Smart companies worldwide are not waiting for the economic recovery to green up their business practices. The steps they are taking now to improve the sustainability of their operations often help to accelerate their recovery from tough economic times that much more quickly.
In the past, bringing environmentalism to the workplace has been framed as a choice between saving the planet and accepting higher cost. No longer. Sustainability today means not having to choose between profit and principles. Here are three ways that greening up your business practices can immediately improve your business results.
Reduced energy costs drop to the bottom line. As the price of energy continues to rise, it makes good business sense to think hard about improving energy efficiency inside your organization. What could your company do with the savings produced by reducing the fuel bill for your truck fleet by even 10 or 15 percent? As the price of fuel creeps ever upward, the cost to heat and cool your buildings will only continue to grow. Improving the efficiency of your heating, cooling and lighting systems can you save you money today and for years to come. A free energy audit, often offered by your local utility company, is a good place to start.
Less waste means more cash. Reduction of waste usually reduces costs, since waste is a sign of inefficiency in a business process. Savings from waste reduction can be significant. According to the Zero Waste Alliance, for example, Hewlett Packard in Roseville, CA reduced its waste by 95% and saved $870,564 in 1998. Epson in Portland, OR has reduced its waste to zero and has saved $300,000. Interface, Inc. in Atlanta, GA has eliminated over $90M in waste.
Even small companies can get aboard the re-use bandwagon. Lumen Essence Lighting of Portland, OR reclaims and restores original lighting fixtures from other eras and ships them to customers in reused packaging materials and cartons. Customers like this so much that many return all boxes and packing materials to Lumen Essence to be reused again.
A lean, innovate operation increases efficiencies. As the economy slowly improves, now is a great time for companies to help their employees work smarter. People that are already working hard often appreciate the little things that a company can do to improve their workplace. Upgrading workplace conditions with things like better lighting and air quality can help improve employee morale and performance. Rebates and grants for such improvements are available in most locations. Engaging employees in discussions about how to improve efficiencies among all the vendors in your supply chain can often reveal an entire new set of opportunities to help make your operation run greener and more efficiently.
A growing segment of customers is beginning to decide whether or not to do business with a company based on the sustainability of its business practices. Don’t be left behind as this trend gains momentum. Getting started today can pay immediate benefits to your organization, and can help make your future that much more secure.
Ray Berardinelli is a principal and founder of Kalpa Consulting in Portland, Oregon, which provides sustainable solutions that deliver financial results to businesses, not-for-profit organizations and municipalities nationwide. Visit http://kalpaconsulting.com/ for more resources and information about how to bring sustainability to your workplace.