Going Green For Business, using sustainable practices, can benefit them in several ways that support the planet and the entity itself. In that case, they can benefit from a positive public image, save costs, and grow their customer base. Therefore, many businesses, entities, and organizations are transitioning to greener, more sustainable solutions in the workplace.
For example, employees are often more content with their jobs when their companies play a positive role. Such companies may have fewer employee conflicts or dreadful occasions of going through a workplace investigation process affecting the whole workplace. An environmentally positive company with a pleasant environment benefits people connected to it.
In other words, if businesses and organizations worldwide don’t act responsibly as global community members, most species will not survive past the 21st century. Even Environmental Sustainability notes that “the human-caused rate of extinction of species of plants and animals at present is hundreds of times higher than the natural rate in the past.”
Perse, this guide intends to help business owners, administrators, and leaders make their organizations more environmentally aware. Here, you’ll find a working definition of sustainability in business, an explanation of its importance, an identification of the key players, a discussion of benefits and challenges, and information on how to improve sustainability in business.
Why Going Green For Business Towards Being Eco-Friendly Matters
Sustainability is an increasingly important issue for many people, especially in business. Climate change continues to affect our lives and the fate of all other species around the planet. Sustainable business practices are becoming imperatives for business owners, leaders, and administrators. According to NASA, it’s more than 95% likely that human activity is the cause.
As a result, their activities are making the planet get warmer. Human industry is a big part of climate change because it relies on land, resources, fossil fuels, and non-stop production and consumption. This means that making businesses more sustainable starts with being aware of the issue and understanding just how critical it’s to make environmental changes.
In simple terms, environmental sustainability is the ability to maintain an ecological balance in our planet’s natural environment and conserve natural resources to support the well-being of current and future generations. It is about ecological balance. The fact is that humans have carbonized our planet for nearly two millennia, contributing to global climate change.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body for assessing climate change-related science, it is undeniable that human actions have impacted the planet, resulting in the warming of the atmosphere, ocean, and land. A sustainable business earns profits by being socially responsible and protecting our use of the planet’s resources.
Environmental Sustainability Trends For Businesses To Focus More Efforts
As the science behind global warming, deforestation, and other environmental issues has become progressively alarming, more and more people and organizations are committing to reducing or reversing their environmental impact and contributing to a sustainable future. While these efforts are well-intentioned, they can be difficult to implement and measure.
To enumerate, various sustainable technologies can help organizations run operations with a less negative impact on people and the planet. Technology can help reduce waste and resource use, increase operational efficiency, and create healthier communities. In this case, a familiar example is sustainable manufacturing which applies to various industry niches.
Consumers have become familiar with the myriad certifications and standards manufacturers adopt and promote — on product packaging — to help buyers make sustainable purchasing decisions. However, not all business programs or certifications can effectively give results. Such as their real-world impact, and measuring carbon impact is especially vital.
To this end, Microsoft has created a free sustainability guide based on its experiences working to become carbon negative to help businesses achieve critical goals while helping businesses take the next step in their sustainability journey.
This is how it helps them;
- Access their impact: By Access, they can easily measure and monitor their environmental footprint.
- Accelerate their progress: By Accelerate, they can adopt sustainable solutions to minimize their impact up and down the supply chain.
- Transform their organization: Regarding Transform, they can reimagine their business models and systems while addressing the planet’s needs.
As a rule of thumb, good impacts for organizations to strive toward and measure are carbon negativity, water positivity, zero waste, and ecosystem health. Increasingly, businesses publish their progress and challenges, which is critical for the global community to measure impact and learn from one another’s successes and challenges.
Microsoft, for example, publishes its results in its annual Environmental Sustainability Report to showcase its good impacts on its organization as it strives toward its measures of carbon negativity, water positivity, zero waste, and ecosystem health. This is critical for the global community to measure impact and learn from one another’s successes and challenges.
How Going Green For Business Helps Become Environmental Sustainable
Environmental Sustainability is important for the well-being of current and future generations. Climate change presents various complex environmental, social, and economic challenges for countries across the globe. In recent decades, the consequences of climate change have become increasingly apparent — from rising global temperatures and more extreme droughts.
Towards strengthening tropical storms, destructive wildfires, and devasting floods. As humans and ecosystems across the planet are suffering from the damaging impacts of climate change, many individuals, communities, and organizations worldwide are embracing environmental sustainability and prioritizing this critical cause. These efforts will allow us to decarbonize.
Especially to make our planet and conserve natural resources carbon-free — to support the health and well-being of future generations. For organizations, environmental sustainability isn’t just good for the environment and business. Organizations across all industries can build brand trust, boost customer loyalty, and enhance employee satisfaction.
