Whether you are already running a successful business or are still in the process of putting together your business plan, it’s never too early or too late to think about a both important and frequently overlooked quality of your company: its sustainability practices. But besides the obvious benefit of contributing to the health of our people and planet, there are countless ways in which going green is advantageous to your business. Here are four big ones:
1. Saving resources saves money
When you use energy-efficient lightbulbs and windows, and are conscientious about your heating/cooling system use, you save big on your energy bill. Also, if you have a kitchen space in your office, using energy-efficient appliances can save you up to 3 times the energy as old appliances.
Another big way to save resources is by going digital with your paper products (or as digital as possible). Replacing paper with emails or blog posts not only saves paper waste, but also saves a lot of money on ink.
2. Government incentives
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “Government agencies, utilities and others offer a variety of tax credits, rebates and other incentives to support energy efficiency, encourage the use of renewable energy sources, and support efforts to conserve energy and lessen pollution.”
You can go here to see what kind of savings your company qualifies for, or you can go here to learn about how you can take an even bigger step and achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for your business.
3. Improve your image
Studies have shown that “almost two-thirds (66%) of consumers are willing to pay extra for products and services that come from companies who are committed to positive social and environmental impact.” This is a statistic from 2015, and is a higher percentage than 2014’s 55% and 2013’s 50%.
Consumers will most likely choose the more “green” option of similar products or services, and when consumers know that your business is dedicated to being environmentally responsible, they feel better about using it. Establishing a sustainable reputation can only increase your potential customers and clients by opening your doors to those who weigh sustainability into their consumer choices.
4. Increase happiness and productivity
Going green can boost office morale in more ways than one. The simple act of utilizing natural light in office spaces (think lots of windows) improves workplace performance by aiding in both sleep quality and serotonin levels in the brain.
Additionally, according to a study by the Charlton College of Business, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, there is “a significant positive relationship between employee satisfaction and level of perceived environmental performance,” while there was no significant relationship “between employee satisfaction and firm financial value.” In other words, employees feel better about working for green companies, while they actually don’t feel any better about working for financially successful ones.
So, what’s next?
In addition to the sustainable practices listed throughout this article, there are many other great ways to “green” your business, including:
- -Using real, reusable dining ware instead of paper cups or plates
- -Using recycled printer paper and/or napkins and paper towels
- -Providing employees with bus passes to increase use of public transport over personal vehicles
- -Ensuring access to drinking water that can be used to fill reusable water bottles
- -If food is a big part of your business, composting
- -Making sure you turn off the lights in offices or meeting spaces that aren’t in use
Practicing corporate social responsibility is not only great for the world, it’s great for your business as well.