Zero Waste: Is Your Company Valuing Intellectual Capital?

Your zero waste and sustainability goals are in conflict with your company’s bottom line intentions. And what may be standing in the way of achieving a zero waste environment is the ability of key people to explain how it can be done and those that approve the ideas. Your company leadership may be saying “we need to do the right thing” and discouraging it at the same time. When it comes to zero waste, is your company correctly valuing, even encouraging intellectual capital?

A Mind is a Terrible Thing to “Zero” Waste

Intellectual capital can encompass numerous definitions and a great deal of scholarly work has been done to try an explain what it is and what it can mean to a business. Some companies value intellect if they can draw a direct line from the idea to the value it might provide to the company. Other scholars suggest that it might be something intangible with an emphasis on the future. What is agreed upon: Human capital cannot belong to the company or enterprise.

Companies pay for a great deal when it comes to its greatest asset: The people who work for them. But do they tap that asset? Do they create an environment whereby ideas are considered or encouraged even if they seem to be outside of the established processes? If your company has Zero Waste goals, how receptive is your company’s leadership to those ideas compared to the actual implementation of the concept?

How should Intellectual Capital be Valued?

Intellectual capital and the nurturing of sustainability ideas, no matter how far-fetched, and the embrace of those concepts is based on several key elements.

  • Support and Trust: If your company’s leadership is not willing to invest some of their political capital in the process, offering a shield of sorts to shareholders and stakeholders they might be beholden to, then the process will not flourish. In some areas of sustainability, the data supporting an idea simply doesn’t exist. What does exist is the goal and the goal has generated the idea and the idea has value even if it is as yet unproven.
  • Lip Service: If your company regularly suggests that your employees think outside of the box, suggests that they innovate and regularly posts these sorts of platitudes around the workplace, companies should expect this to happen. One of the best of these proposes that you hired smart people, now let them be smart.
  • Smart Smashing: Intellectual capital depends on the chain of command. If, for instance, your sustainability manager is tasked with a zero waste goal and they actually devise a plan (perhaps with the help of Zero Waste Consultants)¬†that answers all of the questions, dots the I’s and crosses the T’s, lays out the potentials and possibilities in clear and digestible fashion, they may very well be considered the smartest person in the room. The reality is often much different. Too often, too many people stand in the way of that “smartness” in order to advance their own corporate ranking.

So how do you overcome these real issues and begin to value the intellect you hired – and keep the company on the Zero Waste/sustainability course that has become so socially correct? The process is much simpler than you might imagine.

Finding a Market Maker

Your sustainable goals require a market maker. This is not the same type of market maker often referenced in the financial markets as an entity of will purchase securities. In this instance, a market maker is a bridge that finds the process, explains the process and eventually creates a platform that keeps the process flowing. It is the partnership between what the right thing to do is and paying for it.

This is what we do. We examine the whole picture – your business and its goals, your community and the opportunities and your ability to message this to all of the stakeholders in the process. This partnership is essential. It is the marriage of intellectual capital and zero waste execution.

Contact us to begin the discussion.

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