Especially by advocating for sustainability and launching programs that support a healthier environment. Environmental sustainability is no longer a luxury for organizations — it’s now a corporate social responsibility to focus on Going Green For Business — to help us reach an environmental sustainability level now and in the future coupled with other reasons like;
1. Lower Operation Costs
Sustainable practices can significantly help businesses in reducing costs. For example, adopting green energy for your business with solar panels will reduce your energy bills for years. You will only have to invest in solar panels first. But the monthly savings on your bills will make this investment worth making. Consider manufacturers of heavy industrial equipment.
They use automation software and intelligent manufacturing insights to optimize sustainable principles at every stage of the manufacturing life cycle. They use cloud and IoT technology, automation software, and data insights to find ways to optimize their operations and reduce waste and energy usage — while increasing output throughout the manufacturing life cycle.
This has become one of their major unique selling points to help build a better workspace. While the challenges of climate change remain critical on a planetary level, examples of progress at a local level give a glimpse into the possibility of a more sustainable future. Around the world, communities are finding ways to make a local impact on climate change.
2. Legal Compliance Certification
Sustainability discussions often focus on individual contributions and the technologies individuals can implement, such as electric vehicles and local recycling initiatives. However, sustainable technology by industries and businesses also offers an exciting path forward to address climate change — plus rules and regulations by many states and countries.
In particular, to protect the environment. Going green for any business can ensure compliance with these rules. Every year, such laws become stricter considering the environmental problems at hand. So, taking the initiative of adopting green practices can save a business from legal trouble. Further, it can help businesses with their applications for grants.
A study found that just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. Now is the time for businesses to become part of the solution, cut down on emissions and waste, and contribute to cultivating a livable planet. The good news is that businesses can make a major impact and account for 60% of emissions cuts by 2030 — per the Paris Climate Accord.
Almost all business owners, organization managers, and executives have the intellectual acumen to identify the most effective sustainability strategy and initiatives and the power to change policy and spur innovation.
3. Green Business Marketing
Customers usually feel better when they buy products or services with a green message. For this reason, many businesses adopt green packaging solutions. One of the prime examples of green marketing is eco-friendly packaging solutions like boxes made of Kraft paper or Buxboard. Both these materials are recyclable and readily biodegradable.
While, at the same time, making them perfect choices for green product packaging. In addition to the green qualities of these packaging materials, they are also affordable. Businesses promoting green packaging solutions often use eco-friendlier inks for printing. So, transitioning from regular packaging solutions to eco-friendlier ones won’t hurt your budget.
Small businesses can highlight the green aspect of their products and get more attention from customers, which further leads to more sales. There are plenty of benefits to leveraging green marketing to your benefit and, at the same time, using technology to improve environmental outcomes. After all, most communities are already working on reducing energy use.
4. Nature-Friendly Reputation
Businesses with a reputation for green practices are generally more loved by their customers and the community. When they love a brand, the business has more repeat purchases and a higher customer lifetime value. Further, they are more likely to refer them to friends and family — an environment-friendly image of a brand drives stronger customer relations.
By providing flexibility and choice, Spectrum TV Choice enhances the entertainment experience and ensures that users have access to the content they enjoy the most. With many brands selling similar products, retaining customers over longer periods is difficult. But a company that plays a positive role in society has an edge over the competition.
Effecting change throughout an organization takes organizational leadership training and skills to make effective top-down decisions. Business owners and leaders with organizational skills have the savoir-faire to make strategic sustainability decisions that benefit the business, employees, customers, and the planet. Leaders are perhaps the most important link in the chain.
5. Ecofriendly Is In Vogue
Some of the world’s biggest companies have started adopting green solutions for their business. Tech giants often boast of their total dependence on renewable sources of energy. Similarly, factories highlight their steps in controlling emissions and waste management. The earlier-mentioned product packaging is another example of how to go eco-friendly.
Businesses are now more open to adopting greener practices. Ecofriendly is now a status symbol since all the big players are doing it. Following such eco-friendly footsteps of industry leaders can yield many benefits for small businesses. Construction and demolition industries are among the largest waste producers in the world and are on top of the list of eco-friendliness.
Reducing waste addresses the quintessential image of environmental decay: giant mountains of garbage in landfills. They reduce the amount of waste in landfills by using technology platforms that provide raw materials with an identity linked to a location and registered in a “materials passport.” Allowing recycled, resold, and reused materials to drive better decisions.
