You will not have failed to notice that we have put the green back into grocery this week by devoting all our feature and comment pages to environmental and sustainable business issues. Like health, the green agenda is now firmly at the heart of the food and drink industry and the recent plethora of initiatives from major food retailers on everything from bio fuel to compostable packaging is just one indicator of how seriously this industry is taking these issues.
Unsurprisingly, for every positive move forward there are those waiting in the wings to criticise you for not doing enough. Putting green issues at the centre of your business is not easy. Trying to persuade consumers to cut back on plastic bag usage? All very well, but what about the amount of wastage your food packaging is creating? Investing millions in sustainable technology? Well done, but don't you fly your fruit in from hundreds of miles away?
Deciding which of the green issues to tackle first is difficult. Which will bring easy wins (and I don't just mean in terms of positive PR coverage)? Are food miles the most pressing problem, especially in the context of rising energy costs? What about waste, sustainable farming, organics, ethics, animal welfare, supporting small producers, your local community, fair trade, charity? The definition of what constitutes 'greening' a business is far-reaching.
What is certain is that this is not going to go away. It's all very well scoring brownie points with your customers but this is not achieving much in the long run. Unlike the context of the 1980s, when people latched on to emotive subjects such as greenhouse gases, whaling and nuclear proliferation, 21st century green is about one fundamental issue - building a sustainable business for the future.