The decision has been made: your company is going green.
It’s a positive move and everyone is pretty excited. You and your fellow business leaders are enthusiastic: risks were calculated and your profits will no doubt increase. Your employees are enthusiastic because green business practices is something they all agree on. It increases the sense of community and everyone wants to do their part. Together, you’re all making great strides forward into the 21st century.
Now that you have the momentum, it’s your job to keep the ball rolling to implement these green business practices. In fact, you’re responsible for turning that momentum into a snowball of continuously growing savings and profit expansion. And this is where things get a bit tricky. Clearly, you need a plan.
Luckily for you, we’ve got a general outline that you can follow, along with what to expect along the way.
Start With the Small Things
Teamwork: We’re All In This Together
Once you’ve announced publicly that your company is introducing green business practices, there’s an immediate window of opportunity that will remain open for a short period of time—about a month or two, tops. Once that initial “honeymoon” wears off, people will be looking for results. Otherwise, those old habits of non-sustainability will creep back into the picture—and quickly.
In other words, people will remain enthusiastic about something only if there is incentive to do so. If your employees see changes taking place right away in your green business practices, they’re much more likely to stay on board while those long-term, harder to notice changes gradually take effect. The reality is that change is hard, no matter how positive it may be, and people often don’t deal with change very well.
This is a period of time critical to success, when management must be well coordinated and very hands-on with staff. Management is in charge of keeping your employees motivated to do their part, because one of the first key concepts everyone needs to understand is that green business practices are a team effort.
The 3 R’s
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are your first go-to go-green options. Given the opportunity, most people need little motivation to subscribe to this already-prevalent concept—it’s your job to give your team the tools they need to be successful. Clearly mark designated containers for glass, paper, metal and plastic recycling, and then watch as your people use the new bins, almost automatically. Add a management team that’s positively encouraging your staff to participate in this program, and you’ve already started to make a green improvement.
Energy & Resource Use
Watch for ways to reduce water, electricity and fuel usage. (Check out these handy guides: water saving tips for restaurants, water saving tips for apartment buildings, and water saving tips for hotels.) These are valuable resources too often used with little monitoring or responsibility, resulting in both high energy usage bills for your company and environmental damage. Greenhouse gasses, habitat destruction and pollution are just a few of the side effects related to unsustainable energy consumption, and businesses in general account for a very significant portion of this destruction.
Here’s how to make a difference in these green business practices right now…
- Turn off those computer systems at night
- Upgrade your lighting to energy efficient bulbs
- Go paperless and encourage your customers to do the same by providing the option
If you start looking for ways to reduce your company’s consumption of resources, you’ll be amazed at all the things you’ll find you can do!
Regularly Scheduled Utility & Appliance Maintenance
This is a really big one. Regardless of whether your company provides services in the industry of computers/technology, food service, housing or hotel accommodations, or apartment building management, the tools and appliances you use to run your business need maintenance.
Machines and appliances operating at peak performance generally use less energy and other resources. So keep on top of those maintenance schedules—your equipment will run better, last longer, and will remain dependable.
Implementing Green Business Practices for the Long Haul
Once you and your management team has your company’s “going green machine” up and running, your efforts don’t stop there. There are long-term goals that will not just help your business save money, but will help to increase your profit margins and attract new business as well. Remember: the real
money is in long-term green efforts.
Be aware that these efforts will take some initial investment. You can’t make money without spending money, but keep in mind that these are not risky investments. Rather, they’ve been proven to benefit business growth on multiple fronts across the board.
Set long-term goals to:
- Purchase or lease energy efficient equipment
- Schedule regular, seasonal HVAC maintenance
- Replace old electrical wiring
- Upgrade to low-flow water systems
- Invest in fuel-efficient fleet vehicles
These are all very important green business practices to move your business into the future, but there are still more things your company can do, especially with some of the increased profits starting to add up from your short-term efforts.
Invest In Green Innovations such as:
Get Involved With Other Green Business Practices In Your Community
By investing in and supporting local green efforts, you’re investing in the community that supports your business, helping to grow your business in a very positive way. Many, many companies cannot survive without their local community supporting them, so by giving back to the community, your company will be a part of a positive growth cycle which involves everyone.
- Donate to local charities and conservation efforts
- Support local green innovations and development
- Sponsor research and educational funding
- Actively work with the community to improve it for everyone
This is really just the tip of the iceberg. The more research you do to get involved with local efforts, the faster and greater your profits can and will grow. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a marketing campaign telling the community how great your company’s green business practices are—you just have to get involved. Do it right and your community will notice your efforts.
The transition to sustainable green business practices is happening all around you. It’s a collective effort that requires everyone’s participation to succeed. The reason why people support it so wholeheartedly is because it’s good for everyone and everything. It’s good for the world, good for the local environments, good for creating jobs and good for business growth. By going green, your company will save money, increase profit margins, build a sense of community within your organization and radiate that outwards to the local community that supports your business.
“Sustainability Graphic” courtesy Flickr user Innovate Impact Media.
Post image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC by 3.0.
Featured image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons licensed under the CC Public Domain license.