“Pollution is waste, waste represents inefficiency and inefficiency is simply not profitable” In this simple quote Jeffrey Hollander of Seventh Generation asserts what environmental advocates have been telling us for years: sustainability and profit are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, they go hand in hand.
A leaner, more efficient business not only conserves resources but also operates smoother, faster and smarter. This inevitably translates into savings which can be directly applied to the bottom line-not to mention potential marketing and media coverage opportunities thus generated. But the business case for Going Green is much farther reaching than just direct financial improvements. Businesses who have successfully implemented environmentally-friendly measures site various benefits including: increased employee retention, a stronger client base, greater productivity, liability protection, stakeholder communication, strategic management and internal communication, worker health and safety, stronger public image (if marketed responsibly) and, depending on the scope of the program, a measure of preparedness in a climate of evolving environmental regulation.
So, in light of the many benefits of adopting eco-friendly strategies, why aren’t more businesses Going Green? While this may not be a simple one-answer question, one common misconception may trump all others; the notion that eco-friendly invariably equals prohibitively expensive. What many businesses don’t realize is that hefty capitol investments are not synonymous with Going Green; simply creating an Environmental Management System, effectively using resources and trimming the fat can drastically reduce your ecological footprint without costing a penny (YGR’s Guide to Creating an EMS can be found below). The key is figuring out where your business currently stands, where it hopes to end up and then addressing those gaps. For us at YourGreenReview.com, this is exactly where the road to sustainability began.
First we identified our environmental ‘hot spots’ then customized a plan to reduce waste and conserve resources according to our own unique needs, ecological footprints and budget. Since fist taking this step, YGR has introduced a number of conservation measures including: on-site composting and recycling; making our own surface cleaners; power down, unplug and print-only-when-necessary policies; a purchase-used policy for furniture and appropriate appliances; avoiding single-use/individually packaged products (including water bottles); employing water/waste and energy conservation measures etc. Each of these efforts has resulted in cost savings while requiring little or no capitol investment. Down the line those savings we will fund our more ambitious Green upgrades and investments.
It may sound like a daunting undertaking but we, like many other businesses, have discovered that ‘Green’ represents a unique opportunity for innovative business strategies and creative license. From experimenting with alternative in-house paper recycling to creatively reusing non-recyclable plastic containers, we have implemented (and sometimes scrapped) new energy, waste and water conservation measures. Even large corporations like Sun Microsystems and Seventh Generation are finding that in this relatively new and constantly evolving niche, there is endless room for conservation innovation. Small to midsize companies can seize this opportunity to become trail blazers and gain a competitive edge by ‘doing good’.
As always, transparency and accountability are key to any Green marketing strategy. This is one lesson we ought never to forget lest we join the ever growing pool of Greenwash-labeled companies who have learned the hard way that customers do their research and walking the talk is not an optional commitment-it’s an absolute necessity.
*For more information on how to Green your business including guides, tips, links and articles visit YGR’s Green Business section here (http://yourgreenreview.com/category/green-business/). Keep checking back as we are constantly adding more!