Today we hear a lot about the need to reduce carbon emissions, recycle our
waste products, and improve sustainability to improve our planet. So why are
some businesses still so unwilling to implement green policies and remain slow
when it comes to introducing recycling schemes?
The reason for this tends to be financial – people are still led to believe that
leading a sustainable lifestyle is expensive. However this couldn’t be further
from the truth. There’s plenty a business can do to be more environmentally
friendly, and at the same time save money with the added bonus of attracting
more customers. Companies, especially small startups, are slowly but surely
beginning to find that the benefits of going green extend way beyond the obvious
Applying green policies for the workplace creates a healthy environment for
employees, reduces unnecessary waste and recognizes the role that businesses
play in leading the way for social change.
Don’t believe me?
Going green has proven highly profitable. To give you an idea, Coca Cola saved
$100 million by cutting down on packaging, and after applying ethical and
environmental guidelines, Marks and Spencer increased revenue by £50 million.
Even taking simple steps, such as switching off equipment when not in use and
installing efficient lighting can benefit your business. Turning the lights off when
you leave a room, shutting computers down at the end of the day, having the
heating dropped in rooms that are rarely used, and cutting back on printing can
quickly become the norm for all and lead to savings for a business.
Still not convinced?
Then let me put it into perspective. Did you know the average business
consumes 1,175,000 KWH per year? That’s enough to power 65 average sized
houses for a whole year. Businesses account for 40% of all energy consumption
in the country so it’s important to be aware of how much you are using and how
you can cut back.
Not only that, going green is a great marketing tool and can help you attract
more customers. Adopting sustainable practices and engaging with the
community over green issues is guaranteed to improve your public image.
Businesses gain credit with customers and media when they display their green
background. There are certifications, logos and awards to be gained, which you
can place on your packaging and materials and not only that, the move will also
set a positive example for your employees, boosting morale and company loyalty.
And lastly, it’s about keeping up with the times. Going green is now more than a
trend and is vast becoming a part of our culture. People have become more
aware of environmental issues and greener practices are occurring more and
more in daily routines. Reducing the environmental impact of your business will
also improve the sustainability of your business, which means if you are less
dependant on natural resources than your competitors, and have ways to deal
with rising costs due to climate change, then your business will have a greater
chance of long-term success.
Now I’m a true believer in practicing what you preach. That’s why my business is
a strong supporter of ethical trading and is a trailblazer in the supply of
Fairtrade certified garments. Along with our ethical roots, we try to be as eco-
friendly as possible within the workplace. We use vegetable oil based printers as
part of our on-going commitment to the environment and of course we use
recycled paper. 95 per cent of all the bags we use to package our garments are
recyclable; our cardboard is donated to schools when useful or is sorted for
recycling and we always try to find alternative use for our waste.
Now let the eco-friendly battle commence. What can you do to go green?
Personal bio: Susan Waters is founder of Impact Trading, an established
provider of corporate clothing and Cotton Roots, an established supplier of
clothing with an emphasis on strong ethical and sustainable manufacture.
Susan passionately supports the principles of Fairtrade and is a Fairtrade