You’ve read all the headlines about climate change; “Severe Weather,” “The Devastating Impacts are now Unavoidable,” and “Climate Scientists Warn of a New Normal.” But you’re already in a tight spot, what are you supposed to do with COVID leaving your business and the economy in shock?
It will be tempting for many companies to push aside any commitment to the environment as they attempt to recover, especially as some governments reduce requirements and undermine environmental protection.
However, this is imperceptive and ill-advised because businesses do not have to sacrifice their environmental goals for protecting their growth. Going green dramatically benefits businesses and it should be crucial to their coronavirus recovery strategy.
Here are 8 benefits to being more sustainable:
Protect the Environment – You won’t be doing any business if there is no planet to do your business on. Being sustainable means not only assisting our environment to recover from industrial damage (and prevent further damage for future generations), but also helping to recover natural resources.
Key to ongoing viability – It’s nearly inevitable that certain resources will begin to dry up. At the very least, fossil fuels and helium will be much harder to acquire, making them pricier. If you use materials like recyclables, hemp, seaweed, or organic fabrics for packaging when this occurs, production can continue as usual. However, if you’re stuck using plastic, you’ll need to halt operations to invest in new material. Climate change also impacts your future customer base. Increased competition for business is coming and you’ll want to get ahead of the trend.
Customer Demands & Increased Sales – In December 2019 First Insight did a study, “The State of Consumer Spending: Gen Z Shoppers Demand Sustainable Retail,” which notes that 62 percent of both Generation Z and Millennials, prefer to buy from sustainable brands. They’re survey also found that 73 percent of Generation Z and 68 percent of Millennials are willing to spend at least 10 percent more on sustainable products.
Though the economy proves challenging, their commitment to leaving the planet a healthier place for future generations supersedes financial worries. Today’s youth have less disposable income overall, and they carefully consider which companies deserve their hard-earned money. Let the world know your commitment to sustainability. You’ll keep your existing base happy, attract new customers, and create a competitive advantage.
Public image – Environmental organizations are taking a stand against companies they believe are not considering their sustainable responsibilities and will ruthlessly tarnish their image. Going green puts your business on the opposite end of this, enhancing your public image. The move will also set a positive example for your employees, boosting morale and company loyalty. And if that is not enough, your business will also be sought out by the younger generations that not just prefer to buy more sustainable but who also prefer to work with companies that have gone green.
Attract and retain talent – The Cone Communications Millennial Employee Study found that 64% of Millennials won’t take a job if their employee doesn’t have a strong corporate social responsibility commitment, and 83% would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues. And when it comes to Generation Z, the data is even more compelling. Generation Z is being considered the first to prioritize purpose over salary. They will leave companies they believe are hiding or putting too much spin on bad news, ignoring their negative environmental or social impacts, or have toxic workplace cultures. If you want to attract talent and retain top producers, committing to going green will give you an upper hand with much of the workforce.
Lower operating costs – Improving efficiency and lowering operating costs can potentially save your business hundreds of thousands per year. Installing energy saving lighting, heating and ventilation in your offices can significantly reduce your energy bills. Switching to low-flow faucets and toilets can save you money on your water bill. If your facility contains amenities like laundry areas and kitchens, appliances with a high energy star rating further reduce expenditures.
Many businesses go through reams of paper unnecessarily, and this practice destroys a lot of trees. Put recycling boxes next to all the copy machines and printers. Institute a policy of printing all non-client correspondence on repurposed sheets. Likewise, if you hand out single-use water bottles with your logo to clients, you’re spending a small fortune and wasting plastic. Plus, once your customer tosses it they lose your information. Instead, consider gifting a reusable water bottle or coffee mug. You save money in the long run and keep your name front and center.
Or for those still debating about letting your employees work from home, telecommuting also helps a company become greener. The elimination of your employee’s commute results in a reduction in gas consumption.
Lower Taxes – The government is providing businesses with more “green” tax credit and deductions than ever before. By upgrading your heating and air conditioning system to an energy star rated system you could qualify to get a tax credit of 30% of the purchase price with a $1,500 cap. And installing a solar or wind energy system will give you a 30% tax credit with no upper limit.
Improve health outcomes – Pollution can kill. According to the WHO there are 4.2 million deaths each year that occur because of exposure to air pollution. That staggering figure doesn’t include the number of days lost to upper respiratory and chronic health conditions stemming from breathing particulates and toxins. And since the US lacks a universal healthcare system, a lot of employers get left supporting the bill. This system comes with a substantial price tag, incorporating greener practices improves health outcomes overall. Healthier employees call out sick less often and seek care less frequently, driving costs down for everyone.
Green initiatives offer a host of benefits. Organizations that embrace sustainability will thrive in the coming economy. Eco-friendly practices and profits are increasingly going hand in hand. Those who fail to realize it will eventually fade into obsolescence.