$$ Greening Your Business $$

Published 11/01/2021
The U.N. Climate Summit (COP26) opened yesterday (Oct. 31) in Glasgow and runs through Nov. 12. In the lead-up to the event, the Biden Administration reached a $550 billion climate spending package. This marks the biggest U.S. green investment ever. Many of the provisions will be subject to court challenges, while others are seen by climate change experts as falling short of what is required. 
What might be the impacts of this, and other climate-related initiatives that the U.S. and other countries will implement?
The $550 billion is part of the Democrats’ $1.75 billion Build Back Better Act. The money will be directed toward the nation’s buildout of zero-carbon electricity electric vehicles and pollution cleanups.
How this influx of spending will impact the green economy is unknown. However, it’s safe to say that the green economy is here to stay. If so, it’s important to understand what makes a green economy. As explained by the United Nations Environment Program, it is “…low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. In a green economy, growth in employment and income are driven by public and private investment into such economic activities, infrastructure and assets that allow reduced carbon emissions and pollution, enhanced energy and resource efficiency, and prevention of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.”
But what does this mean for the average small to medium-sized business and how can they get involved? Or perhaps more important, will it add to their bottom line or simply become another expense to be absorbed or passed on to the consumer?
Green Principles and Practices
If done right, the adoption of green principles and business practices will help businesses run leaner, smarter, and provide a powerful marketing tool to attract new business.
Business processes, whether on the factory floor or in the office can always be made more efficient while reducing expensive or limited resources. This is where a company’s IT department or consultant earns their pay. When done right, it will also position your business to be resilient to future change.
Greening Your Supply Chain
Experts agree that “greening” your supply chain and using local supplies to cut your carbon footprint is a clear path to sustainability. This also limits the impact of international politics, exchange rate fluctuations and reliance on a global supply chain, the last of which is one of the most difficult challenges facing businesses today.
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
For those companies that design and manufacture tangible products, the opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint should be examined frequently. The product materials themselves, as well as packaging, transportation, recycling, or end-of-life disposal all offer the potential for refinement. Additionally, the ability to promote your products as eco-friendly provides your sales and marketing departments new tools to increase customer loyalty and appropriate customers from your competition.
Employee Buy-In
Employee buy-in is critical to successful implementation of any green initiatives. Training, designed to raise awareness of what your company is doing, as well as specifying what they can do to contribute to the reduction of their own carbon footprint, in the office and at home, can go a long way to buy acceptance and support. And don’t forget to encourage input and suggestions from your staff as well. You never know where the next brilliant idea will originate. 
Getting Involved in Green Causes
Getting involved in green causes that are important to the local community is important. It will not only raise your positive profile, but it also gives your employees a sense of pride, knowing that they work for an employer who is giving back to their community. When possible, giving your employees paid “volunteer days” creates a promotional message for your business. Be sure to reach out to all local stakeholders to elicit their support and listen to their concerns.
Measurable Targets
Finally, be sure to create policies and measurable targets that everyone can understand and post them in the workplace. Publicize your goals in the local press and keep everyone apprised of the progress.
If you would like to learn more about applying green principles to your business, our professionals at ASN would love to have this conversation with you. Give use a call.