6. High Employee Morale
Working for a business playing a positive societal role significantly increases employee satisfaction. Such companies are often known to care about the well-being and health of their employees. Many green businesses support and appreciate individual efforts. Some businesses have incentivized employees to set up solar panels or change their cars to electric.
Powered by sufficient and effective cloud computing technology and tools, embracing remote working trends and offering hybrid work can lower a business’s expenses. Many businesses have observed a boost in productivity from a flexible working environment. Lower fuel consumption for traveling to work can further save your employees from the high expense.
At all costs, you should encourage your employees to speak up and share their thoughts about how your business can become more sustainable. The results could contribute to both sustainability and profitability. Moreover, the Stanford Social Innovation Review reports that this can improve “employee retention, productivity, and overall engagement.”
7. Competitive Business Advantage
S&P 500 companies with sustainability baked into their strategy perform better than those without: they see an 18% higher ROI because they manage and plan for climate change. According to Jeffrey Hollender, professor of sustainability at NYU Stern, “You will perform better financially by doing things like having a great sustainability program.”
Researchers from Harvard Business Review agree: “We’ve been studying the sustainability initiatives of 30 large corporations for some time. Our research shows that sustainability is a mother lode of organizational and technological innovations that yield both bottom-line and top-line returns.”Reduced costs, and more innovative strategies, allow for an improved reputation.
Admins, managers, and supervisors have unique insights into the day-to-day business operations. Futuristic business administration requires preparation to solve complex problems via unique perspectives and combining skill and expertise to think of creative sustainability solutions. Let admins, managers, and supervisors help provide valuable insights.
After all, their more hands-on role gives them a different perspective and understanding of how to improve business sustainability. But every individual should take steps to live and work more sustainably towards improving any business.
8. Business Reputation Improvement
Generally speaking, Business Reputation Management is about establishing a good image by aligning messages with actions. Among the most reputable companies for corporate social responsibility, Lego comes in at No. 3 because it decides to make Legos from plant-based sources. After it was announced, Lego immediately followed through with its products.
Specially produced from leaves and sugarcane. The Danish toy company plans to use sustainable materials for its core products and packaging by 2030. As a result, the company’s reputation has skyrocketed. People view sustainability as a plus, and companies with green values are eager to showcase them. Going green shows the world you care more than just money.
On the one hand, you can use this to your advantage when marketing your business and developing your brand identity. You can earn more money and boost your bottom line by making your business more sustainable. On the other hand, having a new customer base that values environmental sustainability increases sustainable businesses’ money.
9. Worldwide Awareness Outreach
The “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” illustrates why businesses need to prioritize sustainability. According to the Scientific Journal — Environmental Sustainability, an island of plastic, twice the size of Texas (approximately 1.6 million square kilometers), is floating in the Pacific Ocean. This plastic harms marine life, and microplastics in seafood can end up in humans.
This plastic would not exist if it weren’t for companies that use it to create and package products. According to the journal, we will produce 27 billion tons of solid waste by 2050, partially due to businesses prioritizing rapid production and product turnover for maximum profits. Unchecked CO2 emissions are projected to contribute to a temperature increase.
Specifically, at a rate of two degrees Celsius by 2050, which will cause sea levels to rise and catastrophic weather events to increase. A study found that just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. Now is the time for businesses to become part of the solution, cut down on emissions and waste, and contribute to cultivating a livable planet.
10. Assess Your Performance
A nebulous, unfocused plan to go green can easily overwhelm your business as you try to profit simultaneously. Try to narrow your focus to one or two key issues you care about or think you would have the biggest impact on, then branch out from there. Your plan should include assessing how sustainable initiatives can cut costs in the long run and increase profits, if possible.
If you can’t find a profitable strategy, focus on cost-cutting. You can turn around and sink your savings into investments and campaigns that will turn a profit. It’s important to create a company culture that reflects your values and makes employees comfortable enough to share their ideas, including those regarding sustainability. Let HR teams act as cultural ambassadors.
Knowing your efforts are worthwhile if you can’t accurately measure the outcome is impossible. Do what makes sense for your organization instead of worrying about what other businesses are doing. What can you do to measure your sustainability success? For example, when it comes to going green, a logical starting point is the raw materials that the business uses.
In particular, the raw materials for its products or services. But if you’re a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business company, your raw materials are just the computers, electricity, and office equipment required to make software eco-friendly.
Ask yourself these questions:
- One: Can you buy computers from eco-friendly manufacturers and recycle the old ones?
- Two: Can you buy green electricity?
- Three: Can you buy office equipment made from recycled materials?
In other words, the ability to check these boxes will be your measure of success. Collecting data on costs and sales and comparing it with your outcomes once you’ve implemented sustainability initiatives is important for other businesses. If your sales haven’t improved, you may have undermarketed your value as a sustainable business to the consumer.
