Businesses don't have to compromise profitability for an eco-friendly restructuring of their current practices. More often than not, they benefit from the transition.
In a market where the carbon footprint of a conglomerate can tarnish its reputation, companies large and small should make a concerted effort to reduce their negative impact on the environment. They have a responsibility to the public to produce goods and services sustainably.
So where does an executive in upper management even begin? What changes can they make to their current procedures to ensure both the continued health of their company and the planet? In other words — what are cost-effective, sustainable solutions that won't be impossible to budget for?
In this article, we'll detail how a business can move toward environmental friendliness while not moving away from their goals.
The products that an average business consumes, processes and discards as waste can accumulate at an alarming rate. Sustainable procurement allows managers to source their necessary supplies in a renewable way, using recycled materials and substances that aren't toxic to the environment.
Should a manager shop around, they'll likely find a supplier that provides the same goods they've grown accustomed to without a serious increase in price. The price is often lower, a result of the growing pressure of corporate accountability that urges manufacturers to replace outdated means of production.
But the benefits of renewable energy on large-scale operations are undeniable. EnergySage market data suggests that an average commercial property in the U.S. can save up to 75 percent by investing in solar power. The average monthly electric bill for a commercial property reduced from $1950 to $500 after the switch.
Still, the price of installation on a commercial property often represents a barrier to entry that's too steep for smaller businesses to afford. But with the steady increase in the popularity of alternative energy, business owners can expect a drop in price as the incentivized technology becomes more available.
Fortunately for indecisive executives, sourcing eco-friendly companies to construct their building doesn't have to break the bank. It's a common misconception that green buildings are far more expensive to produce, but the rise in cost is marginal and easily supplemented by the eventual gains.
In sourcing safe concrete and renewable materials from the best providers available, savings accumulate for both power and water utilities. A business can operate their LEED-certified building at an almost 20 percent reduction in maintenance costs. Carbon emissions see a drastic cut, as well.
Sustainable companies with a focus on eco-innovation receive more attention from potential investors interested in supporting a company that displays moral integrity and fair business practices. Having a strong voice in the conservation community can attract attention from wealthy contributors.
In addition to good publicity, companies that adopt eco-innovation change their policies to reflect their responsibility. They're able to avoid the costly consequences of environmental regulations and win the good favor of eco-conscious individuals. In short, it's a powerful way to rebrand and rebuild.
A universally popular brand for both commercial and residential buildings, Energy Star is a trusted name in sustainability. In addition to the impressive energy efficiency of their models, each Energy Star appliance has a label that shows the user the amount of power the device will consume over time.
However, Energy Star appliances do tend to sell at a higher cost than their inefficient counterparts. But an office building's monthly savings in their electricity bill accumulate over time to make up for that initial cost. With patience, a small change now will yield a sizable result down the line
By having an outline of the office's expenditure, a manager can research possible solutions with a clear perspective. But they should strike it from their mind that they're making an expensive sacrifice. Instead, they're making an investment not only in their business— but in the world.
Scott Huntington is a freelance writer based in Burlington, Vermont.