The business benefits of going green can be widespread and significant. So what can your business do to capitalise on these shifts?
Going green is an increasingly prevalent concern in today’s business world. Not adhering to strict environmental standards set by the government can land you in hot water, but following them to the letter can come at significant initial cost. In some instances – notably the recent case of Volkswagen – companies have been caught falsifying their green credentials outright, harming their reputation and bottom line.
But with the cost of green technology falling and strong grassroots support for environmental causes, protecting the planet is no longer just about wanting to be a good corporate citizen. It can also be a wise financial decision. So how can your company benefit from becoming greener?
Use less, save more
The easiest way to save the environment while improving your bottom line is to simply cut down on your consumption of disposable items. Some examples include recycling printer cartridges, printing double-sided and replacing paper cups in the kitchen with mugs.
With electricity costs steadily rising, even small changes to your energy use patterns can have a major impact on your bottom line. For a start, compact fluorescent globes use around 80 per cent less
energy than their incandescent equivalents and last up to 10 times longer.
Window tinting in your office will help to reduce glare and heat transfer in summer. Upgrading those old power-hungry fridges, computers, air conditioners, fax machines and printers will also save you money. And don’t forget to switch idle equipment off at the wall before leaving for the day, because standby power can waste up to 10 per cent
or more of your total power bill.
It’s also worth auditing your energy use on a departmental basis. For example, if you’re using a dedicated server room where the air conditioning is running around the clock, you might want to look at transferring at least some of your IT capabilities to the cloud, preferably to a carbon-neutral provider. Similarly, if you maintain a fleet of vehicles, consider switching over to hybrid or LPG models.
Business travel can’t always be avoided, but harnessing technologies such as videoconferencing, email and instant chat can help cut down your need for travel, reducing both your carbon footprint and costs.
Doing a ‘green audit’ of your business can uncover many environmentally friendly ways to reduce costs and overheads. In short, a lean company is a green company.
Greening your image
The environmentally conscious consumer actually isn’t as rare as you might think; according to a 2014 study by Nielsen, 55 per cent
of global online consumers are willing to pay a premium for products and services from companies that show they care about the environment, social causes and communities.
Sustainable manufacturing sources, environmentally friendly packaging, recycling and moving to a carbon neutral model of energy use can all contribute to improved customer goodwill and brand reputation.
Ushering in a greener workplace culture can also result in a more positive workforce and increased retention, especially among millennial staff, who will be most affected by the negative consequences of excess corporate consumption and environmental contamination.
When weighing up the benefits of going green against the costs, it pays to think globally. By making the switch to renewable energy sources and reducing consumption of finite resources, businesses are collectively ensuring their supply chains and markets remain sustainable into the future.
Being environmentally responsible can also help in raising capital, as more investors are snapping up green opportunities. A recent example is the issuance of $600 million
in green bonds by ANZ Bank, about 40 per cent of which will be funnelled into green building projects.
With environmental issues dominating the news and green technology becoming increasingly cheaper and more accessible, being green is no longer just about doing the right thing by the planet – it’s also great for business.