There was a time, not so long ago, when “going green” was thought to be both exotic and expensive. While CEOs may have liked the cachet that would come with having a greener brand, they were also concerned that “sustainability” might have been a value that they could not really afford.
The good news is that, for a variety of reasons, creating a green (or greener) business has become far easier, more affordable, more appreciated and more doable than ever before. The rising tide, literally, is creating a tipping point such that greening the business isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for business, too.
These days, and on this Earth Day (Sunday, April 22), it turns out that going green doesn’t cost – it pays.
Here are some of the best reasons and easiest ways for your business to go green:
It’s popular: Between the Paris Accords, weird weather, water shortages and logic, more people than ever want to do their part for the environment. Indeed, according to one recent survey, more than half of all consumers say that it is “very or somewhat important” that the businesses they do business with be environmentally friendly. Additionally, one-third of those surveyed are willing to spend more for green products, and probably not surprisingly, that number is significantly higher among millennials.
What this means for your business is that, for instance, you can stock and sell green products, knowing that even though they may cost a bit more, there is significant marketplace demand.
Cost saving: Going green can make a lot of sense for your business. Consider some of the ways that reducing, reusing, and recycling can positively impact your bottom line:
- Recycling means buying less plastic
- Going paperless equals purchasing less paper
- Energy Star certified products cost less to run
- Power timers (used at night, for instance) mean you will use and buy less energy
- Encouraging employees to take public transit or ride bikes to work can mean less spent on (or reimbursed for) parking, gas and mileage.
It’s a morale booster: Increasingly, employees want to work for companies that take their corporate, civic and environmental responsibilities seriously. Creating a sustainable workplace is good for your culture.
It’s healthier: According to the Green Business Bureau, there is a 20 percent decrease in number of sick days for companies that promote a healthier workplace.
Tax benefits: Some states offer tax credits for businesses that go green. For example, in California a business can get tax credits for:
- Installing insulation, and energy efficient heating and ventilation
- Use of renewable energy like geothermal, solar and wind
- Purchasing hybrid and diesel vehicles
Additionally, there are numerous “Recycling Zones” throughout the state. These allow businesses operating within these zones to get sales and use tax credits of up to 10 percent.
Good PR: Finally, being able to share socially and generally that your business is on the right side of this issue is no small thing. As indicated, it is important to not a few consumers.
So, on this Earth Day, remember, you do well by doing good and you can make green by going green.
More about going green:
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success.© Steven D. Strauss.
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