Updated: Mar 20, 2020
Going green is not just good for the environment it can also be good for your business
All of you are aware of the recent geopolitical environment crisis and it will get worse so we're going to cover the dangers your business will face if it does not go green and some of the benefits if it does.
let's start with the basics, the climate is changing, and it would be foolish to believe otherwise but it's also foolish to think that your small business can save the environment by itself but this is not a political text so let's get down to business
Green is not just about environmental protection its a status symbol
Don't be fooled being green is not just about environmental protection, it used to be. But now, its become more of a marketing catchphrase than anything else. Its a status symbol which shows the seniority of the businesses and proves that the businesses is a responsible and respectable institution. In fact, green has almost become a synonym innovative, responsible, forward-thinking and generally a good company. But going green can bring you a lot more benefits so let's start from the simplest:
Being in compliance with future legislation
The legislation which is meant to save the environment will come sooner or later it will come and when it comes it might be in two approaches the feather one which is basically gradual changes with which businesses will not have much trouble coping and that the approach that has been happening to date but since pollution impacts on the planet are being more and more visible and more importantly people are becoming more and more aware of the problem, environmental activism is skyrocketing and people believe climate change to be a far more important topic than in the past. This could cause big problems for businesses that arent ready because all those environmentally aware people can cast their votes to elect someone who is strict about the environment and that might force governments to use the other method i.e. the sledgehammer, this method could prove disastrous to businesses that are not ready because they might be forced to shut down big parts of their operations or pay gigantic fines because they cannot comply with strict environmental policy at such short notice. The sledgehammer could cause many businesses to fail so it's better to be ready.
Tax benefits and other financial incentives
The government wants businesses to be greener so many governments will offer you financial incentives to become greener for example bonus depreciation on recycling equipment or grants to build renewable energy sources. Many governments will offer different kinds of incentives so you will have to check with your government and consult a specialist who will be able to tell you what incentives and tax breaks can apply to you so you can take full advantage of the multitude of green investment subsidies that your government offers. Don't forget to look at all the different subsidies that are available to you before making any investments because there are so many eco-friendly programs that you may be able to apply for a number of subsidies, grants and tax breaks so its always worth to check before making and eco-friendly investments. And also don't forget to check both your national government and your local government because both of them may offer you different incentives.
People want to be ecofriendly
As I briefly mentioned before people are becoming more and more aware of the current environmental situation and many of them are deciding to take action and its not just environmental activism even though that would be bad enough because who wants to have people like the extinction rebellion glued to their front door. But the more common way that people take action about the environmental issue is purchasing things like local produce or making their shopping in environmentally friendly shops. this means that if your business is not environmentally friendly then you could be missing out on a large number of potential customers because some people will refuse to buy anything from companies who are not considered to be eco-friendly. Also, many people are willing to pay higher prices in order to get goods from environmentally friendly companies so it may be worth considering going green even if that means you have to raise your prices slightly because many people will be very accommodating and may pay higher prices just to get their goods from environmentally friendly companies. this should give you a bit of leeway in costs when becoming green letting you acquire all the other benefits slightly easier.
As I said before being green is a status symbol but what exactly does it provide you with, well it can give you many things, for example, greater respect from the community your immediate environment and people at large. but its what that increased respect gives you that's important first of all as I outlined above you will be able to get more customers but this also applies in B2B transactions because businesses that want to be seen as ecofriendly will want to work together with other eco-friendly companies and will gradually phaseout any real contact with companies that are not eco-friendly. Big businesses will try to piggyback a bit on the reputation of their suppliers so if you have a very good reputation then it will be easier to secure business contracts with big businesses. And besides, that big businesses want to work with someone who they can rely on who will perform good quality and on-time and being green shows just that. But not only big businesses what to have reliable contractors everybody does especially the government it doesn't matter who is in power they all want to be seen as good leaders and they need reliable contractors so if being green can improve your reputation then it could be a lot easier for you to win contracts with the government.
