Begley said he has received a return on all the environmental investments he’s made since he bought his first electric car in 1970. While they may be more expensive up front, Begley said, green products from solar energy panels to recycled plastic fencing have saved him money.
“And I’ve seen so many people in many industries, the entertainment industry’s one of them, balk at the high cost of being green,” Begley said. “But then they later learn that there’s either very little expense in it, or in some cases it’ll even save money.”
But some companies might disagree with Begley.
FedEx (NYSE:FDX) planned to switch to hybrid trucks until huge costs got in the way, and companies like PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) and Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) could face problems of their own making from support of more government regulation.
BusinessWeek magazine exposed major flaws of greening businesses in an October 29 articles called “Little Green Lies.” The subhead said it all: “The sweet notion that making a company environmentally friendly can be not just cost-effective but profitable is going up in smoke. Meet the man wielding the torch.”
But BusinessWeek wasn’t interviewing a skeptic of global warming alarmism, but environmentalist Auden Schendler – one of the very first “corporate sustainability” advocates.
According to BusinessWeek, in 2003 FedEx announced plans to begin using 3,000 clean-burning hybrid trucks a year and even won a prize in 2004 from the Environmental Protection Agency.
But the cost of those hybrid trucks proved to be too much – 75 percent more than regular trucks – and as a result FedEx had fewer than 100 of them in 2007. “We do have a fiduciary responsibility to our shareholders,” environmental director Mitch Jackson told BusinessWeek.