If you’ve been thinking about making your business eco-friendlier, there’s never been a better time to take the plunge. As climate change and its effects continue to make headlines around the world, it’s becoming increasingly clear that all of us—individuals and businesses alike—need to take action to limit our environmental impact and preserve the health of our planet for future generations.
For many businesses, however, it’s understandable that this is easier said than done. Legacy businesses are often based on business models that are not particularly sustainable, mainly because the “non-green” route has, for a long time, usually been the less costly and easier option. But today, things are changing. Not only is it becoming increasingly economically viable for businesses of all sizes to go green, but many companies are finding that the benefits of doing so clearly outweigh the difficulties.
Some of the biggest reasons why your business should consider going green include the following:
It saves money over the long term.
Many businesses get caught up in the fact that implementing green, eco-friendly initiatives involves an upfront cost (for example, replacing appliances and lighting systems in an office as part of a green retrofit).
But over the long term, many of these measures will end up saving you money. Even a small move like replacing existing light bulbs with Energy Star-certified bulbs can mean using up to 90 percent less energy, which translates to ongoing energy savings. In fact, many business owners are often surprised by how much of a positive impact eco-friendly practices have on their company’s bottom line. In addition, there are usually tax credits or deductions for businesses that want to convert to a greener business model, so your upfront expenses may be lower than you think.
It helps meet consumer expectations and build brand loyalty.
As a business owner, your top priority is satisfying the expectations of your customers. Today, more and more consumers are expecting sustainability and environmental awareness to be part of your company’s operations.
According to a 2015 study from Cone Communications, 91 percent of global consumers say they expect companies to responsibly address environmental issues, while 84 percent say that they deliberately seek out responsible products. What this means is that, in many ways, it’s really no longer an option for businesses to operate unsustainably. If yours does, it’s highly likely that your customers will take their business to a competitor that is better aligned with their values.
On the other hand, if your company can demonstrate transparent, environmentally friendly priorities and practices, you’ll find that your existing customers will be more loyal to your brand than ever.
It can attract top talent.
Customers aren’t the only ones carefully considering a business’ green credentials—potential employees are, too. Millennials, in particular, place a great deal of weight on a prospective employer’s commitment to social responsibility, including sustainable practices, and are much more inclined to put their talents at the service of businesses that uphold the environmental values they believe in. Going green can, therefore, be a highly effective recruitment strategy, especially if your business wants to attract a younger, more connected workforce.
It ensures legal and regulatory compliance.
Soon enough, the choice of whether or not to go green with your business may not even be yours to make. It’s becoming increasingly common for municipalities, states, and countries to mandate environmental compliance. Every year, more and more laws are passed that govern what companies need to do when it comes to sustainable practices and operations. Deciding to implement green measures at your business now can help you get ahead of the curve while also ensuring that you don’t run the risk of contravening any environmental legislation or regulations (which could mean incurring fines or other penalties).
There is financial help available.
If your business is going green but you’re worried about cost, you can take advantage of several tax credit, rebate, and loan programs. For example, the Green Loans program from GBTI provides financing for a variety of eco-friendly, sustainable initiatives, including solar energy products, energy-saving appliances, and low-carbon economic investments. With benefits including competitive interest rates, no late payment fees, and no prepayment penalties, GBTI’s Green Loans make it easier than ever for businesses to incorporate environmental responsibility into their activities.
Every little bit helps.
It’s easy to think that your business is too small to make a difference or that the potential actions you take to make your company more environmentally friendly couldn’t possibly have an effect on global issues such as climate change and sustainability. But the truth is that every little bit helps. Even small measures are a step in the right direction, not only because they make it easier to take the next, bigger step, but because they can inspire others, such as companies in your industry, to take those steps themselves.