There are many arguments – on human, local, economical and ethical levels - why businesses should commit to sustainable standards and practices and go green.
1. Keeping up with the times
Going green or becoming environmentally-friendly is now more than a trend and has become part of our culture, affecting individual, local, and corporate initiatives.
Businesses of any size can hardly avoid incorporating an ecological approach in the global strategy.
People have become more aware of environmental issues and are themselves, whether they want it or not, having to adopt greener practices in their daily life.
2. Comply with regulations
Government are setting green targets and offering incentives. This is the ideal time for the employer to use these new regulations to meet and exceed their responsibilities regarding insulation, recycling, waste management, etc.
3. Meet customer demand
This obviously varies depending on the company’s industry sector but for some categories – cosmetics, food, clothing, etc. – consumers are demanding an environment-friendly approach and will check labels or packaging to ensure the product or wrapping uses recycled materials or natural resources. The chance is the company will be endorsed by more environmentally-conscious customer associations or local communities with a green label and therefore gain a larger share of the market.
4. Looking good through positive marketing
Businesses may gain credit with customers and media when they display their green credentials. There are certifications, logos and awards to be gained, which you can place on your packaging, stationery, exhibition material, etc. Companies can also use claims such as “produced with recycled material”, “no GMOs”, etc, highlighting their green attitude.
Emphasising the effort in PR, digital communications and marketing literature will go down well and boost the brand image.
5. Healthier work environment
Choosing non-toxic cleaning supplies will benefit those of your employees that may have allergic reactions to chemicals and meet the harshest health and safety criteria.
Also, encouraging staff to rearrange their workspace in order to make the best use of natural light or to best benefit from the existing electric light is an interesting step to put employees in charge and show that the business cares both about staff and environment.
Investing in better material and getting rid of old equipment will both improve the environment and staff gratification. All this will have an impact on attitude and productivity.
6. Reduce consumption and waste
The first law of going green is about not wasting resources, whether in the way we use them or in the options we choose; for instance, the average American office employee uses a staggering 350 pounds of paper every year. Reducing the use of paper by assigning a fixed amount of copies printed/reproduced per employee or department will make staff think twice before pressing the print button. The use of recycled paper rather that virgin pulp paper will also contribute to the company’s effort. And in following these simple steps, businesses will also save on ink (which they must remember to recycle as well!).
7. Save energy
At work, like at home, collective efforts are easy to implement to preserve natural resources: for instance turning the lights off when you leave a room, shutting computers at the end of the day, have the temperature dropped in rooms scarcely used, monitoring printing and reprographics, can, with minimum training and motivation, quickly become a reflex for all and lead to overhead savings for the company. Using time-controllers and energy-saving standby mode on electrical appliances will also be helpful.
8. Increase efficiency
Because of a reduced consumption and more carefully-planned use of materials and resources, the company’s efficiency will automatically increase. Thought needs to be given to take a systematic approach to environmental issues at work, including research on material, suppliers, products etc that will help the company meet their goals. The internal evaluation, staff involvement and new processes will create a sustainable plan.
9. Benefit from tax relief schemes
Most countries have put into place financial incentives for companies to promote recycling and environment-friendly business practices. Companies can qualify for free carbon surveys, insulation quotes, etc.
Enquiries need to be made to banks and public institutions to know the incentive schemes in place in the local community or in the industry sector to set up energy-savings options or insulation projects – at a better cost.
10. Promote business sustainability
Integrating ecological practices into the company’s strategy has been shown to promote long-term sustainability, whilst being in line with the cutting-edge best practices and technologies.
Therefore going green is for smart companies, a strategic opportunity to benefit the business and the brand image whilst protecting our planet.