Is “going green” a trend? A fad? Does it creep into to business owners’ consciousness for a while, only to fade and eventually take its place on the periphery?
Yes and no. Thousands of business owners coast to coast are still looking for and implementing “green” or environmentally friendly business solutions. And Small Business Chron reports that there are some key reasons why businesses should go green. The biggest and most altruistic is sustainability, or contributing to the health and future of the environment. Small gestures like turning off the lights is a contribution to Mother Earth!
But beyond altruism, many of the reasons for going green directly benefit the business itself:
- It can create a healthy environment for employees
- It positions the business as a leader of social change
- It reduces waste and can reduce costs
- There are legal and tax advantages
- It can improve the efficiency of your business
- It can transform your workspace
- It can get your community solidly behind your business
A recent post on Intuit’s blog claims that going green can even make money for your business. Blogger Carla Turchetti references a survey by Green America, EcoVentures International and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity. It found that embracing green practices is likely to boost a small business’s bottom line. In fact, roughly half of the 1,300 small business owners surveyed reported that they saw increases in sales and customer preference as a result of “environmentally beneficial practices.” Turchetti includes an example of a business that’s doing just that: An egg farm that found a competitive niche when it embraced humane, environmentally responsible and sustainable practices.
Among the easiest paths for businesses to go green involves technology. In fact, smart IT practices not only mitigate the business’s impact on the environment but also help small and mid-size businesses reduce expenses. Cisco suggests five easy steps for small businesses to go green, with little to no additional equipment or labor costs required.
- Turn it off. Wasted energy can amount to billions of dollars. Always use sleep settings on idle pcs, and make sure you’re using LED monitors.
- Consolidate. Devices, wiring and waste are reduced when multiple networks become a single infrastructure that’s centrally managed.
- Shop green. Look for product designations that indicate conformance to industry performance standards, and instead of always buying individual products, buy those that perform multiple functions.
- Curtail employee transportation. Telecommuting, teleconferencing, teletraining—in the aggregate, these practices make a huge difference and have even been shown to boost employee morale and productivity.
- Don’t throw it away. E-waste has exploded, and landfills and incinerators are testaments to the fact that we used to be oblivious to the consequences of tossing computers and cellphones. Look for facilities certified to handle hazardous waste and recycle.
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