11/22/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Corporate America Goes Green and Leads the Way

A new study conducted by Siemens Building Technologies Inc. and McGraw-Hill Construction reports that 76% of the largest
in the U.S. are working toward sustainability goals that exceed those
required by law. The report was a result of interviews with corporate
sustainability officers at firms such as Microsoft, AT&T, and Owens

The 2009 Greening of Corporate America Report indicates that recycling,
building green, focusing on employee engagement, and partnering with nonprofits is no longer an "extra credit" effort, rather now considered
"business as usual." In essence, these firms are seeing that
innovating now in the areas of green and sustainability will give them
ongoing competitive advantage once an economic recovery takes hold.

Highlights of the study include the following:

"Three out of four firms view sustainability as consistent with their
profit missions. They expect that green practices tied to core business
strategies will reduce energy costs (75%), retain and attract customers
(70%), and provide market differentiation by contributing to the
performance of the company (61%)."

It's not unreasonable to conclude that any substantive change in green
sustainable practices in this country depends on the involvement of
and this study is proof positive that the seeds planted years ago by
those with
the foresight necessary are growing. Corporate interests have not
always been
aligned with those of the public good. However, this report
proves that sometimes the best interests of both can meet.

Jonathan A. Schein is the publisher of and