Temperatures worldwide are rising. The polar icecaps are melting. And super cities like Tokyo, San Francisco and Mumbai run the risk of drowning under rising sea water in the not so distant future.
Yes, we’re talking about climate change. And how it’s forcing corporations, governments and citizens’ organizations to come together and find solutions to leave behind a habitable planet for future generations.
As a business owner, you too can do your bit to save the environment you live in and benefit from. What’s more, you also stand to be rewarded handsomely for showing a little consideration towards Mother Nature.
Show me the money - the benefits of going green
As mentioned earlier, there are multiple ways in which your business can stand to gain from going green. From tax rebates to pricing incentives from various public bodies and environmental organizations to increased interest from consumers, a green reputation for your business can be worth millions of that other green we all love: cash.
Government Incentives. The EPA has strict laws protecting our environment from businesses and their resulting hazardous by-products. It is not enough to follow the bare minimum EPA regulations like dealing with toxic substances like lead paint or mold. The government offers incentives at a state and federal level to businesses in the form of tax breaks and credits. Maximize these incentives by checking out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency to find out what government incentives your business is eligible for in your state.
Customer Perceptions. A Nielsen study of consumer attitudes across 60 countries found that 55% of consumers worldwide would pay a premium for products offered by eco-friendly and socially responsible companies. These consumer claims are also backed up by research of actual sales figures.
Contributing to maintaining and upkeep of your immediate surroundings builds a positive image about your company in the local community. According to the Network for Business Stability, sales grow by $6 for every dollar donated by a company towards green initiatives.
New Opportunities. Not only do more consumers prefer eco-friendly products, a lot of government procurement policies insist on using green businesses as their suppliers, tradesmen and other business partners. By going free, you open up a large and lucrative market to sell to. Sustainable procurement is a real thing people.
The Green Procurement Compilation created by the General Services Administration in the United States offers detailed requirements from an ecological perspective for various products and services. Check out what the requirements are for your product category and get set to supply for large government contracts.
Cost Savings. Another great benefit of turning your business eco-friendly, is that huge savings that it brings with it. The Carden Park Golf Resort and Spa in Cheshire, England, invested about GBP 10,000 in a waste management system that was environment friendly. The hotel now saves over GBP 10,697 each year from the on-site glass crusher. This device turns glass jars and bottles into sand in a jiffy and this sand is then reused by the resort across its golf course. Now that’s both green and creative!
Related Article: Two Green Business Moves to Attract and Retain Talent
Quick tips for your business to go green
Most businesses view the emphasis on ‘going green’ as an unnecessary headache that only adds to their expenses. That’s an extremely short term view on the matter. Nearly every measure taken to reduce your carbon footprint and lessen your impact on the environment results in benefits in the long run. So what can you do to show off your eco-friendly side without burning a hole on your pocket? Here are some ideas.
Reduce your consumption of natural resources
The simplest and quickest way to becoming less of a burden on the planet is by reducing the amount of resources you and your business consume. Not only will this reduction be light on your pocket, it will also go a long way in conserving non-renewable resources like oil and natural gas. Some areas that businesses can reduce include:
- Reduce paper usage by opting for double sided printing.
- Another way of reducing your paper consumption is by going electronic. Take your record keeping, internal communications, and customer communications to the cloud and save huge money on printing, paper and filing expenses.
- Reduce the use of electricity by using the stairs instead of the elevator. There’s a health benefit wrapped up in a green venture!
- Install low flow faucets and toilets in your office to reduce wastage of water.
- Business travel, whether local or international, has a huge impact on consumption of fossil fuels. Reduce these consumption levels by opting instead for video conferencing with clients, partners or co-workers based in different locations. Skype, Google Hangouts, even FaceTime are free alternatives to expensive business trips.
- Allow telecommuting for employees who live too far from your workplace. With collaboration tools like Basecamp and Wrike, it’s easier than pie to co-ordinate between team members located around the world.
- Reduce the amount of packaging your product uses. Alternately switch to eco-friendly packaging to lower your environmental footprint.
Related Article: Expert Advice on Being Green and Profitable
Switch to greener alternatives
- Ditch those wasteful plastic or paper cups for coffee in your cafeteria and switch to mugs made of china that can be reused over and over.
- Switch to PCW or Post-Consumer Waste paper for all your printing needs. PCW paper is made from recycled materials and is over 45% cheaper to produce than regular paper.
- Encourage employees to use public transport instead of burning up fossil fuels by driving to work. Many organizations offer reimbursement for public transportation costs as an incentive to employees to make the switch.
- Switch to more energy efficient appliances that come with Energy Star ratings. The higher the rating, the lower is the energy consumption of the appliance.
- Lighting accounts for 21% of our daily energy consumption. Switch from incandescent lights to CFL or LED lights to reduce your replacement costs and lower your energy bills simultaneously. Did you know that a CFL is 76% cheaper and an LED is 83% cheaper than a regular incandescent bulb over a 10 year period?
- When designing your office space, try and maximize natural light indoors to reduce your dependence on artificial lighting. Consider incorporating large windows, skylights and glass doors to brighten up your work space. Partner with companies like Taylor Morrison that specialize in designing buildings that are energy efficient, have eco-friendly waste management systems, use sustainable materials and more.
Finally, recycle more. Institute a culture of recycling in your organization. From recycling your tins and cans to installing gently used or vintage furniture in your office spaces, there are hundreds of different ways in which you can extend the life of pre-owned products.