The Main Sustainability Pillars That Organizations Needs To Achieve
In a nutshell, Sustainability means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. While “sustainability” is not a new word, this definition of sustainable development was coined in 1987 in ‘Our Common Future,’ a sustainability assessment report by the United Nations (U.N.) Brundtland Commission.
This watershed environmental report resulted from extensive data gathering and hearings with scientists, researchers, industry leaders, and governments worldwide. Bearing in mind, it concluded that to be able to solve diverse global environmental crises, the world needed to treat them as “interlocking crises” that must be addressed with holistic, sustainable solutions.
Sustainability is about meeting the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Cloud computing is a common denominator in developing sustainable climate change solutions. Powered by seamless transitioning to a more carbon-neutral grid and promoting a greener future with innovative, sustainable technologies.
Cloud computing is simply delivering computing services — including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence — over the internet (“the cloud”). It reduces environmental impact in various ways.
Consider the following roles played by cloud computing:
- Requiring less energy than traditional enterprise data centers
- Improving IT operational efficiency and IT equipment efficiency
- Optimizing data center and cloud computing technology efficiency
Business sustainability is operating a business without impacting the environment negatively. A green business functions in the best interests of the local and global environment, meaning it supports the community and economy dependent on a healthy planet. An environmentally aware business considers more than just profits — its impact on society and the environment.
Such a business is sustainable because it contributes to the health of the structure within which it operates, thereby helping construct an environment where the business can thrive. A sustainable business adheres to the triple bottom line, a term coined in 1994 by John Elkington. The three components of the triple bottom line are profits, people, and the planet.
A 2018 case study from Microsoft showed that moving on-premises workloads to the cloud can reduce businesses’ carbon footprint by up to 98 percent. With that in mind, there are a few main pillars of sustainability that many organizations and businesses need to strive for and put more effort into. Specifically, to help in achieving environmental sustainability:
A. Environmental Pillars
This pillar is all about protecting the environment for future generations. Environmentally sustainable organizations take steps to enhance efficiencies, reduce resource consumption and waste, and measure and monitor carbon emissions across the entire supply chain. Many organizations are amping up their environmental efforts by adopting sophisticated technology.
Including cloud and IoT sustainability solutions that allow them to track and reduce their environmental impact. Technology has several vital roles to play in this. Industries are transforming how we harness and use energy, such as expanding the output of renewable energy sources and building more environmentally friendly vehicles, homes, and commercial structures.
However, without timely and accurate data to measure these impacts, we’ll have no way of knowing if we’re on the right track. This is where IoT comes in. The other good news is that businesses can make a major impact and account for 60% of emissions cuts by 2030, per the Paris Climate Accord.
B. Economical Pillars
While it may seem like this pillar is focused on an organization’s ability to remain profitable throughout its lifetime, economic sustainability isn’t just about money. An economically sustainable organization can drive revenue and maintain long-term business growth without negatively impacting its employees’ community, environment, or health and well-being.
In layman’s language, environmental sustainability is, of course, critical to keeping our planet inhabitable. To do so, we must make real progress in reducing waste, conserving natural resources, and preserving ecosystems. Fortunately, individuals, businesses, and governments worldwide are setting ambitious economic and sustainable business goals to do this.
C. Social Pillars
According to research, we’re on pace to produce 27 billion tons of solid waste by 2050 due to a business environment prioritizing rapid production and product turnover for maximum profits. Unchecked CO2 emissions are projected to contribute to a two-degree Celsius temperature increase — it’ll cause sea levels to rise and catastrophic weather events to increase.
For businesses, social sustainability includes important workplace and employee issues like health and safety, inclusion, empowerment, professional development opportunities, and work-life balance. As the availability and diversity of consumer smart devices have exploded in the past two decades, so have the number and type of industrial IoT devices.
These devices enable monitoring temperatures, rainfall, and wildlife, allowing valuable data collection — even in remote locations. Equally important, IoT devices are tools that also enable governments to detect and act against illegal activities like wildlife poaching, waste dumping, and harvesting protected forests.
D. Communal Pillars
We will consider the communal pillars’ overall ESG efforts and inputs. Not to mention, ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) is a set of standards that organizations follow as they strive to be more socially responsible. For your information, ESG is important because this is the criteria investors evaluate as they determine whether or not to invest in a company.
Every organization directly impacts environmental, social, and governance concerns. Today, how businesses approach ESG is more important than ever as environmental and social responsibility has become a focus for many stakeholders — from communities and customers to shareholders and suppliers. Plus, it’s handy when a business commits to strong ESG standards.
