Give Your Company a ‘Green’ Makeover: Environmentally-Friendly Business Practices

Give Your Company a ‘Green’ Makeover: Environmentally-Friendly Business Practices
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True sustainability isn’t an overnight process, but you can start making a difference immediately.

Making your company more environmentally friendly is not only good for the Earth, but it’s good for your business as well.

Increasingly, consumers are demanding companies show their greener side. More than 80 percent of consumers agree that businesses should help improve the environment, and 73 percent said that they were considering changing their own consumption habits to benefit the environment, according to a Nielsen report. “We can attract customers and engage associates when we’re acting in a way that’s aligned with their values and beliefs,” says Limor Bernstock, SVP and Head of Corporate Environmental and Social Governance at Regions Bank.

Being mindful of corporate responsibility benefits your business beyond just satisfying consumer demand. Reducing your carbon footprint can also reduce your overall operating costs and ultimately drive up profits.

Going green won’t happen overnight though, and trying to make too many changes at once can be overwhelming. Still, there are many small steps you can take right away to become a more environmentally conscious company.

Company Culture

The first step in truly making your company a greener place is getting buy-in from your staff. This part may be easier than you think. Research shows that the majority of employees want to work for a company that’s interested in improving the world, and 1 in 5 would even take a pay cut to work at a company whose values align with their own.

What you can do now: Let your workers know about changes that you’re making, and why you’re making them. Ask for their feedback on proposed changes and for ideas on other ways the company can achieve its green goals.

What you can do next: Consider how you can make your benefits package support your environmental efforts. You might encourage workers to stop driving to work by offering a mass transit benefit, for example, or installing a bike rack near your entrance.

Energy

Cutting back on your energy use is a no-brainer. The more energy you can save as a company, the more money you save on energy expenses.

What you can do now: Start simply by switching to more energy-efficient lightbulbs and putting your office lighting on a timer or schedule. Install a smart thermostat to help reduce the amount of money you’re spending on heating and cooling.

What you can do next: If you own your building, bring in an energy auditor who can provide more customized solutions to reduce your company’s energy use. Consider installing solar panels or making other energy-efficient improvements when you’re planning capital projects. “If you have a landlord, engage with the building manager to see what they’re doing to make the building more efficient,” Bernstock says. “Even if you’re not paying the utility bill directly, you’re paying for it.”

Waste

Creating less waste as a company is key to any sustainability efforts. Reducing wasted office supplies, as well as cutting back on trash, can save the company money in the long run.

What you can do now: Start a recycling program (or encourage employees to use the one you already have), and consider composting for food waste. Reduce paper waste by printing double sided and switching to reusable mugs and glasses in lieu of disposable ones.

What you can do next: Think about how you get rid of larger items as well. If possible, consider donating or refurbishing older office furniture and electronics, or looking for options to recycle those as well.

Procurement

Being a truly green business means not only looking at how your company is reducing its carbon footprint but also at how the companies with which you do business are reducing theirs. “It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to stop doing business with a company, but communicating with your suppliers that you care about sustainability is one more push to encourage them to be more environmentally friendly,” Bernstock says.

What you can do now: Evaluate all of your purchases based on their impact on the environment. Consider switching to greener cleaning products, for example, or purchasing office supplies made from recycled materials.

What you can do next: Start exploring suppliers with a strong track record of environmentally conscious offerings. Local vendors are also a great way to go green, since you’ll be cutting down on the cost and environmental impact of transporting supplies.

Community involvement

Once you’ve started making changes within your company, see how you can boost your impact by becoming part of broader initiatives in the community. As a bonus, these efforts may also boost employee engagement and strengthen the reputation of your brand within the community.

What you can do now: Sponsor local environmental events, such as Earth Day activities, and donate to environmentally friendly organizations.

What you can do next: Look for ways to incentivize your employees. You could offer them a paid day off, for example, to participate in an environmental project or offer to match their donation to a green cause.

Not only could going green help you cut costs and gain goodwill from your customers and employees, but you’ll also know that you’re helping make a positive difference for the planet and the future.

Learn how you can extend your environmentally-conscious efforts to your home, and save money doing it.

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This information is general in nature and is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. Although Regions believes this information to be accurate, it cannot ensure that it will remain up to date. Statements or opinions of individuals referenced herein are their own—not Regions'. Consult an appropriate professional concerning your specific situation and irs.gov for current tax rules. Regions, the Regions logo, and the LifeGreen bike are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.