Proclaiming yourself as a ‘green’ business or offering sustainable, organic or recycled products and services used to be relegated to a small, niche markets targeted at middle-class hipsters or those with ‘hippy values’.
Today, it’s a business necessity.
If you want to break into the mainstream and become a trusted brand or service in all manner of industries, you need to prove that you operate sustainably, manage waste effectively, treat your staff ethically and minimize your impact on the environment.
Is Being Green the New Normal?
Global brands are even answering the call in the shift towards reducing the negative impact we make on the earth. Tesla is booming, McDonald’s now offers a vegan burger and hormone free beef patties, major supermarkets are banning the single-use plastic shopping bags, and brands such as The Thank You Company and TOM’s are the perfect example of just how successful a company with a social conscience can be.
However, is going green just part of a clever marketing ploy? The short answer is no. The shift is so significant that economies of scale on products and operating sustainably, focusing on reduced packaging and accessing natural products can improve your bottom line.
Looking at waste and energy efficiencies within your business, replacing power hungry PC’s and monitors for low energy versions and recycling and assessing your supply chain can all bring tangible benefits and savings. Staff is happier and more engaged your profit margin gets bigger as costs reduce and sales increase as you become a trusted product or service.
You may be reading this and thinking ‘I’m already operating in a green way!’ However, what about when it comes to moving, locating, or logistics for your business?
Whether you are moving into new business premises, relocating, delivering shipments, or even moving home, by setting aside a little bit of time for research and planning when it comes to your logistics and transport, can ensure a stress-free and environmentally friendly move along with business savings.
Practical Steps to Moving Green & Sustainable
Only Move What You Need
First of all, do an inventory and donate, sell, or dispose of what you don’t need through the right e-waste and waste separation channels. Yes, your staff will moan and groan, and right now, as you read this post you may think going through that back warehouse, or office which has become a junk room over the years is the last thing you want to do. Unfortunately, if you’re going to move green and sustainable, you need to be ruthless and dispose of what you no longer need, or anything that no longer serves its purpose.
Reuse, recycle, upcycle and donate where you can. Encourage staff with doughnuts and coffee, or a celebration of some kind for their efforts and ask them to suggest ideas on reducing waste and operating green in your new location. Offering a prize and bragging rights will spark their interest!
Book A Green Transporter
If you Google ‘green removalist’ you are likely to find removalists with a fortuitous name, and a little further down you’ll find environmentally friendly transporters. However, there are two questions to answer. One, what makes them green? And two, how do I know I’m getting the best deal?
The answer is to search for an online marketplace for transporters. These are sites which you register with and post your job, letting transporters and removalists come to you and bid on your job. Businesses such as ecoloads is an excellent example of this business model working well. Removalists and other drivers bid on jobs to maximize their trips.
For example; If a transporter is relocating a small business in one state, they will search for jobs on the return route, therefore, filling all available space on the truck for the entire trip. The benefits? For starters, it’s cheaper for the customer as the overheads are shared between customers, and it’s a greener way to move because less fuel is consumed and fewer large vehicles are out on the road.
Making Your New Office A Green One
Once you’ve moved the items you need into your new space, you can then look at how you will continue to run a green and sustainable premise. Here are my top tips for starting out green and reducing your costs!
- If you’re replacing photocopiers, monitors and PC’s search for ones with low energy consumption and reduced noise and heat.
- Sign up to new green energy and utility contracts, and switch your stationery supplier to one with green and recycled products. You’ll be surprised at the discounts you can gain with just a little negotiation.
- Ask your department heads to implement one sustainable or green initiative a quarter. Ethical companies tend to have happier, more engaged staff, so include your workers on the journey. Share the amount of waste you’ve reduced and offer incentives for reaching targets
- Move to paperless systems where you can. A modern office is a paperless office (unless you work for a stationery company of course!)
- Reduce that sack of mail arriving every day and contact your suppliers and move to online invoicing.
What’s the Payoff for Having A Green Business?
It takes a bit of effort and change management to switch the mindset of business owners and their employees when it comes to thinking green and sustainable, but once the momentum kicks in you’ll be sure to see a jump in morale and engagement.
However, there is no point in doing all this hard work if the good news stays within your company walls! Shout about the good you are doing in advertising, newsletters and when you are conducting interviews with potential candidates. Got green accreditation or joined the Greenfleet program? Put it on your website and share on your socials (like I did!).
Positive posts will get shared, and clients and customers will feel drawn to use your products and services. The more positive the buzz about your company values, the better chance of scoring that sale or landing that client you’ve just been missing out on for the past few years as business look to partner with sustainable suppliers.
Government grants and incentives are also available. Search local government and small business sites and see what’s on offer to help small to medium business operate more sustainably.
In summary, going green does take a bit of thought and planning, and you are unlikely to succeed if you try and do it alone. Engaging your stakeholders, incentivizing your employees and shouting from the rooftops when you climb a rung on the green ladder will only bring about positive outcomes. It’s time to maximize your business success and minimize the negative impact you are having on the environment. Green is definitely the new normal.