What was once considered a trend or possibly a passing fad, “going green” is now an accepted and necessary part of managing a business. Bottom line cost savings represent some of the most apparent benefits, brought about by reducing energy costs, minimizing waste, maintaining regulatory compliance and preserving the environment for future generations. But there are many other ways that going green creates advantages for your company that may help edge out your competition. Below we outline a few traditional and unexpected ways that going green benefits your business.
Every country maintains different regulations that must be heeded in order for a business to operate.In addition, businesses need to keep themselves legally compliant, and vendors and suppliers have their own requirements that they need to meet as well. Despite it sounding like a complicated and costly endeavor, being proactive and communicative with your vendors can be viewed as a gesture of good faith. Expressing a greater level of awareness of your suppliers’ and vendors’ needs can strengthen relationships and may be just what gives you the leg up to secure business with prospects. If you discover through your research that you are exempt from making major modifications to align with your vendors, enjoy the savings you’ll experience.
However, if you find that costly updates are required, it’s best to accept that little can be done to avoid them unless you want to incur fines. Instead, we suggest you recognize that these expenditures are investments required for your business to be long-running. Implementing “green” regulations can not only add to your business’ success-- including those of your suppliers and vendors-- but can help your entire community be more prepared for future legislation. You also might also discover that you are ahead of the game when future regulations are passed. Besides, there are many carbon emissions credits that can offset the sting of rolling out mandatory changes.
Boosting employee morale and pride
The most overlooked benefit of going green is the positive impact on employee morale. The Ateneo Center for Research and Development (ACORD) conducted a study that examined the impact of organizational environmental impact on employees’ feelings and behaviors. Focused on Philippines-based companies, this study surveyed 214 respondents to examine the following:
- Employee level of awareness around how environmentally involved their companies were
- Employee feelings of pride in being part of their company—what the study calls “organizational pride”
- Employees’ intentions of leaving the company
- Employee inclinations to “go the extra mile” regarding their duties—what the study calls “organizational citizenship behavior”
The study discovered that when companies implemented more green initiatives, employees saw their employer as a company that cares about its community rather than solely focused on making a profit. Employees are then “more proud of their organizations when they see that other people hold it in high regard.” This external confirmation of the experience workers have when employed by a socially responsible company leads us to the ways such positivity can ripple outward.
The Daily Inquirer has said that pride lends itself to assisting people to feeling like extensions of a group, “thus are more likely to act positively on its behalf. In fact, many studies have linked the increase in organizational pride with an increase in positive behavior and a decrease in negative ones.” Happy, proud employees are less likely to leave a company, and a higher retention rate is a win for everyone involved. Employees may be more open, relaxed and innovative knowing they work for a company that cares about its community and the people it employs. This atmosphere of positivity and trust can generate greater productivity as well. From a corporate perspective, higher retention rates cost companies fewer dollars in the long run, also allowing them to execute on their vision and comprehensive, long-term goals for growth with a seasoned workforce that contributes to the success of the company.
Attracting top talent
Having an upbeat and proud workforce that is a reflection if your company’s values and business practices is a major benefit. If employees are viewed as extensions of their company, than personnel who participate in their community by doing good works can also reflect kindly onto your business. This kind of positivity may be crucial in edging out competitors to attract top talent to your labor pool. Being more environmentally conscious is equated with having greater ethics and concern for society as a whole. In the early 2000s, after the fall of major corporations from unethical business decisions and the confirmed, adverse health effects of industrial pollution in many developing countries, job seekers looked to find more aware and socially responsible companies.
The Green Economy Post found “a sincere sustainability strategy will help your company attract top talent. A recent survey revealed that 81 percent of MBA students polled said that business should work toward ‘the betterment of society.’” Of 800 MBA students polled in a Stanford University survey, a large percentage were willing to forgo an average of 14 percent of their income to be employed by a company with a better environmental reputation. By making choices that benefit the environment, you can attract competitive candidates, possibly without raising starting salaries. Reduced, starting salaries has a direct impact on a company’s bottom line.
By embracing green initiatives, companies ultimately increase their ROI. Energy savings from using lower-flow lighting and other operating alternatives are to be expected, but eliminating paper processes also reduces costs. By going paperless or converting to mobile versions of solutions like that of expense reporting can have competitive advantages in costs, efficiency and real-time insight. Traditional, paper-based methods for invoicing and expense reporting can reduce employee morale and productivity and raise costs for running your business. Online payroll firm SurePayroll conducted a survey and found three out of four small business owners have embraced green initiatives, from recycling to telecommuting, regardless of their ROI (return on investment). In fact, 71 percent of respondents said they choose to implement green practices to be more eco-friendly, while the remaining 29 percent choose to do so to cut costs. “Out of all the green businesses, half noticed an ROI of around 5 percent to 10 percent, while the other half has yet to see one.” This significant ROI makes a serious case for rolling out green initiatives for your business.
Take a look at how your business is operating and see if you can’t explore ways that going green can help your business in unexpected ways.