I've written before about the risks of becoming so immersed in a sector that you 'go native' and fail to appreciate what is going on in the wider world.
This risk is particularly acute in the green business sector where so many of the advantages of low carbon business models are self evident - improved energy bills, emerging market opportunities, reduced operational and reputational risk - that it becomes easy to forget plenty of firms still dispute the rationale for a greener model of economic growth.
As such green business executives would be advised to take a long hard look at the results of the Carbon Trust's new survey on attitudes to 'green growth'.
Leaving aside the fact the Carbon Trust is currently fighting for its very existence and could undoubtedly do with evidence to show the government that businesses still need advice on how to improve their green performance, this looks like a solid survey based on polling and interviews with over 700 senior executives.
It paints a sadly familiar picture of pioneers striving to deliver green growth because it is good for both the planet and their long term commercial prospects, while the rump of managers continue to sit on their hands when it comes to low carbon investment.
Shockingly, while 92 per cent believe green growth represents an opportunity for their business, only a third are actually investing money in the research and development of green products and services.
Similarly a separate survey of over 700 chief executives from consultancy giant Accenture this week found that 72 per cent cited trust, brand and reputation as the main driver for sustainability measures, compared to just 44 per cent who highlighted the potential for revenue growth and cost reduction - a driver that tends to lead to the adoption of far more significant and far-reaching green business models.
It is undoubtedly the case that the trail-blazing firms looking for ways to profit from the low carbon economy will benefit in the long-run, while the laggards will suffer. But it is important that business and political leaders frequently remind themselves that while the green products and services are no longer a niche concern (how could they be when the market is worth £112bn a year in the UK alone?) they are not yet truly mainstream either.
Taking retail as just one example, virtually every store has an impressive sustainability strategy and has made some promising investments in onsite renewable energy or greener supply chains. But the vast majority still keep their doors open throughout the winter, plastic bag use is reportedly rising, and the other day I found myself forced to purchase some ginger that had been encased in plastic packaging. The business community is waking up to the importance of sustainability, but we still live in a world where ginger comes wrapped in plastic.
The conclusion from these two surveys is simple: despite recent progress green executives can not afford to rest on their laurels. The central message of green corporate thinking - that cutting environmental impacts improves the long-term health of the business - needs to be promulgated far and wide.
It may be common sense, but sadly it is not yet as common as it should be.
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