Look at practically every large corporation in the United States, and you can find some effort they have made to promote being and fighting climate change. Even businesses we often think of as being bad for the environment, like BP, proudly display their efforts to promote alternative, cleaner energy.
Are all these business going green out of mere altruism? Some probably are. But others understand that there are direct financial benefits from going green, and small businesses can reap these benefits too. Here are five benefits of going green and how your business can truly reap said benefits.
Charging a Premium
Is the organic produce you find in the grocery store actually better for the environment than conventional agriculture? The answer is not that clear, and there is some evidence that organic agriculture is actually worse for the environment. But what is clear is that organic agriculture is generally perceived as greener, which allows organic producers to charge a higher price.
That does not just apply to food. Consumers can be willing to pay a premium for products which use recycled materials, sustainably produced products, or sell green products or services. Franchise Help points out a wide array of businesses, from restaurants to cleaning services to pet care companies, which can attract greater consumer interest and higher prices.
This is one of the most visible benefits of going green, as businesses can save money by using as little energy as possible. A visible example of this is green building, as larger businesses and corporations seek to either work in or build office buildings which use different building materials, solar power arrays, and improved insulation among other measures to reduce energy expenditures.
Your business may not able to be in a green building using renewable energy, but there are many policies which can save energy. Mandate that the lights and computers be turned off when not in use, or install automatic fixtures which turn off the lights when no one is inside. When appliances grow old, steadily replace them with more energy-efficient versions. Over time, your business will use less energy and your electricity and water bills will grow smaller.
Companies can waste resources in other ways beyond using too much electricity or water. Paper in particular is a resource which can be wasted easily. Most small businesses today can do their work by going paperless, so why spend money on buying additional paper and ink? Email documents to clients instead of mailing them, and mandate that the printer can only be used when truly necessary.
The key is to emphasize reducing waste as much as possible for every resource. Get creative and look to replace items we throw away after a few uses with those which are truly sustainable.
Plenty of green measures in the office can improve workplace health. For example, a business looking to reduce energy expenditures may reposition workplaces so that everyone has more access to the sun. Moderate sunlight exposure can lead various health benefits such as improving Vitamin D exposure, improving mental health, and preventing certain kinds of cancers.
Other healthy green initiatives can include using non-toxic chemicals or cleaning compounds in the workplace or bringing in plants which absorb indoor pollution. A healthier workforce means a more productive workforce.
PR and Marketing
Going green can help your company indirectly by improving your company’s reputation. Customers want to see that their companies are socially responsible, and you can gain a marketing advantage over your competitors by showcasing your commitment towards going green.
But that does not mean that you can just slap a green label somewhere on your website or product and call it a day. Explain how going green will benefit your customers instead of thinking that a label of “green” or “natural” is sufficient. Customers will want to see that you are really committed towards being environmentally friendly, and you can showcase that by participating in local green initiatives in the community. Community outreach is always a potent marketing tool, and it gets more powerful when combined with the power of green.
Making a Real Commitment
It should now be clear how your business stands to gain from going green. But going green is about more than turning off the lights or selling green products. It is a process which asks that each employee, from leadership to the janitors, try to be environmentally conscious every day.
This may sound like a real challenge, and so a small business owner or manager should start by looking at themselves. If you can show that you are committed to going green in your personal life, it will be easier to convince others in your business to go green as well. That is the first step towards making a green business which will help the earth and the bottom line over the long run.