Posted: Mon 15th Apr 2013
Today we hear a lot about the need to reduce carbon emissions, recycle our waste products, and improve sustainability - and there can be no doubt that the planet is in an environmentally perilous state and 'going green' is incredibly important, writes Brit (left). Even so, businesses are sometimes reluctant to implement green policies, and slow to introduce recycling schemes, waste reduction programs, or invest in eco-friendly packaging and supplies. The reason for this is usually financial - it is believed that sustainable practices are expensive and will cut into a business's bottom line.
In fact, there are some compelling examples of such schemes saving money and increasing revenue. CSR, or corporate social responsibility models - which incorporate sustainable business practices - have proven highly profitable, To cite just two examples from big business:
Coca Cola saved $100 million by cutting down on packaging
After implementing ethical and environmental guidelines, Marks & Spencer increased revenue by Â£50 million.
It's not only huge corporations that can benefit from such policies, however. Small businesses, too, can reap the benefits, by taking such simple steps as switching off equipment when not in use, and installing efficient lighting.
By adopting sustainable practices and engaging with the local community over green issues, a business helps positively enhance its public image, and thus attract new custom. An example of the way in which a business can get involved with a community's green issues might be to hold a tree planting day, in which staff help offset carbon emissions as well as improve the eco-diversity and visual appeal of their locality. Such schemes improve relations with the local community, and encourage goodwill towards your business. According to a report by DS Simon Productions, 35-50 per cent more positive media coverage is secured when a business's media initiatives include a corporate social responsibility focus.
Businesses that are environmentally conscious and place an emphasis on such policies are more likely to attract the brightest young talent. That's the conclusion to be drawn from various surveys, including a poll conducted in the US by MonsterTRAK, which found that a whopping 92 per cent of young professionals would rather work for an environmentally-conscious company. Today's young generation are among those most aware of, and concerned about, environmental issues - so enhancing your green credentials makes perfect sense from a recruitment point of view.
As we have seen, 'greening' your business can save money - and implementation of sustainable practices does not have to be time-consuming or complicated. Simple steps that can be taken include:
- Cutting down on the use of paper by adopting "the three R's" - reducing, reusing and recycling.
Reduce by encouraging staff to use both sides of the page when printing documents - and store company records digitally rather than on paper, when possible. Reuse paper by asking staff to use scrap paper for taking notes and messages, and ensure you recycle all waste paper (sensitive documents of course having first been thoroughly shredded).
- Switch off computers and lighting when not in use, particularly overnight. The energy savings soon add up, helping to be environmentally friendly while also cutting your business's overheads. An investment in new lighting, for example replacing tube lights with T5 energy efficient lighting, can also cut bills and reduce a business's CO2 emissions.
- Pay close attention to your business practices, particularly in terms of the amount of travel that employees are undertaking in order to attend meetings. Is it really necessary for staff from different offices to meet in person, or could they instead hold discussions via videoconferencing, thus reducing car CO2 emissions? Is your business ordering its supplies from far away, when a local supplier offers the same products, with shorter delivery routes? Buying local will reduce transportation costs and reduce the environmental impact of delivery.
The message is clear - save money and the environment by ensuring your small business goes green! Brit Peacock is a digital marketer who runs a small precious metals business. He enjoys writing on issues relating to small business and entrepreneurship, and offering tips on how to survive during tough economic times.
The Small Business Guide to PR by Greg Simpson is a simple, straightforward guide to creating, managing and executing a bespoke PR campaign in just ten hours. It's available as a donwlodable ebook from the Enterprise Nation shop for Â£5. Just click on the link below. [product id="56642"] Photo credits: Aaron Tait (main),Â Lee Jordan (newspaper) via Compfight cc
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