Being a green business is not just an attitude – the right combination of green thinking and efficiency could drive improvements to your bottom line.
Quick takeaways if you’re in a hurry
- Planning to be green could have a positive impact on your profitability
- ‘Eco-efficiency’ combines a focus on the environment with a drive for increased profitability
- Increased efficiency and a focus on doing more with less could be a great way to win industry awards and raise your company profile with both businesses and customers.
Read on: Can being a green business improve your productivity?
(estimated reading time: 5 minutes)
The strategic future of your business has traditionally focused on your customer, product and brand. In today’s business world it is now important to build a strategy around your ‘green’ stance as well.
Whether you already have a feel for what you want your stance to be, or if you’ve not yet reached a conclusion, you might like to know that being environmentally focused could present great opportunities to improve your bottom line. Read on to find out more about what being green could mean for your business.
While historically the perception of green businesses was that they invested heavily in sustainable business practices like recycled paper and ethically sourced raw materials: today’s business world views green business as being forward thinking innovators. Thinking smarter in order to be more efficient with what they consume and waste is leading green businesses towards increased profitability and clever business practices. If you’ve considered using green thinking to drive a more efficient business then you will find you are not alone.
In fact, there’s a term for it. ‘Eco-efficiency’ combines a focus on the environment with a drive for increased efficiency and therefore economic growth. It simply makes good business sense to do more with less, and so being environmentally friendly is getting a new reputation.
Being efficient means making better use of the resources that your business uses, specifically in terms of reduced waste and wastage; improved energy efficiency; and a reduced carbon footprint. By focusing on these areas of efficiency businesses benefit from a reduced impact on the environment and improved profitability.
Being efficient and green is not limited to specific industries or sizes of business. Indeed it is not even limited to new businesses, as many established companies have embraced the opportunity to do more with less. Examples of eco-efficiency can be as simple as installing skylights in a factory roof to reduce the need for electrical light during daylight, or as complicated as turning a waste product into a by-product, and using a new product opportunity to reduce your waste and increase your output.
Those who police your current waste levels and resource consumption are some of the strongest advocates for this focus on efficiency – your local authorities and resource managers. They are a great starting point on your journey and will be able to both support you in your exploration of improved processing, and to point you in the direction of best practice in your area so you can learn from those around you. A further positive impact of your drive to be green will be the improved relationships you enjoy with these resource managers.
Private and government organisations also support increased efficiency and a focus on the environment. It’s becoming universally recognised that this is one of the areas where innovation occurs because businesses are finding solutions that change the way that things are done and provide a greener alternative. There are probably a range of awards at both a local and national level that you could strive for as a business and could help you to be focused on your green journey. As well as the financial incentive of winning an award it’s great for your company’s reputation and to drive awareness into your customer base.
Making a decision about where to position your business on the spectrum of green can be very challenging. Try to consider your target customer’s needs and assess whether being green is going to drive increased revenue and improve the desirability of your brand in their eyes. There’s no doubt that there can be financial benefits to eco-efficiency, but taking your company position and investment further into an environmentally focused territory will not necessarily yield increased revenue. Take time to consider your bottom line throughout.
If you own your own business then your personal philosophy towards the environment will no doubt have shaped your company position to date. Applying focus to the inputs and outputs of your business at a material and wastage level can help you to make your resources work harder for your company and drive increased profitability. What level you take your green positioning to will be driven by a combination of your personal beliefs, your target audience and your company’s brand strategy and values. While being green can be an emotive topic it’s worth remembering that ultimately your business needs to make money – so at the end of the day any investment will need to be balanced with either a reduction in cost or an increase in sales.
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