By Jerry Mooney
In the modern age, after decades of waste and pollution, the world is finally starting to wisen up to the fact that it’s completely unsustainable to consume in excess and faster than the planet can replenish its vital resources. It sounds quite obvious when phrased as such, and yet we still don’t do enough as a society to protect our environment, ozone layer or our futures from devastating damage.
As a business, it’s easy to think such matters are out of your hands. You’re just one fish in a big sea, so surely there’s no reason in hurting your head over such matters? You’ve got profit to make, so you can’t be wasting time and money becoming a more green, sustainable, eco-friendly business, right? Wrong. Here are some reasons for becoming a clean, green and sustainable business, and I’ll explain why it most certainly won’t have negative effects on your operations.
That’s right. The thought of adopting an environmental policy sounds like other policies and operational advice your organisation is encouraged to adopt, which often causing groaning and moaning, because they cost precious company time and money. Maybe you switch off when you hear the mention of environmental ideas and policies, because that sounds like yet another headache for your business, and a costly one that you don’t need right now.
In reality, you couldn’t be further from the truth if you think this way. Most businesses realise the benefit of becoming greener and sustainable when they think about its usefulness beyond simply saving the planet: it could save your company. I don’t just mean in the sense that the world won’t burn in a horrible disaster, but you’ll also be saving your company huge amounts of money.
Cost-effectiveness is the main benefit of running a green business, and I’ll explain some of the ways you could be reducing costs through sustainable methods, whilst also explaining added benefits of doing so. Some companies offer environmental testing services, if you want to know how successful your organisation currently is at respecting and preserving the environment throughout its operations. You’ve most likely enacted some smaller measures, such as reducing paper wastage or maybe even recycling, but there’s so much more you could be doing.
Greener travel isn’t meaner travel.
Commuting to work is a stressful experience. Encouraging your employees to cycle into work, and you can hop on your bike whilst you’re at it, is a great way to turn the agonising fury experienced during traffic jams into sheer bliss. Perhaps you could even take more picturesque side roads through your local town or city. Of course, I don’t need to tell you that, as well as this being a stress-inducing approach to travel, it’s also incredibly environmentally-conscious.
In some cases, employees might be far out in the suburbs and unable to bike to work in any time less than two hours, or something ridiculous such as that. That doesn’t mean they can’t adopt environmentally-sensitive methods, as even car-sharing is a much more conscious, green approach to travel.
Remember, this will benefit your business in so many more ways than reduced pollution; you might find that you have a happier team under your employ each morning. Your workers might be calmer and more peaceful after a relaxing bike ride into the office. Of course, cycling may not be right for every employee, but even car sharing and suggesting employees take it in turns to be the half-asleep passenger in one another’s cars might be enough to kickstart somebody’s morning in a slightly gentler and less jarring manner.
Think about the consumer.
Yes, you may have thought about this in the past when considering greener solutions to business. The consumer is impressed by sustainability, and this is obviously a great incentive for your business to become an environmentally-conscious and progressive organisation. You need to weave green ideas into your marketing campaign, after enacting them within your business.
Of course, you should ensure you’re actually doing all you can to be a green, eco company on an internal basis, but it only makes sense to start projecting those green improvements externally. You’re a business at the end of the day, and profit is what keeps you afloat. Contrary to belief, as I mentioned before, green practices within businesses do not cost time or money. They save time, save money, and, if you shout loudly enough, green methods can make you more money through reeling in greater numbers of environmentally-orientated consumers.
Adopting green methods should be for the right reasons. Environmentalism is in all of our interests, as we each rely on the planet for our very existence. It’s a selfish and a selfless act to preserve the world in which we live, and using your shiny new environmental-warrior badge to impress consumers is one way in which you’re using a selfless act to selfishly improve your business. It’s nothing of which you should be ashamed, as long as you are following through on your promises. Show the consumer how you’ve cut down on resources such as paper, or other manufactured processes, and boast about the benefits of recycling. You could even donate to an environmental cause in order to show that you’re a human organisation, and not just some cold, corporate entity. At the end of the day, your company is comprised of people, and you might find that employees respect the business more when it strives to be more than a money-making machine. Be better than that. You can be a clean, green, profitable machine.
Sustainability means productivity.
Believe it or not, you’re not just sustaining the plants and the trees when you act in an environmentally-conscious manner. You’re sustaining human beings by creating a healthier workplace. Yes, that’s right. When you create a more hygienic, sustainable and environmental environment, health benefits seep through as a happy side effect. If you’re wondering how this can be achieved, I’m talking about more than reducing paper waste.
Simply offering healthy, organic food in the cafeteria can make a difference. It’s tempting to sell cheap, unhealthy food, but every seemingly-cost-effective method can have costly consequences further down the line. The same goes for using environmentally-friendly cleaning products; you’re pumping your employees full of less rubbish, and this means less sick days in the future.
This means your organisation isn’t forced to pump out so much money in order to cover medical costs. It’s a win-win situation, as you’ll have a healthier and more productive workforce, given the decrease in sick or simply lacklustre employees full on food lacking in nutrients or anything with energy.
Reduce and reuse before you consume.
I’ve already mentioned countless ways in which your company could waste far less and save much more money. I could probably mention countless more, but we’d be here all day. Still, I think it’s important to note all the small things which can be reduced in order to create a more eco-friendly company at little to no effort, but with huge cost savings in the long-term. One such way is reduced energy usage, as you need only switch off lights and you’ll notice that tiny savings every day add up to huge cost savings for your company every year.
It’s easy to look at environmentalism as nothing more than a spot of recycling here and there, or the act of buying a wind-up torch instead of an electric one. However, being green is about much more than green products. In fact, being green is about reducing your consumption, rather than consuming more products simply because they’re sustainable. That’s actually less sustainable, and you should only consume things once you’ve gotten all the use you can out of old items.
That’s why your business should be saving money through green policies; you don’t have to go out and buy yourself a wind turbine to power the company and come across as environmentally-conscious. You need only reduce the things you already use, and make a bold statement that you’re going to waste less.
Reinvent your business.
I mentioned that adopting greener solutions around the workplace can not only impress your employees and improve the internal operations of your business, but it can impress consumers on an external basis. Much like any overhaul of a company’s image and operations, sometimes a new face or a reinvention can be great for a business in terms of promotion and popularity.
Going green could be the boost your business needs to do a little spring cleaning and check over every last element of your company’s operations. It could help you find more effective ways of doing everything, in terms of time, cost and people management.
Save the world.
Remember that thing which gives us life? Yes, I saved the best for last. The most important reason for a business to become green, believe it or not, is the green thing on which it relies to carry on running. Environmentalism, at the end of the day, is built not on increased profit margins or reduced costs; it’s built on the goal of saving the planet, and that’s something in which we should all be invested.