On Monday 5th October, under new Government regulations large retailers with over 250 employees started charging 5p for carrier bags in hope that it‘ll cut the 7.6bn bags given to shoppers every year. Plastic bags aren’t biodegradable therefore can remain in landfill for hundreds of years, it’s expected that £60m in litter clean-up costs will be saved. Smaller shops are currently exempt from this rule but can choose to opt in and start charging shoppers if they want to.
So firstly, what does it mean to be green? It means considering the impact of your company’s actions, products and services on the environment, people and animals. This may sound simple but it means implementing this throughout your company and putting it into your core values to become a completely socially responsible company. From your labour standards to your choice of materials and manufacturing, all of this has to be within eco-friendly measures. This blog will focus on the benefits of being environmentally friendly.
The most attractive benefit is the cost savings your company will make. The most obvious way would be to start reducing usage and waste in the company whether it is electricity, paper or equipment which in turn improves your company’s efficiency. For example, switching off lights that aren’t in use reduces electricity costs, printing on both sides of a piece of paper will cut down on the amount of paper bought and used. All these equate to reducing waste but at the same time inevitably decreasing costs and increasing your company’s bottom line.
Going green will also help to enhance your brand reputation and increase your competitive advantage. Research shows customers are 55 per cent more likely to buy a company’s products or services if they know the company are socially or environmentally responsible and are even willing to pay more for it (1). Many consumers are conscious of their purchases as the topic of going green has moved a lot higher up on the social agenda to become a demand rather than a bonus. A prime example of this is two leading retailers in the US who recorded a 20% increase in sales after incorporating green initiatives such as recycling, reducing gas usage and increasing green products. Also if you’re doing this well, make a point to include it into your marketing campaign to attract like-minded consumers.
It isn’t all just external benefits, there are internal benefits too. Employees want to work for companies that match their own values and are doing the right thing. A survey by Adecco found 52 per cent of employees feel the company they work for should be doing more about the environment (2). As your employees are one of your biggest stakeholders you should be providing the best working environment to help boost productivity. It’s reported that a healthier workplace sees a 20 per cent decrease in the number of sick days taken. It also helps with attracting and retaining employees with younger working professionals more conscious about the kind of company they’re working for. Taking green initiative is also known to improve employee morale and loyalty (3).
Investment and financial analysts are starting to take recognition of companies that implement sustainability and environmental factors into their business plan. A survey by Goldman Sachs revealed that companies in six industries considered leaders in their environmental and social policies have outperformed the general stock market by 25 per cent. More than half of top finance executives surveyed also believed their companies revenue would increase through suitable sustainability initiatives. Not only this but tax credit incentives are available to companies that practice environmentally friendly business procedures such as using renewable energy sources like solar power or hybrid automobiles.