How green is my business?

Many businesses resist going ‘green’ because of perceived additional costs, but is this actually correct? What if going green contributed to greater profits?

WinfarmThere are many ways that going green can improve your profits. The most obvious is by reducing your utilities bills. Use less water or power and pay less. It really is that simple.

You can reduce your water bill by not using the hose as a broom when cleaning the path or driveway, and by turning taps off when you don’t need them on – for example when you are actually brushing your teeth.

You can reduce your power bill be being just a little organised – and ensuring staff turn equipment off overnight. If you want to be more organised then install switchboards that allow many devices to be turned off by a single power switch. You can use the type that has power surge protection as well, and protect your equipment from surges at the same time.

If your business has more than a dozen light bulbs then it is likely that you will achieve worthwhile savings by changing to low energy versions. You can also make better use of natural light by opening curtains and installing skylights. Modern low energy bulbs use about half of the energy old fashioned bulbs use, so the savings from this simple measure can mount up very quickly.

ParkingBikeHow green is your vehicle fleet? That’s everything from the CEO’s car to the delivery trucks. When it is time to replace vehicles consider the carbon footprint over the life of the vehicle – and imagine even a 5% or 10% saving on your fuel bill. Smaller motors, alternate fuels, and hybrid vehicles all contribute to lower transport costs.

Consider how much paper your business uses. Is every page really necessary? Did every page really need to be printed? Could you have used a digital copy instead? Reducing the paper usage has obvious benefits, and so does buying paper that has already been recycled. Even if all you do is change to recycled paper you will be assisting the environment, and today the price difference between recycled paper and non-recycled is reducing (at least it is where I live).

Many businesspeople need to fly to other cities from time to time – I will be flying nearly the whole continent next week for example. What can you do to reduce the carbon footprint of that flight? I help plant trees to at least partially offset mine. What do you do?

Now that your business is green, what about your Suppliers? Are there greener alternatives for about the same price or less? Is there a business that would prefer your products if they knew you were a green organisation? Are you in a position to inspire other businesses you deal with to become greener? How might you leverage your new green status for greater benefit?

In fact if saving on your power bill sounds like a good idea to you then hire a professional to do an Energy Audit. This will identify all possible savings and help you develop a plan to implement low-power alternatives and save money.

Before we continue – if your sales increase by $1 your profit increases, but by less than a dollar – depending upon your Cost Of Goods Sold and other factors. If your power bill goes down by $1 what happens to your profit? It goes up by the whole $1, assuming everything else stays the same.

Your business can also become a stronger shade of green by establishing a recycling programme. Recycling can mean refilling fax and printer cartridges, collecting paper, plastics and metals suitable for recycling, and even having devices to recycle that old food from the refrigerator – and don’t worry, you can ‘recycle’ food waste without the smell these days.

This isn’t supposed to be a complete list of what you can do to be a greener organisation – what are your best ideas? Or why do you not bother, if that’s the case? We’re an equal opportunity comments blog site, so tell us your story regardless of your position.

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