Leading by example: green government is good policy
Ireland says no to plastic
In Ireland, there was a time when so many flimsy plastic shopping bags fluttered from tree branches and blew down streets, that they were considered the country's de facto national flag. So when the government passed a tax on these bags, charging shoppers a "plastax" of about 15 cents a bag, there was a 94 percent drop in use within weeks.
This story isn’t just about consumer response to environmentally-friendly practices. Rather, it demonstrates how governments can influence the behaviours of citizens, businesses, institutions and communities to create a more sustainable way of life.
The problem: a growing demand for greener government
While the private sector is subject to public scrutiny, government agencies face even more pressure to adapt and lead in its response to environmental realties, including transportation, communications and power and water management. Should the public not approve of a governments' performance, the consequences can be felt from the voting booths. So how can these agencies respond to such challenges? By making environmental stewardship an organisational priority and implementing solutions to create real change and measurable results.
Government agencies can become more instrumented as you detect and gather information about the status of air and water quality, traffic congestion and industrial pollution. Functions and processes can be interconnected, so that information can be analysed and the resulting intelligence shared throughout nearly all areas of the organisation.