Remember when I said that people want to protect the environment well your employees are also people and they want to protect the environment so if your company allows them to protect the environment whilst they are working for you then it will be a lot easier for you to keep them motivated and to find new employees. because people want to feel good about themselves that's why for example we donate to charity so that we can feel good about ourselves. If you company is ecofriendly it allows your employees to feel good about themselves for working in your company and that will make it much easier to keep them because the reverse is also true if your company is really bad for the environment and is causing a lot of damage the people will feel bad about themselves for working for such a company and being part of a machine which damages the environment so by being green you can improve your company - employee relations. As we all know happy employees make better employees producing better quality work making fewer mistakes, being more willing to do overtime, staying longer and generally being better employees
But there is one thing about being green that most articles will not tell you and that is that being eco-friendly is not enough you have to be seen as eco-friendly which requires you to change to way your marketing to promote yourself on the basis of being ecofriendly and generally letting people know that you are eco-friendly because unless people know that you are "green" then you will be unable to reap many of the benefits of being green so you also have to find a way to tell the world about how green you are otherwise there is not much benefit in being green of course excluding the benefit that you are caring for the planet but since that can not be monetised and is purely a moral thing it doesn't really belong in a business article.
Risks of going green
Just like everything in business going green also has its risks from costs spiralling out of control to chaos in the office because of some new environmental policy causing contradictions. All of these risks can have great impacts on your business if such problems occur.
Costs spiralling out of control
This is a risk present with all kinds of investments especially the bigger ones and since going green is a big project your costs may spiral out of control and when that happens, o boy you're in trouble because you lose many budgeting capabilities things are more expensive than you predicted and their costs may still rise but most importantly you have little results to show for such big expenses and often these kinds of project get dropped with a large loss because continuing the project is like throwing money into a bottomless well the common result of such projects is no result apart from a burning hole in your bank account several times larger than your original budget.
Not being seen
This is actually a very big risk when going green because you go to all the trouble to become greener spend gigantic amounts of money and nobody notices then from a business perspective you just threw the time and money down a well. Like I said before probably the biggest part of reaping the benefits of being green comes from being seen as a green company and not actually being green. so you have to make sure that you are seen as a green company and if that ever happens that you are not seen as a green company then its very important that you resolve this issue as quickly as possible because you will not get any of the benefits from being green until you get seen a green company.
Chaos and accusations of hypocrisy
This is probably the worst problem you can encounter because not only will you not be able to reap the benefits of being green it can actually have the opposite effect with all the bad parts of your business being enlarged and publicised and you will actually lose credibility. Unfortunately, this one is hard to solve because of the public decide that you're a hypocrite and your company is bad because of that it will be very hard to get them to change their minds and only steady and continues investment into sustainability can have any effect making this a very expensive problem. The problem is that this could happen to anyone lets say for example that you are changing your whole company car fleet to electric but then the people get hung up on the fact that the executives use a private jet. That could cause you a large number of unpleasant headaches.
The dangers of not going green
Some could say that going green is the safe option and that you are taking a big gamble by not going green because there are some bad things that could happen to your company if you don't go green in time. I'll go over these very briefly because most of them are simply the reverse of many of the benefits.
There is a fairly large amount of environmental legislation coming out constantly and if you don't prepare beforehand then there is a large chance that you might be unable to meet the legislation requirements at such short notice causing you a lot of problems especially if the government get pressured into using the sledgehammer method.
Loss of customers
More and more people are actively trying to protect the environment and one of the main ways that they do so is purchasing goods from environmentally friendly companies. This trend is very likely to continue that people are purchasing more and more from environmentally friendly companies, eventually resulting in the non-environmentally friendly companies going out of business because they have too few customers left and can no longer sustain themselves. This includes B2B
Your business could be practically shut down by environmental activists. If your business is especially polluting and there are not many businesses like that left then it may be practically shut down by activists constantly distributing your operation until its no longer viable for your business to remain open.
