In the current climate of minimizing our carbon footprint, companies are recognising it’s not merely ‘green chic’ but that it makes good financial sense to ‘go green’.
The success of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ has driven consumer demand for carbon offset products and services.
Supermarkets in particular have been leading the way with Wal Mart giving its US$500 million pledge to use 100% renewable energy, create zero waste and cut greenhouse emissions. Tescos in the UK give customers double loyalty points when they buy green products and as well as selling ‘green’ bags they reward customers when they reuse them. Marks & Spencers have also come on board with their own £200 million program.
So are these big names really altruistic? Or is it great PR? Selling green products and services gets great media coverage, it also adds to the bottom line. Consumers will pay more for green products and your hard won customers will change brands and retailers on this issue. It also highlights your competitor’s failings giving you an advantage.
How can your business go green?
- Office- use windows for ventilation instead of air-con, position desks to take advantage of natural light and ensure cleaning and building materials are non-toxic.
- Energy – switch to renewable energy from your supplier and research solar panels & rebates. Ensure everything that can be turned off is turned off at the end of the day. Reduce air and motor travel by using video conferencing and other communications instead of face to face.
- Paper – use recycled paper that comes from a local source
minimizing transportation emissions. Encourage staff to read e-
mails not print them, use fax modems to fax direct from computers and print on both sides of paper. Always keep a box for collecting paper printed on 1 side so it can be reused for drafts.
- Recycling – separate rubbish at collection – different bins for paper and cardboard. Send toner and ink cartridges for re-use or recycling, many companies offer a collection service.
- Save water – no dripping taps, dishwashers set on eco, use spare drinking water to water plants at the end of meetings or end of the day.
- Resources – research suppliers who are green and when buying new equipment check out refill and standby power options. Where possible reuse furniture and equipment.
Of course from a marketing perspective you also need to tell people how green you are too.