Green business is good business

By Neil Munro. Published at Aug 26, 2019, in The Green Keeper

Increasing awareness of the impact of modern lifestyles on the environment is placing pressure on everyone to adopt more environmentally friendly ways of living and working. For businesses, going green can help promote growth. In fact, sustainability and profitability are inextricably linked.

Greening your business is a good way of reducing your overhead costs. Controlling operational costs is obviously good for business because it benefits bottom line earnings, providing a degree of protection against seasonal fluctuations and some flexibility to drop prices in order to remain competitive.

Companies that invest in high efficiency equipment and eco-friendly processes enjoy a number of benefits that go beyond lower energy bills. Energy efficient equipment provides greater reliability and productivity, while ensuring lower maintenance costs and less waste.

Aside from cost reductions, companies differentiate themselves by promoting their green credentials to create unique selling points that can ultimately lead to business growth. Various pieces of research show that the majority of consumers think it’s important to buy from environmentally responsible companies. Being recognised as a green organisation can boost sales, increase interest in an organisation, improve brand awareness and build brand loyalty.

Operating a resource efficient business will also help to ensure that your company complies with increasing regulatory pressures.

However, here is why it should be:

Save costs
Investing in sustainability can save some immediate costs in production, material inputs and energy bills. Energy efficient equipment and processes can also result in a reduction of waste management costs.

Win customers over
Customers love to see their values aligned with what the brand is doing and how they behave. Your green credentials might be the differentiator that sways a customer to purchase from you rather than your competitor.

Attract great talent
Research has found that improved brand image has a positive effect on talent retention and makes it easier to attract new employees to a business. This is especially true of the younger generation which is more environmentally conscious.

Sustainability equals profitability
Customers, employees and even investors are all keen to interact with brands that reflect their environmentally friendly ideals. Offering ecologically sound products gives your company a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Green companies may also charge higher prices to environmentally conscious consumers who are willing to pay a premium price for environmentally friendly products and services.

Show you care
Companies that use environmentally friendly processes can foster good relationships in the communities where the manufacturing facility is located. More consumers want to know that the brands they support share their commitment to the environment.

Ensure compliance
While implementing policies and measures to help the environment, you can also ensure that your company complies with existing legal and regulatory requirements.

Tips for greening your small business

There are many ways to make your business more sustainable:

Reduce travel and meeting costs: make a phone call instead of holding a meeting, send an email rather than posting, conduct virtual meetings to save the cost of making business trips.

Minimise using materials: archive computer files rather than print files, advertise on your website rather than in brochures, email your promotional material rather than posting it.

Reduce waste: reuse old envelopes, have staff use their own mugs, get printer cartridges refilled not replaced and buy recycled stationery supplies.

Recycle it: recycle everything you can't reuse. Check with the council what they will recycle. Set up recycling bins in locations staff will use them.

Turn it off: switch off lights, computers, printers and appliances at the power point when not in use - they will last longer and your power bills will be considerably reduced.

Outsource it: reduce your server needs and cut power costs by using cloud computing services (web-based data storage) and use virtual office services or outside contractors rather than expand office space.

Reduce it: turn down the air conditioner – by lowering the temperature just one degree on a hot day can increase your energy costs. Reduce energy consumption further by using cut-out switches to cut out standby power usage, installing automatic lighting sensors and switching off lights and equipment when they aren’t being used. In the office kitchen, reduce water and power consumption by running office dishwashers when full, fixing leaky taps and reducing the hot-water temperature setting.

Buy green: ask printers for recycled paper and replace defunct equipment with high-energy efficiency models with a long shelf life.There are many ways to make your business more sustainable.

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