When global leaders came together and adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015, it sent an undeniable signal to industries, businesses, and markets across the world: we are now in the low-carbon era. For some businesses, this might have been a wake-up call, while for others, it was simply an affirmation of a trend that they had already identified – cleaner practices were not only feasible but also valuable for their bottom line.
As such, environmental sustainability is becoming an increasingly lucrative business strategy. In fact, in 2016, 190 of the Fortune 500 companies collectively saved approximately $3.7 billion as a result of their environmental sustainability initiatives. The implication of going green is that your business will not only benefit from favorable public sentiment but also increased cost savings, incentives from the government, and increased profitability. Moreover, you will also get to enjoy the psychic income of a reduced carbon footprint.
Current trends in government policy and consumer consumption indicate more green industry business opportunities lie ahead of us. There are various ways in which you can take advantage of these opportunities, including providing energy-efficient products or services, growing organic food, and using eco-friendly soaps; the possibilities are endless.
What Does Going Green Entail in Business?
Going green in business involves taking on practices that make you a profit without having a negative impact on the environment. As such, environmental sustainability should be one of your key considerations during decision-making and process implementation in your company. These practices work to reduce wastage, the use, and production of toxic chemicals, and the amount of waste byproducts during the production process. By recognizing that our planet’s resources are dwindling and that there is an economic opportunity in it, going green will help us meet today’s demands without affecting our ability to meet tomorrow’s needs.
The ways in which green practices can be implemented varies among companies. For instance, a large factory might choose to install solar panels to lower energy costs while a local restaurant might choose to use bicycles for delivery to lessen emissions. A warehouse could choose to use energy-saving bulbs, while a homebuilder could choose to use insulation designed out of recycled denim. Businesses are also trying to make their packaging more sustainable. The premise here is to identify areas in your business operations that could do with some changes. But what are the benefits for going green?
Since we want to make a profit, it is essential for intentions to be pure if we are going to sustain these practices. The biggest reason behind going green is to maintain the health of our environment. By using sustainable processes that mitigate the waste of natural resources, you will be playing your part in reducing the risk of depletion over time. It is, therefore, important to understand that going green is for the greater good and that making profits is just a benefit of adopting sustainable processes. This can be making recyclable packaging or just merely starting to recycle and go paperless at your workplace.
2. Legal Compliance
Most governments have laws in their constitution that mandate environmental compliance in varying degrees. It is becoming commonplace for laws regarding environmental sustainability to be passed every year. As such, going green implies that you will get ahead of the curve. If your business starts green practices now, by the time certain green laws are being passed, you will have a leg up.
The recent launch of the 2020 Action Agenda by the Environmental Protection Agency is a voluminous, comprehensive plan that aims to mitigate carbon emissions and promote sustainability. The agenda is full of actionable consequences for those who do not follow green practices as well as incentives for those who are ahead of the green curve.
3. Saving Money
By increasing your energy efficiency, you will be able to save on your utility costs. For instance, by incorporating creative ways to reuse existing material, you’ll be able to save on the cash that would have been used to purchase new materials to create your products. Admittedly, going green does require a significant amount of investment. However, over time, you’ll be able to save a lot of cash.
4. Excellent Employees
The people supporting the Go Green initiative include your employees as well. When you adopt green practices in your business, your employees will be proud of their workplace, which will only lead to enhanced morale and increased productivity. The employee turnover rate will be lower, in addition to the company attracting eco-conscious employees. Overall, going green will promote a safer and healthier work environment.
5. Building Your Brand
A business that has green operations is deemed to be more trustworthy by customers. A study commissioned by Nielsen in 2013 revealed that over 50 percent of consumers around the globe were willing to pay more for a product that was created by socially responsible companies.
Another report by Nielsen in 2015 revealed that more and more consumers were becoming environmentally conscious and that 66 percent of consumers around the world were willing to pay more for sustainable goods. Moreover, millennials were even more conscious about this issue with 73 percent of them willing to do the same. As a business, not only does going green give you a competitive advantage but it also implies that you could include the costs of going green in your price and consumers will still choose your product.
When it comes to branding, consumers today want to identify only with brands that show that they care about the planet. Remember, for any branding effort to be successful, you must be consumer-centric. And thus, with the increasing talks about the need for environmental sustainability, people are becoming more and more supportive of the Go Green movement. Businesses that apply genuine effort into going green and apply these practices into their business operations and marketing will have a heightened chance of establishing deeper connections with the customers than their competition. Today, brands that have embraced the green movement are perceived as being reputable and credible. As a communication strategy, going green is excellent.
Going green does not take a lot. It is as simple as ensuring that lights are turned off in offices that are not being used to prevent the waste of electricity or even adopting alternative sources of power such as wind or solar. By slowly incorporating green practices in your business, you will soon realize enhanced profitability as well as sustainability. And after, you can not only enjoy its benefits, but you will be able to begin to market your newfound green status to your customers and clients.