. Then we thought, why wait?
While it wasn't possible for all of us to get together every day, it certainly was possible to communicate with one another through say a discussion list. Then the friendships that emerged, the ideas that were hatched, the possibilities that were created, could all be continued through an online network where we could interact with one another, refer business contacts and post case studies that would help others green their operations and discover the benefits also, say through e-mail or a website.
The germination of an idea was now in place and beginning to grow!
The second part of the concept grew out of frustration more than anything else! It occurred when a building job was required. We know how frustrating it is to have to use a trader directly out of the paper or a directory without getting recommendations first or the certainty that there are accredited and a fully paid up member of a Guild, Trade or Professional body. But if an emergency occurs, say in the middle of the night or at the weekend, as it did with us then you simply have no other choice in the matter.
But if that work isn't carried out to your satisfaction, the whole experience can leave a bitter taste in your mouth, not to mention a huge hole in your pocket.
So wouldn’t it be great if there was a website that could put you in touch with local, reliable tradesmen whose work had been fully checked out; a website that was as good as a personal recommendation?
That’s what we thought too. So, we made it our mission to create the web's most trusted online directory when looking for a tradesmen – not just for emergency ‘out of hours’ jobs but for any job, any time of the day, and now add into the mix; businesses that offer a Green, Ethical or Environmental service that also belonged to a Guild, Trade or Professional bodies and we are starting to build a powerful resource of professionals that can be accessed easily and quickly over the internet.
The idea was now budding fourth and growing stronger by the day!
The third part of the concept was more of an accident than anything else, it came from a question? What do we mean by business value? And what is its link to environmental or general management and profitability? If like us and most businesses we know, you find understanding Environmental, Ethical, Green, Sustainable or Corporate Socially Responsible issues or what to look for between a good tradesman and a cowboy akin to learning Outer Mongolian then we understand, because we find some of it the same, so we thought what if...
If knowledge is power, then could we become the power supply? What if we could share ideas and knowledge through this network of professionals and build a Library of Best Practice, How-To fact sheets, Case studies and more, offering a steady stream of practical proven green ideas to help business owner/managers, self employed, freelancers, entrepreneurs, new managers, experienced managers, corporate, family businesses and public sector bodies to name a few who were looking for fresh green inspiration and insights into the environmental challenges that organisations must make to adapt to the new green future...
What if... we also added into the mix authoritative, up-to-the-minute News and Events about Industry and business forecasts and green economic trends? Ensuring businesses of any size had the insight to give companies a more competitive edge by viewing social and environmental challenges as unmet market needs that can provide business growth, and cost savings through innovation, entrepreneurship and organisational change...
The idea had now grown from a seedling and blossomed into a full grown concept for this website...
...”Creating an online website that offered B2B environmental business value by achieving two shades of the green equation.”
“That is that environmental value and business value represent ‘two shades of green’...
Business value involves those things important to a company’s stakeholders. This shade of green represents the colour of money – not as an end in and of itself, but as a way of measuring business value.
Environmental value involves those things a company does to have less impact on the environment and to reduce risk and cost savings. The shade of green here is that of environmental responsibility...
Ultimately the two shades will blend together as business and environmental values become more fully integrated.”
At first, we thought such a resource must already exist. We looked everywhere and asked people if they knew of one. No one did. It turned out it didn't exist. Well, why couldn't we create one?
So we did! and here you have it; A place where entrepreneurs and professionals can find and build contacts, refer new people, products and services, share ideas, and we hope so much more...
Like all good ideas this is a work in progress and like all businesses we understand some but not all of the challenges that lie ahead... We also understand since building this website that few of us have what it takes to go ‘all the way’ on the green scale.
How many of us only ever want to eat what’s in season and grown locally? Or can realistically give up the car for good? Or summon the ready cash and the motivation to become self-sufficient in electricity?
And yet as fears about the food chain, climate change, plummeting biodiversity and the sustainability of our current lifestyles take hold, wouldn’t it be great to discover that sometimes what is best for the planet is not what we might think?
In fact the easiest, most readily available, cheapest or most-maligned option may even be the greenest.
If you are pondering bicycles or bailers, coffee or computers, holidays or heating, pets or pasta, water storage or wine, this website sets out your choices on a scale from ‘deep green’ to ‘not even a little bit green’. No preaching. No finger-wagging. No jargon.
Whether you’re and eco-warrior or a planet-thrasher or, like most of us, somewhere in between, the shades of green you will find on Big Green Book will help you find all you need to know so you can chose what suits you and your business best.
BECAUSE WE BELIEVE BEING GREEN IS NEVER BLACK AND WHITE
We hope you'll join us, get involved and enjoy what Big Green Book has to offer the good news is that whatever the choice you are making, in most cases there is a shade of green for everyone.
We look forward to working with you all now and into the future as we all discover exactly how ‘green’ are the various choices we make?
Best wishes; Stephen Lings, Gary Braybrooke, and Kenneth Campbell.
Big Green Book UK Limited 2009