A new year—time to start fresh, clean, and…green?
You’ve likely heard that “going green,” or implementing certain on-the-job changes to facilitate a more eco-friendly workplace, can benefit your business. The verdict: It’s true!
So what does it mean to “go green” exactly? Eco-friendly companies strive to present a positive impact on the environment and their surrounding community. To do this, they adapt to principles, policies and practices that demonstrate a commitment to the environment—things like employing anti-pollution and recycling measures, using clean and renewable energy, or practicing sustainability and preservation.
Taking a green stance in the workplace is a growing trend. About 70% of corporate companies now practice sustainability at work, according to an MIT study. And most of these businesses believe that greening your business is an important adjustment in gaining revenue and remaining competitive.
Not convinced? Here’s why going green should be at the top of your company’s New Year’s resolution list:
Attract more customers. Pursuing green ventures and products seems to have near-magical customer-increasing powers. The proof: After brands such as Walmart and Target implemented eco-conscious initiatives, such as recycling, enhancing transportation to reduce gas, and increasing stocks of green products, they received a 20% increase in sales. The latter of their practices is especially true: A survey by Cohn & Wolfe found that 35% of consumers worldwide were willing to spend more money for green products. In the same study, consumers rated the importance “green” businesses as very or somewhat important.
Environmental and nest-egg benefits. Did you know that the average business consumes 3.6 tons of paper per year? Or that companies use 2,400,000 barrels of water a year (of which more than 20% isn’t necessary). It’s obvious that adapting to a greener workplace will not only help with eliminating waste, and that’s great. But eliminating waste also saves your business money. For example, simply replacing standard light bulbs with alternatives can decrease lighting energy costs by 75%. It’s a win-win!
Happy employees. A green workplace can boost staff’s satisfaction levels, according to a study from the Charlton College of Business at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. An analysis of 113 companies of a variety of sizes and types, all of which implemented a variety of green practices, found a direct positive relationship between perceived environmental performance and the pleasure of employees.
Build your reputation. Companies who pay attention to green practices can significantly improve their image in the public eye, including increasing PR opportunities, which can help positively impact your business. In addition, going green is a great way for businesses to give back to their communities. Keep in mind that larger impact is evident when an entire company goes green, vs. just one individual—and the community will take note of that.
Legal/tax advantages. Believe it or not, implementing green practices in your business can have many practical benefits. For example, the federal government permits companies to obtain a tax credit of up to 30% for the use of solar and wind energy. Another advantage: The IRS allows businesses that use environmentally-friendly company cars, such as hybrids, to take an alternative motor vehicle credit on their federal taxes. In addition, tax credit and incentives vary by state.