Consumers are starting to closely examine the green initiatives embraced by the companies they buy from. Companies are taking notice and incorporating sustainable business practices into their business models. Eco-friendly policies when done right can benefit a brand, employee morale and customer relationships.
Like any major business initiative, going green requires some time, planning and effort. To help ensure success when implementing sustainable business practices, businesses should avoid these 4 common mistakes.
1. Failing to Develop an Eco-Friendly Policy and Objectives.
It’s hard, if not impossible, to change business practices without a solid plan in place. A eco-friendly policy serves as a road map that summarizes a company’s position and values on environmental and sustainability issues. The policy should include action points, realistic time-table and measurable objectives. Breaking the eco-friendly policy up into specific areas such as purchasing, travel, energy use, IT and recycling can help make the action items more specific and easier to follow.
2. Not Asking for Help from Green Experts.
The economy has forced many businesses to do more with less. Adding green policy management and implementation to already over-worked employees “to do list” is not always feasible or the best approach to going green. Seeking out a professional Green Consultant can help simplify the process. Jeff Carey is a Green Consultant, program architect of Turn Iowa Green and founder of the Iowa Green Team, LLC. As a Green Consultant, Carey guides businesses through green initiatives by assisting them with policy development and green education. Carey adds “Sometimes business owners are hesitant to use a consultant to achieve their environmental initiatives. But by tapping into the green expertise of a professional green consultant, businesses often end up saving more than the consulting costs.” The Iowa Green Team connects businesses with sustainability programs throughout the state of Iowa.
3. Avoiding Going Green Because of Cost.
Implementing sustainable business practices does not have to cost a fortune. In fact, it can actually end up saving money in the long run. Ford recently announced an estimated $1.2 million savings each year by simply shutting off computers every night.
Simple steps like shutting off the lights in offices, break rooms and conference rooms when they are not occupied, installing a power strip for computers, monitors and printers in each office and shutting the power off each night can reduce energy consumption and costs. Reuse boxes and packaging when possible to reduce the need to buy new boxes and packing supplies. Encourage employees to print on both sides of paper when printing documents. Evaluate all purchases based on the products life-cycle cost, energy use and business need.
4. Forgetting to Highlight Green Initiatives
Fear of being blamed of greenwashing can keep a business highlighting their legitimate eco-friendly efforts. Business with a solid environmental policy in place, should take the time to fully explain their green initiatives to customers. Walmart has made an effort to communicate their eco-friendly policies with the public and it’s paid off as revealed in the recent Green Confidence Index. The survey asks 2,500 consumers each month to name an eco-friendly company and recently Walmart came out on top. Businesses can benefit from their green initiatives by making it easy for customers to understand how their company is a more environmentally-friendly choice by being honest and open about your green initiatives.
Autoblog: Ford to save millions of dollars – http://green.autoblog.com/2010/03/26/ford-to-save-millions-of-dollars-drastically-reduce-carbon-emis/
Turn Iowa Green – http://www.turniowagreen.com
Green Biz – Green Confidence Index – http://www.greenbiz.com/greenconfidence