Green Productivity was launched in 1994 in line with the 1992 Earth Summit recommendations that both economic development and environmental protection would be key strategies for sustainable development. With the support from the government of Japan the APO (Asian Productivity Organization) introduced GP as a practical way to answer the challenge of sustainable development.
The objective of the APO's GP program is to enhance productivity and simultaneously reduce the negative impacts on the environment. It seeks to realize this objective by propagating GP consciousness. The APO pledges to continue the progress in the Asia-Pacific Region and through cooperation, extend GP to accelerate a growing green global marketplace.
What is GP?
Since the introduction of environmentally sustainable economic development at the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, the environmental issue has evolved from being an intellectual pursuit of the few to a core business concern of the mainstream. With the closure of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, more than 178 Governments adopted Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of Principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests. The time to move from rhetoric to results arrived. However, it is in the operational meaning of this defined phrase where much debate has ensued. The matter of ecological integrity, as well as social and economic equity, must become the focus of innovation. Just as human systems adopted agriculture and the use of fossil fuel as the first and second transitions that completely changed the way global society operated, the third transition that humans must address is to operationalize sustainability. To be successful we must transform these three factors into meaningful policies, supported by unified social action and show evidence of our success in our respective corporate triple bottom-line results. The APO believes that we have found a track that moves us from the evocative to where we have evidence of results. Here, we offer an introduction to Green Productivity, its history, its methods, tools and techniques.
Green Productivity (GP) is a strategy for simultaneously enhancing productivity and environmental performance simultaneously for overall socio-economic development. Its aim is well-rounded socio-economic development that leads to sustained improvement in the quality of human life. It is the combined application of appropriate productivity and environmental management tools, techniques and technologies that reduce the environmental impact of an organization's activities, products and services while enhancing profitability and competitive advantage.
Innovation is a primary driver of economic growth. Green Productivity greens the process of innovation.
The starting line was productivity as a cost reduction strategy. By picking up the baton of quality, productivity has metamorphosed to incorporate environmental protection and community enhancement as a means to increase prosperity. Under the umbrella of Green Productivity, innovation, a key engine of economic growth, becomes part of a holistic strategy to move towards a sustainable future.
Productivity is essentially a marathon without a finishing line.
Just as productivity was the essential strategy that enabled Japan to rebuild after the Second World War, with other Asian nations being attracted to the lure of its success, the 19 member economies of the Asian Productivity Organization have rallied behind a more broadly defined concept of productivity to race in the marathon for sustainability. In "The Concept of Productivity and the Aim of National Productivity Agencies" formulated in Rome in 1959 the Productivity Committee of the European Productivity Agency defined productivity as follows:
"Productivity is above all a state of mind. It is an attitude that seeks the continuous improvement of what exists. It is a conviction that one can do better today than yesterday and that tomorrow will be better than today. Furthermore it requires constant efforts to adapt economic activities to ever-changing conditions and the application of new theories and methods. It is a firm belief in the progress of humanity."
Green Productivity starts with an intellectual dare – to shift from a monochrome bottom line to a more colorful triple bottom line