Customers across the globe are increasingly measuring the environmental impact of businesses before deciding whether to purchase goods or services from them. Never has it been more important for a company to reduce its carbon footprint, and the benefits of doing so are not just limited to potentially attracting more customers. The advantages of trying to boost your brand’s sustainability credentials can be felt across your enterprise; from beneficial branding all the way through to stronger financials.
This article takes a look at the top 4 ways and benefits of enhancing your company’s green credentials, allowing you to understand the importance of environmental consideration within your company, and demonstrating how they can leave your business in a much stronger place than before it started the process.
1. Improve Efficiency and Reduce Waste
Wastage of resources is one of the biggest environmental problems companies face today. A report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration demonstrated that although commercial buildings of between 25,000 and 200,000 sq. ft only account for 11% of all building nationwide, they use 44% of all building energy.
Therefore, it makes sense to start your green journey here, and assess how you can reduce all unnecessary waste in all aspects of your business. Draw up a list of your current processes and practices and see where you can eliminate inefficiencies. For example, many companies are creating sustainable exhibition campaigns that help save energy and reduce unnecessary waste. Not only will this help reduce your environmental footprint, it will help you save vital resources and time.
Firstly, review your energy usage. Are staff leaving lights on when they are not in use? Is machinery left idling all night long? How many computers are being left on standby overnight instead of being switched off? Doing a thorough review of your power usage will throw up some savings that perhaps you hadn’t previously thought of, reducing your outgoings on energy bills and helping to protect the environment simultaneously. Some of the easiest tasks (such as switching off lights) can reduce your energy consumption up to 40%!
Secondly, prolonging the life of all necessary equipment (when feasible) will drive down your costs as well as limit your environmental impact. Introducing a regular maintenance schedule (if there isn’t one already in place) will reduce the amount of harmful by-products caused by running poorly looked-after tools and equipment. It will also save you the costs of regular replacements which harms both company finances and the environment.
2. Apply for Assistance
Carrying out these energy and waste reviews, whilst worthwhile endeavours, can present fairly large upfront costs. Fortunately, there are multiple streams of financial aid viable when a company is looking to improve its environmental footprint.
There are plenty of government schemes aimed at incentivizing strong environmental performance. Whether it’s tax breaks or funding grants, devote time to researching which program is a good fit for your business, so you can enhance your green credentials without breaking the bank.
Once you have identified your chosen scheme, spend quality time perfecting your application. These schemes are competitive and receiving funding is not a given. Crafting a well-argued and well-reasoned application will greatly increase your chances of being granted financial aid.
3. Bring Staff on Board
Running your company through some of these wide-reaching changes is not something that should be decided and implemented in the boardroom by company executives. You need to enlighten the staff and get them on-board early in the process.
Staff are much more likely to motivated and loyal to a company that has great ethical foundations. In fact, in a recent ethics study undertaken by the government advisory firm LRN revealed that 94% of the workforce say it is “critical” or “important” that they work for a company with good ethics. Similarly, 82% said they would prefer to earn less at a company with ethical business practices than earn more at a company with questionable ethics. Commitment to the environment will reaffirm to them that they are working for an ethical company.
Once you’ve created your environmental plan, the success and failure of the implementation will lie at the feet of your frontline staff members. Make sure to keep them informed, and even incentivize them if necessary. Why not set up a scheme for green commuting? Perhaps introduce company carpooling or bike-sharing? The benefits of green commuting are numerous and, as well as boosting staff morale, it can be used as positive branding for your company.
4. Retain and Increase Your Customer Base
In a recent study carried out by the multinational consumer goods company Unilever revealed that over a third of consumers are now buying products based on their social and environmental impact. What’s more research group Neilson recently discovered that almost 75% of the millennial generation are willing to pay more for an environmentally conscious product or service.
So not only is enhancing your sustainability credentials a great opportunity to cement your current crop of customers, it’s a fantastic way to open up your company to new and emerging audiences. You also have to the chance to charge a premium for your credentials once in place, meaning your balance sheet and income statements will soon feel the benefits of going green too.
Overall, it’s clear as a business owner that enhancing your brand’s sustainability credentials is a no-brainer. The benefits of doing so spread far beyond the walls of your head office.
It will increase efficiency across your business, reducing wastage, costs and improving energy consumption. You can then look to get help from multiple schemes to achieve these improvements, offsetting any initial upfront costs. You can increase staff morale and loyalty whilst simultaneously expanding your consumer base by marketing your environmental credentials, particularly to customers from younger generations, such as millennials and generation Z.