In the Business World, Eco-Friendly is Profit-Friendly

October 14, 2015

3:00 pm

There’s currently a misconception in the business world that taking an eco-friendly position in the marketplace means extra expenses and costly investments. However, this simply isn’t true. As many businesses and their entrepreneurs are quickly discovering, eco-friendly is often synonymous with profitability.

The Relationship Between Sustainability and Profitability

If you doubt the previous statement, don’t worry. You aren’t alone. Most people find it hard to believe that green practices are cost-effective. In order to quell your doubts and inform you about the reality of the situation, let’s take a look at some different points.

1. Energy Dependency

For businesses with large office spaces and warehouses, energy often accounts for a large portion of total overhead expenses. And while an investment in solar panels may seem expensive upfront, the payoffs down the road are tremendous.

Since 1977, the cost of solar panels has fallen an incredible 100 times over. Furthermore, the price has been cut in half by roughly 50 percent since 2008. It’s no longer unaffordable for small businesses to invest in solar technology. And in fact, the government still has a handful of incentivized programs that make installing solar panels a smart choice.

According to certain studies, business owners report energy bill savings of anywhere between 50 to 90 percent per month. If your energy bill is $1,000 per month, that could mean a total annual savings of between $6,000 and $10,800. After taking tax breaks into account and adding up these savings for a handful of years, it’s easy to see why solar panels make sense.

2. Public Relations and Marketing

It’s hard not to acknowledge the impact green practices have on public relations and marketing. Companies that publicly share their commitment to sustainability are able to gain the favor of today’s environmentally conscious consumers. While your choice to go green shouldn’t be solely based on PR, it’s pretty clear that this is a distinct advantage.

3. Stronger Workplace Morale

Many of today’s employees express an interest in working for companies that care about sustainability and green practices. By showing employees that you’re environmentally conscious, you can expect to increase retention rates and develop a more loyal company culture. Sometimes being green in the office is as simple as using organic cleaning products and installing energy efficient appliances and light bulbs. Other times, it may require a more significant investment in restructuring processes.

4. Stronger Community Support

For businesses, being green can have a significant impact on the local community in which you’re located. Most communities and neighborhoods take sustainability pretty seriously and you don’t want to ruin your reputation by ignoring this fact. By committing to local groups and organizations and aligning your company with neighborhood initiatives, you can truly develop a strong brand.

5. Everyday Cost Savings

Aside from the major energy savings mentioned above, developing eco-friendly habits can also lead to small savings that gradually add up over time. For example, creating a paperless office can reduce your dependence on paper, ink, and other supplies. You may not notice a huge savings at the end of each workweek, but those pennies add up over time and may equal thousands of dollars by the end of the year.

Make Sustainability a Priority

The next time you hear a business and its leaders talk about sustainability and eco-friendly practices, don’t just roll your eyes and shake your head. Not only is it a responsible path to pursue, but being green can actually increase the profitability of your organization. From energy bill savings and tax breaks to better employee retention and positive public relations, sustainability and profitability are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they are directly correlated.

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Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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