Green businesses are attracting more and more supporters as the voice of environmental organizations is becoming more and more loud. While there is a constant dispute over the subject of global warming amongst scientists and politicians, businesses benefit from the support or consumers who are constantly searching for products that have a lower impact on the environment. As the years pass, more and more government regulations, cost statistics and consumer trends pave the path to environmental-friendly business opportunities.
There are multiple ways companies can take advantage of the green business movement, starting from growing organic products and all the way to reducing energy waste. But before talking about the increasing trend of having a green business, one must first understand what the green industry focuses on.
What Makes a Business Green?
Broadly speaking, the green industry focuses on delivering products or services, while leaving little to no impact on the environment. Sustainability becomes a key factor in turning a business green, with industry leaders focusing on how to reduce chemical usage and waste while also delivering quality products to their customers. While some companies have turned eco-friendly due to media and consumer pressure, others have made zero waste a main goal since the beginning.
Becoming a zero-waste business does not only improve the company’s image, but has other multiple benefits also. It reduces waste disposal costs and increases energy saving, making the business more profitable. With that in mind, various industry moguls have publicly announced their plans towards leaving a smaller carbon footprint on the planet. For example, Apple announced last year that they are 100% powered by renewable energy with all of their data centers, offices and stores relying only on wind and solar powered energy.
Innovative Ways to Reduce Waste
Within the last few years, big companies have come up with multiple ways, besides reusable energy, to reduce their carbon footprint. From paperless advertising to encouraging employees to turn their devices to power-saving mode when they use them and off completely when leaving the office, there are many small changes that can make a great impact over time.
Telecommuting or working remote is one of the biggest trends that can also help change the workplace as we know it. Thanks to the latest innovations in cloud computing, employees are now able to do their job from home, with the same efficiency, this way no longer having to drive to work and reducing air pollution. In the United States, about 60% of the companies allow employees to work from home and the trend is starting to grow in other countries too, such as India, Mexico and Indonesia.
Commercial trash compactors are gaining more and more popularity and the reasons are plenty. They can help save space, by turning trash into smaller cubes that can be easily disposed of later, also leading towards a less toxic work environment. Compactors are crushing boxes and waste paper, plastics and general waste, making them increasingly easy to deal with, thus saving the company valuable time and money.
Hoping to reduce waste, restaurants, food producers and grocery stores have started donating the leftover products to homeless shelters or other charity causes. This not only reduces waste, but also gives a helping hand to people in need. Such measures have a tremendous impact on how customers perceive businesses and lead to increased sales.
Sustainable advertising is another growing trend and the methods are becoming more and more innovative. Companies are turning to environmental-friendly billboards who provide ecological benefits, such as air purifiers or urban gardens. Billboards made out of recycled materials or those using sustainable energy to light up are also amongst popular choices.
Companies are paying attention to their vendors as well, choosing those who share the same green vision as they do. Restaurants and grocery stores purchase merchandise from local farmers, offices are turning to stationary suppliers that use recycled paper or plastic and so on.
Cleaning products are also known to produce a lot of toxic odors that can pollute the air. While some green cleaning products may be a little pricey, the benefits of using them are making it worth it.
The Real Benefits of Going Green
A lot has been said about how going green impacts how customers perceive a brand’s image. Last year, a poll conducted by IPSOS shows that 76% of Australian consumers are more likely to buy a product from a company powered by renewable energy. Companies such as Unilever and Telstra, which are believed to be some of Australia’s largest energy consumers have made the decision to purchase clean energy from solar and wind farms. Since such big names have made this important decision, there must be some real reasoning behind it. Implementing more sustainable business practices have led to reduced operational costs, as conserving and reducing operational costs results in streamlined work processes. It is estimated that, by 2020, companies will be legally obligated to reduce their carbon footprint by 25%, so there is no reason why businesses shouldn’t already take more steps towards becoming green.
Some studies show that employees are more open to working with companies who are making the right decisions. Over 50% of the surveyed employees feeling the company they work for should be more aware of how much they affect the environment. Conducting a green business has turned more into an ethical issue and people often take it into consideration when applying for a job. An eco-friendly work environment has tremendous benefits over the life of employees. Safely disposing of the waste and using environmental-friendly products lowers the emission of artificial chemicals that could become hazardous.
Governments have also taken action, as multiple countries in various parts of the world have implemented some sort of reward system for businesses who decide to make changes towards a greener work environment. Following certain regulations when opening a business gives entrepreneurs benefits such as reduced tax liabilities and price cuts on solar panels.