Implementing environmentally friendly processes into small businesses has traditionally been viewed as being too expensive and time consuming to be worthwhile. Times are changing, though. In reality, going green at your business can save you money, help you retain employees, and attract more customers—adding up to improved revenue in the long run, in addition to helping the environment. Here are 5 ways how “going green” can benefit your business.
1. Reduced Utility Bills
Making changes to your business may appear expensive. However, going green can actually reduce your utility bills. A few simple changes you can make include:
- Turning off the lights or installing automatic timers in vacant rooms such as storage rooms and restrooms
- Unplugging unneeded technology after hours or installing Advanced Power Strips that get rid of so-called “vampire power”
- Replacing old light bulbs with newer LED or CFL bulbs
- Reducing water use
By making these small yet impactful changes, you have the ability to save money and the environment. If you want to take things a step further, consider implementing more advanced technology, such as energy-saving appliances, which can save you up to 30% on your utility bills. You can upgrade your equipment by finding energy saving appliances with the ENERGY STAR score. These appliances are assessed and proven to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
In addition, you could reconsider the placement of your windows and take advantage of natural lighting. Last and certainly not least, you can significantly reduce your utility bills—and your reliance on fuels that pollute the environment—by installing solar panels.
2. Tax Cuts, Grants, and Loans
Beyond saving you money on your utility bills, environmental initiatives can lead to additional savings that you might not expect. Federal, state, and local governments offer tax breaks and loans to incentivise investment in sustainable technologies. The tax breaks and loans have the ability to save your business a significant amount of money. In addition, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Agriculture offer grants if you install renewable energy sources. To learn more, check out these websites:
3. Improved Reputation and More Customers
Implementing sustainable practices is attractive to consumers. The fact is, people today care about the standard of the brands and businesses they buy from. They want to spend their money at places that align with their values and that are committed to making a difference.
According to a Nielson consumer study, 66% of global respondents say they are willing to pay more for sustainable goods. When focusing on just millennials, 77% say they are willing to pay extra for sustainable goods. The National Restaurant Association’s “2019 State of the Restaurant Industry Report” further confirmed this when it comes to restaurants, showing that 58% percent of millenials are more likely to choose one restaurant over another based on its ability to provide sustainably grown, raised, and manufactured foods.
When you make an effort to introduce sustainable practices into your business, you demonstrate that you and your company care about the environment, your community, and your customers. In turn, when customers have a great experience with a business, they tell their friends and visit social media and review sites to share their reviews. With an improved reputation, your business is more likely to experience heavier foot traffic, and in turn, increased revenue.
4. Improved Employee Retention and Recruitment
Employees want to work at businesses that are environmentally and socially conscious. Working at a company that incorporates environmental practices in their business gives your employees reassurance that they are working for an organization that shares similar values and morals, giving them a sense of purpose.
According to the report Advancing Sustainability: HR's Role by the Society for Human Resource Management, companies with sustainability programs report 55% better employee morale, 43% more efficient business processes, and 38% improved employee loyalty. In turn, this leads to increased employee retention, decreased costs in employee training, and produces happier workers that are dedicated to your company.
5. More Opportunities
Becoming a sustainable business also opens the door to opportunities within your community. One example of this is by buying locally sourced produce and products. There are many benefits that a business can receive from buying local. To start, it allows you to connect with and improve the local community while benefiting your own business.
When you make an effort to source your food and products from other local businesses, you can create community ties and generate networking opportunities. In addition, buying local improves the local economy by keeping money within the community. Every dollar spent generates twice as much income for the local economy.
Buying local also gives you the opportunity to better your business. Local food is typically fresher and organic, and anything you source locally has to travel much shorter distances to get from the supplier to your table, improving the overall quality of your products, and helping the environment at the same time.