It seems that the biggest topic right now—aside from Covid-19, anyway—is sustainable business practices. Everyone wants to go green. Maybe you’ve thought about it too, have taken steps to become one, or are already operating an energy efficient small business.
What’s so great about eco-friendly business? To answer that, you should check out these top of the line brands that have long since made the jump to sustainability.
Eco-Friendly Businesses You Should Know About
Some of the most well known and successful brands are becoming all about going green, like:
- Google: for over a decade has been carbon neutral and is a strong advocate for renewable energy
o Data centers are 50% more efficient than other data centers
- Lyft: now committed to 100% electric cars by 2030
o Transportation is now the leading source of greenhouse gas pollution!
- Ikea: leader in renewable energy for corporations with sustainable business practices
o Wind turbines, LED lighting, solar, geothermal and biomass energy sources for their stores!
- Tesla: global leader in energy efficient electric cars
o In addition to making its own line of cars, Tesla also produces components and tech for other manufacturers
- FedEx: committed to reducing emissions from aircraft by 30% by 2020 and intends to increase alternative fuel sources by 2030
o Aiming to reduce total carbon dioxide emissions by 40% through use of drones, bots, and electric vehicles
- Microsoft: Carbon neutral since 2012 and committed to helping customers keep their carbon footprint minimal
o Cloud storage system is significantly more efficient than usual data centers (up to 93% more)!
Okay, those are some great brands and you hope to one day have that level of success. But what’s the bottom line of why sustainability is important?
The fact is: sustainability is…well, sustainable! Not just for the environment, but also for the market as it limits fluctuations by guarding against scarcity of power and resources in the future. The growing concern about limited resources is trickling into the consumer mindset, too. According to Business Insider, those with purchasing power are increasingly turning to sustainable products and eco-friendly businesses. This is for several reasons:
- It’s trendy; whatever is popular is what sells and all industries including clothing retailers and big box brands are taking the cue.
- Consumers are increasingly using their wallet to “vote” for brands they like. They want to use brands that align with their own personal values and are choosing products and businesses that reflect them.
- Consumers like that “feel good” vibe they get from doing the right thing.
If it’s what your customers want, then that’s what you should give them. Plus, eco-friendly business practices benefit you as well with decreased operating costs and access to energy efficiency incentives like rebates, tax credits, grants, and loans.
Fit the Mold of an Eco-Friendly Business
Future Energy Solutions (FES) has some easy to implement steps for fitting the mold of an eco-friendly business. To quickly break it down:
- Know how much energy you consume
- Engage staff and community in energy saving techniques
- Search out low and no cost solutions partners and energy sources
- Brag about your eco-friendly accomplishments!
- Invest your green savings in small business growth
Inc.com also discusses the how and the why to change course and become an eco-friendly business. They recommend looking for where you could make the biggest impact, survey your customers, revamp your packaging and products (if applicable), and partner with the right people.
Making sure your products are ethically sourced and packaged in environmentally friendly materials is also a guard safe against bad business practice. Customers don’t like inferior packaging or products; they will badly review your product if it doesn’t meet their standards. If customers don’t like it, they won’t buy it and there go your profits. You don’t want to gain a reputation for cheap, toxic, or just bad results.
Another thing that Inc.com does well to note: building up relationships with other businesses. Few brands do well without help. Life is easier with friends; partner with like minded business to form coalitions of similar values. Your partners can help you find better deals, rebates, give insider tips, help bolster your marketing campaigns, reinforce your values, and make your business seem like the bee’s knee’s. Customers are impressed and reassured by businesses that are affiliated with well trusted brands. According to the Harvard Business Review, customers are voting with their wallets for or against your business; they want sustainable stuff and businesses to patronize.
Small and medium sized businesses shouldn’t have any issues adopting eco-friendly practices. Don’t think that a small business should have a harder time than a large brand. It is merely a matter of scale. Initial expenses might appear expensive (such as reinstalling energy efficient fixtures like lighting or refrigerators), especially to smaller businesses with less access to ready capital. However, upfront costs will be easily overcome with energy savings due to lowered operating costs plus the energy efficiency incentives you can qualify for which include grants, cash back, rebates, tax credits, and loans. It will also help reduce waste, create customer loyalty and trust, and elevate your brand status. Overall, the changes you make will be beneficial to your business’s bottom line. Think of it as an investment!
If you are just about to begin your start-up, it’s simple and beneficial to begin with energy efficiency from the get-go.