In my opinion, going green is worth it not just from an environmental sense but also businesses sense but you have to make sure that you can afford it because it will be expensive and not every business is capable of shouldering such costs. So you have to make sure that going green makes sense to your businesses on an individual level.
How to become greener some tips and tricks
Whilst your business may not have much impact and most of the problems stem from only a few industries you can still do a lot to become as green as possible
Let's start with something simple charity donations. Donating to environmental charities or even any kind of charities to be exact is a brilliant way of improving your reputation because people will see that your business is giving back to society and is not just about making as much profit as possible improving your reputation and social standing in your local neighbourhood. But as a said before in order to have any benefits for your business from making those donations you have to make sure that people hear about them. So why not instead of making an anonymous donation tell the media all about your donation or even better so that you don't sound snobby who not instead of making a flat donation of any amount run a charity collection in your local neighbourhood and say that you will double any donations that the people make, that makes you sound sincere whilst also telling everybody how generous you are giving you all the benefits of public donations without any of the possible negatives.
Renewable energy investments
You may want to note here that I say investments because if you play these right then you may be able o make money off them and they will pay back dividends for the length of their existence. But don't be fooled depending on your business these may have a really large cost because if your business typically earns let's say 10% ROI and renewable energy earns 5% ROI then even though you are not losing any money per se but you are losing future income at the difference of the two ROI rates. But of course, investing in renewable energy can give you a profit if you find a good deal and it has additional benefits of if people realise that you are investing in renewable energy improving your reputation and it helps you diversify because if you main business fails then you will still remain an energy company which owns a bunch of different renewable energy investments which gives you a safety line in case something happens to your main business.
Be more efficient
Ohh this one is hard to do its extremely hard but it has a really nice pay off because apart from being greener you are becoming more efficient and wasting fewer resources making your business a lot more cost-effective but yes there is one barrier making this extremely difficult and its the process itself becoming more efficient may force you to lay off some workers and change the way that you are doing things. That's where the problem lies because if you push for efficiency to hard then yes you will become greener, waste fewer materials and improve your profit margins but you may not get the reputation result that you want people might not see your efforts as an attempt to become greener but as an attempt to increase your profit margins at the expense of your employees and it goes without saying that that's bad for your reputation.
Whilst the problem of plastic pollution may have been slightly swept under the rug by mass media focusing on the problem of climate change, people still remember the fact that plastic is a problem and any attempts to reduce this problem wether by investing in recycling plants or even using things like recycled material stationary will be a nice touch. Probably the best way of focusing on recycling without having to spend an absolute metric ton of money in investments which will not bring much benefit is to use recycled material stationary, whilst it will cost you more giving your visitors instead of a pen give them a pen made from recycled materials (make sure that it says that its made from recycled materials remember what I said about being seen) or when you're handing out any kind of promotional material like leaflets booklets or any other such things make sure you use recycled paper that will add a nice touch to the way that your company is perceived and will go far to complete the picture that your company is environmentally friendly.
And last but not least embrace technology this part is very powerful as embracing technology will allow you not only become greener but to also operate a lot more effectively let's take for example cloud computing this could help you solve your mess in the paperwork or at least make it a little more manageable, let's face it every office has at least a bit of a mess in the paperwork and that is a very expensive mess so using cloud computing and reducing your paper usage could be really good for your business but that's only one of the many possibilities you may also want to consider investing a little bit of money into teleconferencing which will allow you to save up on a lot of non-essential business travel. you may also want to consider things, like investing in electric vehicles for your staff or allowing them to telework really the opportunities, are endless.
Conclusively going green has many benefits and whilst it is undoubtedly good for the planet it may or may not be good for your business because whilst there are many benefits the expenses and additional work which has to be put into becoming green may outweigh the benefits for your business. So the choice is yours whether you want to take the plunge or not each business is different so you have make this choice by yourself and don't follow public opinion because they will always choose green even at the expense of bankrupting your business and whilst protecting the environment is important protecting the economy from the most radical environmental solutions is also important so don't make yourself a martyr, use your common sense and do what's best for your business and the environment.
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