Can a business cut costs by going green?
I've read "going green" is actually good for a company's bottom line. Not only can it cut costs, but it can increase sales. We are a printed newsletter and going green has been something we've discussed for a while but never followed through. Is anyone else on here an Eco-friendly company? How has it helped your business?
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It's hard to imagine with all the hype about going green that a printed document can be considered green, but if you think it through, you will realize that printing can be "green" technology.
Consider this from the website http://printgrowstrees.org:
PRINTING & PAPER FACTS
ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS OF PRINTED PAPER
Printed paper is made from a renewable resource. Trees can be replanted in places where they were harvested and also in places where they don’t currently grow. As much as we love our electronic devices, they don’t grow on trees or anywhere else."
The newspapers we read can readily be recycled, our outdated electronics sit in storage until we find someone who will take it off our hands, usually for a fee.
Going green can help a lot. You may find that a large number of your subscribers prefer a digital version of your newsletter, which would cut your costs significantly. Also, you may still be doing a lot of printing of materials onto paper within your office, and there are some specialized apps and programs to reduce how much waste paper you generate. There are all sorts of ways that you can "green" your company, and many of them provide significant savings. Changing our bulbs in our warehouse ended up being one of those "green" items, a few years ago. The initial outlay was higher but the new bulbs gave us better visibility in the back AND cost us less in electrical, plus we got a rebate from the electric company...So check with your electric company, water company, etc.. to see what sort of green rebates you qualify for as well. You'll probably be pleasantly surprised.
Yes I think so, because going green means you believe the stakeholder with you is our environment...Just saying it does not cut it however, make sure you are moving that way and use it in your marketing plan to increase revenues with customers who agrees with you...Those who do not, you will be able to recognize early...
If you looked at newspaper business, it actually has helped them evolve - if done in a right manner. They are able to use more contributors, get more content, get community involvement as well as able to target advertise. There will be upfront costs associated with all the platform development however it will generate revenue in the long run along with increased membership. You may also face some challenges in moving readers from print to digital media but you will need to design some customer experience programs to get them to adopt the platform. Hope this helps.
When I ran the sustainability initiative for American Express Publishing it took years of getting going green to equal saving money in order for programs to get through. The important thing is that you connect you "green" to your overall mission otherwise it can be seen as "green-washing" or trying to make a point for sales of your eco friendliness.
Realistically you have three approaches, minimally, thrift is easily connected to Reduce and Reuse, two lynchpins of "green" and in both those instances you can find savings by reducing waste. So the base green is really about material efficiency.
The next level is about sourcing and since printing is your game then paper is by far the topic but the type of printing also has an impact. Just changing to 100% recycled paper is not always the greenest and it is usually more expensive. There are hybrids like some percentage of post consumer waste content that is really green but here also you can look at not just your paper stock but the basis weight and also the form configurations you print that minimize waste.
The real commitment, and again don't make this just to save money or get sales, is to actually care about SUSTAINABILITY. As a purchaser of paper you can assure there is "chain of custody" throughout your raw material process. In other words your paper is made from illegally cut forests. Even if your printer buys your paper all major paper companies understand the need for certification. This can also extend to the kind of bleaching your paper uses, the amount of water used and the type of coating that can make it more/less recycle.
If your mission is connected to your purpose for going green then you "sell" that as being part of your identity. Don't expect lots of extra opportunities because you say you are green but if you truly make a commitment to impact your Carbon Footprint (which you can measure as step 1) then you will have a story that will surely be an important part of your message and ultimate success.
I think this depends on the business. If you're not printing a whole lot or printing only when you need to it might not make a difference (although anything that cuts out printing is helping).
For out business it make a lot of sense and is a huge help. We do a lot of manuals and brochures. By moving towards online manuals we are starting to really see savings. We cut them down to a quick start and do the full manual online. All of our help sheets have gone to video and that's saves a lot of frustration of trying to figure out diagrams.
If the business resides in an older building and you want to add eco-friendly features to it, (eg. green roof) it may pinch you wallet a little bit but in the long run it will be worth it.
Like any other product, the right ones will actually decrease your utility bill almost in half. Its could also have health benefits to you, your employees and customers.
Yes it can. There is a huge misconception on going green. Going green is an investment that can cut costs in energy but also it can promote business and marketing opportunities.
I am in an industry that refuses to go green and I am working on developing ways for them to change their minds about it. There are incredible benefits from environmental points of view, public relations to cost savings with good planning.
Simplest answer is if you think yourself "green" you will be more efficient and your people will be happier and more productive. Basically get your people involved, look at how to reduce waste and increase power efficiency in your processes. You cannot help but save money and make employees happy as their ideas are implemented.
For example shortening a supply chain reduces power required in movement so its a good idea and green if it gives cheaper shipment costs on a like for like product and its a bad idea if the product is inferior or more expensive but simply available closer.
Finding ways to reduce waste and increase resource efficiency can only make you money. (unless you over pay an under delivering consultant. ) And remember if you do call in help anyone worth their salt will accept a % of the savings or don't hire them!!
