No matter what size your business is or what type of market you serve, you’ve probably heard the word “green” or “ecological” or, probably the most widely used, “sustainable.” Has your business implemented any initiatives or programs that center on responsibility to the environment and to the community it serves? Focusing on these factors is a smart bet to ensure the long-term viability and prosperity of your business.
Three pillars of sustainability have been identified by the EPA: economic, environmental and social.
- Economic sustainability creates a perfect pairing of profit and efficient use of resources. They both are needed in order to thrive for the long term.
- Environmental sustainability means we need to consume natural resources at a sustainable rate – that we do not live beyond our means when it comes to land, water, plant life, etc. For example, we must ensure we do not over harvest or extract materials and fuels that are scarce.
- Social sustainability is defined as the long-term social well-being of a country, an organization, a community or any other social system.
“Thinking green” used to be viewed as an unattainable ideal or a future goal for many business owners. In today’s marketplace, “being green” is an essential daily ingredient in the recipe for success.
Our present generation is demanding more from companies today when it comes to environmental responsibility. In a Nielson survey of more than 28,000 online respondents from 56 countries, 66% of socially conscious consumers identified environmental sustainability as a cause companies should support. In fact, it was number one from a list of 18 causes.
Whether a business has sustainability programs and initiatives has also proven to be an important factor for creating long-term value in corporate America. In a Fortune.com article that featured the results of a McKinsey study, data showed “a strong correlation between resource efficiency and financial performance; the companies with the most advanced sustainability strategies did best of all.”
Nike, Walmart and DuPont were spotlighted in the article for the significant gains that were realized as a result of the sustainability achievements each company accomplished.
Marc Gunther, editor-at-large for Guardian Sustainable Business US, says the sustainable business agenda has never been more relevant.
“Smart companies recognize that these big issues – climate change, global poverty and income inequality in the US – cannot be left to governments or non-government organizations to solve … Only business has the creativity, the power and the scale to make really big things happen,” Gunther wrote.
He stresses that opportunities come to those businesses who find ways to solve some of these problems.
So, what can you expect to see when you implement green initiatives? The San Francisco Green Business Program highlights saving money, having an edge over the competition and improving employee productivity.
Whether you are at the beginning stages of planning an eco-minded strategy for your company or you’ve already made strides in this arena, it’s important to set measurable targets, and then be specific as to when and how those targets have been achieved. Quantify your cost savings, define your reduction in emissions or underscore how efficiencies were achieved. Consumers will consider this information when deciding whether or not to support your business because of their desire to align themselves with organizations who have like-minded goals for the planet.
Green Mountain Energy can help your company create and meet business objectives to improve your environmental position. Turn to us for help reducing your carbon emissions, for access to clean energy products and for development of customized sustainable energy strategies.
One simple and quick step you can take immediately is to switch to renewable energy for your electricity needs. Sourcing electricity generated from clean sources, such as wind and solar, plays a vital role in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Get started by checking us out today.
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