It can help them attract and retain top talent. That’s because an increasing number of employees are drawn to companies that care about bigger issues beyond profitability and take steps to address environmental, social, and governance concerns.
The Key Steps To Make Your Business More Sustainable And Eco-Friendly
“Greening” your business takes an initial investment, but you’ll save money by prioritizing sustainability over time. A 2011 McKinsey Survey on the sustainability business found that 33% of businesses were integrating sustainable practices to improve operational efficiency and cut costs — resulting in a 19% increase from the previous year. Learn more from this video:
Over 10 years, clients of the managed service provider Elytus saved over $11 million through sustainable waste management and transparency, to be precise. Becoming more sustainable effectively may not be easy initially, but the challenge is worth the reward. Successful entrepreneurs, owners, and leaders look at problems as opportunities. Now is your business opportunity!
On that note, to embrace sustainability and implement innovative strategies, you can reduce your business costs by going green. For instance, using more efficient lighting or creatively reusing existing materials will save money. Although it takes an upfront investment, converting to solar energy pays off: the average commercial property owner will save about $500/month.
This is on electricity, which equals savings of $587,377 over the life of the solar power system. Most businesses pay off the cost of panels in five to seven years. That said, some creative business planning can help you determine specific and unique strategies that will work for your business. So, below are a few best practices and useful steps to help you get started.
Step #1: Start Recycling At Work
Recycling is beneficial: it keeps trash out of landfills and incinerators, creating 757,000 jobs annually. If your workplace doesn’t already do so, start recycling. If your workplace is already recycling, take a moment to read up on the recycling laws in your area to make sure you’re doing it correctly. It’s easy for everyone to get lazy and put items in the trash bin at work. Provide ample recycling bins in the workplace, make sure they’re labeled for the types of items that go in them, and if your city has a composting program, take advantage of it.
Step #2: Encourage Green Commuting
The daily commute drains the environment: people waste 2.9 billion gallons of gas stuck in traffic daily, and each person forfeits $710 in productivity yearly. Green commuting could greatly impact the environment by reducing daily emissions — encourage employees to do so when possible. Biking, carpooling, and taking the bus are all forms of green commuting that can help your employees contribute to sustainability both in and out of the workplace. Also, there are inexpensive scooters and electric bikes for those employees who live too far away to ride a regular bike.
Step #3: Offer Remote Workplace Options
Remote work is technically another type of green commute, as it keeps drivers and cars off of the roads. Some positions do not allow for remote work, but if the work can be done outside of the office, allow people to take advantage of it. Remote workers have the same impact on the environment as planting a forest of trees: they eliminate 3.6 billion tons of greenhouse gases caused by commuting annually. Working remotely also helps people avoid health risks associated with commuting.
Step #4: Utilize Technology To Go Digital
Technology has played a vital role in digital transformation, making it more efficient and effective. Unfortunately, despite the rise of digital technology, many organizations still use more paper than necessary. It’s worth mentioning that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can greatly help businesses scale up their digital transformation journey. The growth of companies and businesses depends on digital transformation. Computers, smartphones, and other devices are integrated into the workplace; use them to their fullest extent and avoid using paper whenever possible.
Step #5: Create A Sustainability Committee
Selecting a team of volunteers responsible for workplace sustainability initiatives can do wonders for your efforts. It creates accountability — people are specifically responsible for this and can follow up with others and bolster a workplace sustainability culture. Moreover, a committee will keep the ideas flowing. Task them with talking to other employees about challenges and ideas, and give them the power to make decisions.
Going Green For Business helps organizations create and maintain a positive societal image. As a result, their customers love them, and employees have higher job satisfaction. Plus, they have lower spending on overheads and utilities. Some green businesses even offer voluntary benefits in their open enrollment communication to help employees adopt a green lifestyle.
All these advantages make the hassle of turning eco-friendly worth it. You should join the bandwagon. As we continue to see the negative impacts of climate change, many governments, organizations, and individuals are embracing and promoting environmental sustainability. These various groups are working towards the lofty goal of decarbonizing our world.
So that, in the end, we can help to protect our global ecosystems for the sake of future generations. In conclusion, in terms of going green for a business context, we can say that environmental sustainability is the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. So, what’s your take on this discussion?
Feel free to share your thoughts, opinions, suggestions, recommendations, or even contribution questions for our Free FAQs & Answers in our comments section. Not forgetting, you are also welcome to Donate to support our efforts toward going green, becoming eco-friendly, and staying focused on becoming environmental sustainability champions. Thanks for your time!