So call it green if you like but its still actually only process management and cost saving. If you can get more units out for less overall power in, then you do have the opportunity to use a better source of power if you like, but you could also just bank the profit. Either way doing anything that goes against the business logic is not sustainable, hence not green. But there are always loads of things you can do better and new kit all the time to help .
As for increasing sales that is a bit of a marketing myth. You actually change the class of the product and open new markets that were closed previously. So its far better to say going green can increase market share/access rather than increase actual sales or you risk mis-understanding your new customer and thinking they will reward you with sustainable price rises.
Sadly, 'Going Green' is more a marketing hype. Without doubt, every responsible company (however small) will do the best to recycle, ensuring that printer cartridges, batteries, cans, etc. are disposed correctly.
The 'printed' newspaper (or newsletter) will not disappear for the foreseeable future, however - you can encourage your readers to download your 'e-version' - whatever format it might be (pdf, for example). That way you can:
a: encourage your users to use an virtual newsletter - i.e. eventually bringing printing costs and use of resources down.
b: have most likely a better idea about readership and more accurate marketing numbers - with all added benefits of analytics...c: use it for a new 'campaign' - Example: "Let's help the world by going green".. or so (bit naff, but get the idea...) - you could have a series of 'recycling', environmental issues, trees in the Amazon - and so on.
d: create an interactive scenario - (comments, forum, etc) I don't know your set-up...As mentioned before, it is a marketing exercise. It will increase sales depending on your marketing skills - just saying 'We are green' won't do it.
Bottom line: "If you really mean it, shout about it!" Not only 'Don't print if you don't have to...'
Happy to help.. and good luck
I'll give you a different answer than the earlier ones -- it depends. If you are a company that produces energy or manufactures a product, then you are going to be subject to governmental regulation. In that case, I do not recommend that you do any more than the government mandates, because any changes to those mandates will most likely (based on history) be a mandate to improve by X%. If you've already gone beyond the call and are then directed to cut another X%, you will have hurt yourself.
Beyond that, you should always be looking at ways to reduce cost -- cost cuts that were impractical yesterday may be very practical tomorrow, so you need to continually revisit ideas. When you're doing that, you should always consider options that are environmentally friendly -- you may very well be able to find green options that are more attractive in terms of both cost and performance. That was the case when CFC's were banned as manufacturing solvents. Industry found that diluted citrus juice was both cheaper and more effective for some applications -- and was much more environmentally friendly. That said, choosing an option sole because it's green may not be a good business decision -- you could find yourself in a non-competitive position. A company that is very green but goes out of business is not helping the environment.
Bottom line -- you need to make the best decision for your company taking all the factors into consideration.
I am currently advising a start-up and going green will be an important part of the strategy. We know that our target group values green principles and that the competitors do not profile themselves as such which can give a marketing advantage.
That said, going green can lead to costs as well as benefits. If you want to increase sales by going green your best bet is to use it as a marketing topic aimed towards an eco-concious audience. If you want to cut costs by going green you can for example invest in technology that decreases your overhead (e.g. led lights instead of incandescent bulbs).
Cost friendly or not, it should be your company's ethical strategy. Either you're doing the best you can environment-wise, or you're hurting the world for a little more profit, which is the very definition of a parasite.
Judging by the children in your profile picture, I hope you're especially sensitive to the concept that every product has a total cost or service beyond the price tag. Sometimes you can cut a corner and send some of that cost somewhere else -- make an employee work extra hours and thereby push that cost on them by stealing their time; use a sweatshop so that some 7-year-old pays your saved labor cost; cut a corner that's not as environmentally friendly and defray that cost by sentencing your children or their friends to drudge through more toxic sludge 30 years from now; etc. But in the end, somebody has to settle up the part of the check you didn't pay.
The "greatest generation" was ignorant of this. The Boomers didn't care. Gen X knows better and has a conscience.
I think "going green" is more of a fad than an actual business strategy. There are many things you can do in your business to conserve and/or recycle, but using the terms "eco friendly" or "green" or other similar won't make you rich and won't give you thousands of raving fans because of it.
I don't print unless necessary. My news letter is electronic and PDF. I recycle paper and plastic. I buy recycled toner for my printers.
However, going green can also cost money. The recycled paper that I use costs more then regular copy paper and doesn't always work great in my printers.
My company is almost 100% green though not a dot.com or online company. We are flexible and mobile. This increase competitiveness.
Costs cutting is not a strategic reason for going green (sometimes, the costs of maintaining an IT application for the purpose of green operation may be high). Costs cutting is the process of identifying non-productive cost drivers and determine should such drivers to be removed and how to remove.
Eco-friendly initiative is a value of lifestyle and a change of perception of life. Working in an eco-friendly environment regards persistent in the belief and the ability to influence others (such as your customers and suppliers). It is a benefit to be enjoy and share and ultimately bring the planet earth back to balance level.
So depend on how you look at it "from a narrow perspective" or "wider perspective"