Throughout the world, consumers are turning to companies who care for the environment so more and more organizations are opting to “go green”. However, there are many pros and cons to consider in this decision. Let’s take a closer look at both sides to help you decide whether going green is a wise choice for your business.
Pros of going green
First, let us begin with all the pros of making your business more green.
One of the first things you will notice is the fact that far less waste is generated and ultimately, this can lead to massive savings over time. Waste factors into every part of your business. For example, by turning computers off every evening, you will notice savings on your electricity bill each month.
Cutting down on waste can be applied to every aspect of your office. From saving energy (turning off office lights at night), to simply recycling paper, not only are you helping the environment but your bottom line as well.
A healthier workplace
By going green, your workplace can become a far healthier environment. This can have a significant impact on man hours and result in a decrease in sick leave taken by staff. There are benefits in other areas as well such as increased productivity levels and less money paid out for medical benefits. To make your workplace healthier, start small. Provide organic food in the cafeteria and keep the green theme by using cleaning products that are not harmful to the environment.
By simply encouraging staff not to print emails and other documents unnecessarily, significant savings can be made on printing and paper costs. Printer ink is expensive and having it last for a longer period will lead to savings over time, money that can be invested elsewhere into the business.
Tax credits and grants
The US government offers many incentives for organizations to turn green, including tax credits which can certainly help improve profits. To receive these, companies must use business practices that are acknowledged as environmentally friendly (for example using renewable energy sources) and by converting fleet vehicles to hybrid or electric for example.
New businesses starting out can also receive grants such as the EPA government grant that require businesses to implement some green criteria. Other grants include 30% price cuts on solar panels as a power source for the business.
Other than saving money, going green has more implications for your organization. One of these is the fact that an organization’s reputation improves in the eye of the general public.
This can be used favorably in a public relations perspective especially if you continue to engage and promote in further actions as part of your green campaign. Marketing campaigns should specifically mention the green changes made and those planned for the future. By doing this, you may even draw like-minded green customers from competitors who they feel are not doing enough for the environment.
Many consumers are demanding green products and services throughout the world. This can be used to your advantage by ensuring the products/services your organization provides are indeed green. Again, this means more and more people will turn to your green offerings over those they consider harmful to the environment.
Companies that start out green when they begin or turn green during their lifetime are far more sustainable than those who choose not to. According to Gary Langenwalter in his book “Sustainability a Better Brand of Business,” if a business combines social and environmental components in their day to day running, they will do far better than those that do not.
Cons of going green
Now, let us look at the cons of turning your business green.
Going green takes time
As a well-established company, choosing to turn green is not something that will happen overnight. In fact, it can take some time to implement across the board. Also, it will require constant monitoring and effort to ensure all systems that can be converted, are. The time it does take is worth it in the long run, however.
Initial costs can be high
Although going green is not a new concept, much of the technology associated with it is fairly new and certainly more expensive than conventional technology. This means that steps to become more environmentally friendly can be costly initially.
Take installing solar power for example. This is a costly investment, especially if large systems are needed. Sure there will be many savings made once installed, but initially, costs can be very high.
High cost of products
Often, choosing green products over conventional ones will result in more money being spent. This translates straight back to the consumer as the prices of products or services supplied by the organization are increased.
Even though customers will, on the whole, be happier that a company has decided on the green route, it is imperative that no false claims are made regarding their green efforts or their products, both intentionally or unintentionally. This is known as “greenwashing” and can lead to a major backlash if found to be untrue.
You may need to find new vendors
Although a company may make an effort to go green, it does not mean that their vendors or suppliers follow these ideals as well. For this reason, organizations will need to research potential new partners that fit into their green values and this can take time and effort.
Complex business models
Many business models take one main thing into account – profit. When changing to a green outlook, more factors need to be balanced along with the bottom line of the company for example, the companies impact on not only the planet but people as well. So ultimately, going green needs the careful balancing of three factors: profit, planet, and people.
Going green takes effort and dedication
Along with an extended time to turn a business green, it also takes much effort and intense dedication to do it properly.
As with anything in life, choosing to go green has numerous pros and cons. In the end however, it is well worth the effort in the eyes of most business owners. If you are interested in getting a business loan to help with your green efforts, online options are a great way to go. Doing so allows for happier customers, less damage to the environment, and a business that is sustainable for years to come.
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