Transforming a company into being “green” is certainly a growing trend among business leaders. In fact, the process is no longer confined to specific types of industry. There are many huge corporations, that are focusing on making as many aspects of their business as eco-friendly as possible.
While it is certainly becoming a popular move there are many smaller business owners that are avoiding focusing too much on being environmentally-friendly. The general thought is: “Yes, the big corporations have the money to lose when it comes to all the costs involved in going green.” While this is a common thought it is also a misconception. In this article, we will look at exactly how going green can actually improve the company’s success both financially and when compared to the competition.
What Exactly Does “Going Green” Mean?
Often you will hear business leaders boasting that their company is now “green” and it can also be heard in many customer reviews of various products, but what actually does this mean? The reason that this is hard to pinpoint is because it refers to a whole range of aspects within the company.
The most basic concept is sustainability. This is when a company acts to work alongside the environment rather than depleting all of its natural resources. The company is also required to support long-term programs to boost overall equilibrium. This, however, is only the beginning of being an eco-friendly business.
To further pursue an environmentally friendly stance, a company must also try to achieve as many of the following points as possible:
- Reduce overall energy consumption levels during the manufacturing of various products,
- Redesigning products to use less environmentally damaging materials,
- Ensure that the materials used in products are recyclable,
- Reduce emitted pollution by installing a range of preventative systems,
- Focus on efficiency by designing a distribution method that limits the amount of long-distance travel a product must make for delivery.
- Sourcing materials locally to avoid additional carbon emissions related to transportation.
These points only represent a handful of methods to achieve sustainability. Each one will remarkably improve the impact that the company has on the environment but they also have a range of secondary effects that are hugely beneficial. One of the most obvious is having a product that is more attractive to the consumer, as no customer wants to buy something which is clearly harming the environment. The customer’s view of the company results in a more positive image and a boost in sales.
Another, often forgotten, positive effect that is generated by focusing on sustainability is keeping up with market trends. In a world where being green is becoming more and more fashionable, it is important for a company to offer this to their customers. This means that going green will create market differentiation and draw customers away from competitors who have not yet focused on being environmentally friendly.
Putting The Theory Into Practice
The first step to successfully implementing sustainability measures is to focus on the customer. Often companies turn to research and development to achieve eco-friendly products but this usually means the results do not completely appeal to the customer. It is important to analyze the market, develop a plan to meet their specific needs and to develop a product that meets the customer’s expectations of what an eco-friendly product should be.
The second step is to make sure that the measures that you are putting in place will actually benefit your company as well as appeal to customers. The sustainability factors should both:
- Clearly have an eco-friendly value for customers, to increase the overall positive image of the company,
- And be designed to save the company money or to boost the efficiency of production.
The benefits to carrying out these changes to the company’s structure are generally well understood, including:
- The customers, business partners, employees and stakeholders will highly rate the company’s “goodwill”,
- This will increase both brand recognition and respect,
- It has also been shown that consumers are generally more likely to pay more for products that are viewed as eco-friendly.
While these are clearly great benefits to aim for, there is a drawback. The number of customers that will be drawn in by a green product is limited and the fairest price will always win for the majority of consumers. This means that the main focus of these measures should always be: on net cost savings, standing out from the competition or directly passing the savings onto the consumer.
By focusing on these aspects you will reap the rewards of opting for sustainability without having to rely on the customer appreciating the environmental impact you are reducing and then paying more for the product.
An example of this theory being put into practice is when we launched our next-generation product line of spray polyurethane foam for insulation and roofing. It was an eco-friendly option to insulate both homes and commercial structures that customers found to be both beneficial to their overall costs and to the environment at the same time.
The True Value Of Innovation
As mentioned previously, it is currently the case that many businesses are avoiding sustainability measures as they are worried that the immediate cost outweighs the benefits. Viewing the issue in such a short-term way is a problem as the benefits are a longer-term investment. Through innovation in all types of sustainability, the company will achieve a value in the eyes of the consumer as well as bottom-line value, which can be seen in an increase in the market share as well as a reduction of manufacturing costs.
By focusing on the environment many companies result in achieving a leading position in their market through both innovation and reducing consumer costs. The success can be achieved in a variety of ways as shown previously but they all result in both bottom-line value and consumer value.
Not only is this a generally straightforward process but it is one that can be achieved by any company ranging from the largest corporations to family-owned and operated businesses. While these companies reap the financial benefits the planet will also be carefully looked after.