Since the early 2000’s, lessening a company’s carbon footprint has become a greater concern for many consumers and in fact has led to many corporations making the move toward greener technology simply to compete. We are in a new era where going green is no longer simply an initiative to simply “feel good” about what the company is doing, but instead is reducing overall operational costs, as well as streamlining the overall process of the organization with modern efficiency. What began as a model to represent the goodwill of an organization (giving back to the community or environmental protection) has become a structured strategy that is both setting companies ahead with regards to their public appearance, but possibly even more important, ensuring their financial stability.
The financial gains from pushing a company into a greener focus are becoming greater and greater as the technology to do so becomes more accessible to the public. Depending on their line of business, green initiatives tend to remove risk for potential expensive clean ups as well as build a financial savings cushion from cutting utility bills. Recycling, energy conservation, energy-efficient office equipment, and water-saving devices are small examples of moving towards a smaller carbon footprint while saving money in the process. Many states in the US, like Rhode Island, push local companies to allow for easier access to greener technology for the public. Local Rhode Island solar companies are at the forefront of this initiative, aiming to offer customer solar energy units to consumer to lessen the individual carbon footprint by using renewable energy, solar power, to save money in the long run.
While focusing on cutting energy costs saves money in the long run, utilizing a company’s green initiative to spin PR can have an arguably greater effect. Saving money is one thing, but gaining loyal customers is another. Studies have shown that utilizing sustainability marketing, also known as green marketing, into your business strategy may in fact enhance your brand image and secure your market share among the growing number of environmentally concerned consumers. While this route has been very successful in rebranding dying companies to make them appear eco-friendly, there runs the possibility to appear far greener than the company is. This could deter consumers from investing in the company’s products, as the company may be seen as inauthentic, pandering, or just plain liars. As with most marketing, there is always slight embellishment, but when it comes to appearing to have a strong position on a hot topic like renewable energy or green initiatives, it’s best to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. By becoming a ISO 14001 certified organization as well as LEED certified, the brand has a better chance for notoriety for their efforts as well as the opportunity to be recognized in a way that may win awards.
Another perk to green initiatives that is often overlooked is the employee satisfaction from being an environmentally conscious organization. In general, surveys have reported that employees are generally happier with their job and the organization that they work for when the company is pushing for greener initiatives and workplace habits. Aiming to reach a common goal of lessening the company’s carbon footprint is one that is only achieved as a team, motivating employees to work together for a common purpose. Not only does this assist in overall productivity, but it lends itself to having a better outward appearance when recruiting new employees.
In less than 20 years, modern technology has allowed for renewable energy to be more accessible to both companies and the public than ever before. Consumers are now, more than ever, aware of what is going into their products’ production as well as what the organization is doing behind the scenes. Going green is entirely up to the organization and by no means are companies expected to do so. However, at the end of the day, if your company is being compared to one implementing green initiatives, then that’s just one way they’ve differentiated themselves from their competition… Which side would you rather be on? Don’t fall behind. The sooner a company implements green initiatives, the sooner they reap the financial gains.