21 or 22 Good Reasons To Be a Green Business
* Client base
Clients and prospective customers prefer to do business with companies with common values. Client retention will increase while the base of new clients will expand. Public and private sector purchasing practices will increasingly consider a company's environmental policies in the selection process.
* Reputation and public image
Employees, executives, business partners, clients, shareholders, family and friends want to align with an environmentally responsible business.
* Industry trends & competition
Being aware of industry trends is smart business. The marketplace rewards best practices, separating leaders from laggards. Competitors are aware of marketplace trends and will implement sustainability measures if they haven't already done so.
Reduced Operating Cost
* Energy costs
Reduced energy use and cost results from green business operation. Lowering peak energy demand results in outsized energy cost reductions.
* Water costs
Ensuring adequate freshwater supplies will become increasingly difficult over the coming decades. Water conservation strategies can reduce water use by 50% or more.
* Cleaning and maintenance costs
Carefully selected, green building materials and products require less maintenance or reduce the need for cleaning. Smart landscaping with native plants typically requires significantly less maintenance than conventional turf and shrubbery.
* Waste reduction
Offices and entire buildings can be designed to reduce waste generation and incorporate facilities for recycling waste. Coffee break and lunch areas can use reusable dishes and utensils.
* Employee recruiting
Recruiting quality employees is a challenge. Workspace quality including such features as daylighting, views to the outdoors and indoor air quality can have a significant impact. Prospective employees are attracted to employers who are concerned about employee health and are committed to sustainable business practices.
* Employee turnover
Not only does a healthy, comfortable office environment and a commitment to sustainability attract quality workers but 'green' employers experience lower employee turnover. How long does it take and how much does it cost to replace a productive employee?
Since Americans spend approximately 85% of their time indoors, indoor environmental quality is extremely important. Green buildings and green offices are healthier workplaces which help keep workers healthy. Reduced absenteeism contributes to productivity.
* Recovery from illness
Indoor environmental quality, outdoor views and connections to nature have been shown to promote healing while reducing the spread of illness through airborne viruses and bacteria.
A well-insulated building reduces energy consumption but also increases comfort. Eliminating drafts, minimizing temperature variations, and controlling noise also improve occupant comfort. Increased comfort also contributes to productivity.
Studies show a distinct, positive correlation between learning rates and daylighting, comfort, noise control and outdoor views.
* Municipal services
Green businesses use less water and produce less wastewater. In many U.S. communities, increased capacity is simply not available. When it is available, reducing sewage volume reduces the use of energy and chemicals in sewage treatment plants.
* Automobile use and traffic congestion
Green business operations consider how the office is integrated into the community and public transportation. Reducing dependence on automobiles has high priority. Locating near public transportation and providing facilities and incentives to encourage commuting by walking, biking and public transportation help reduce automobile use and traffic congestion. And reduced traffic congestion improves quality of life, increases productivity and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
* A sense of community
Employee mobility and 20th century suburban development trends contribute to a loss of community. Green community development help reverse these trends, creating neighbourhoods in which residents interact with their neighbours. Safety and security within these neighbourhoods improves while automobile dependency decreases.
* Global warming
Everything we do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has global benefits. Green businesses consume less energy and generate less carbon dioxide, require less transportation energy for occupants and visitors and avoid release of other greenhouse gases. Green businesses tread lightly on the environment.
* Ozone depletion
Green buildings minimize release of ozone-depleting substances by using environment friendly materials.
* Distance, Transportation and Energy
Shipping materials and products great distances uses more energy with corresponding environmental impacts. Green business operations strive to use local materials.
* Local and regional air quality
Reducing energy use in offices and buildings and in transporting occupants and visitors to and from these offices help improve local and regional air quality.
* Environmental Awareness
Green business operations make a clear and obvious statement about environmental stewardship. They set an example to employees and visitors, each of whom may become a strong advocate, affecting community attitudes and practices, in business and at home. Children raised in a green home will view the world with a green perspective.
Society And Community
* Support of local, sustainable business
Use of local supplies and materials and local agriculture invests in local companies which support the local community and encourages further investment.
Stan Gassman, BSC Sustainability Services Copyright 2008
About the Author:
Stan Gassman is Co-founder and Principal of BSC Sustainability Services, a consulting firm devoted to assisting business make the transition from environmental awareness to environmental responsibility while strengthening brands, increasing revenues and reducing risk and cost.
By Stan Gassman