Green Business Bureau Blog
Growing trends in corporate responsibility include green marketing and developing business marketing plans that integrate with helping a cause. Affiliating with green charities is a good way to market a business, by displaying compassion and willingness to contribute to the greater good. Green businesses have a wide variety of related eco-friendly causes to choose from when they want to donate for the holidays. GreenInvestmentNetwork.com is an online portal where investors can find green businesses to support. Kiplinger has a list of 25 companies to invest in that encourage alternatives to fossil fuels and address climate change.
It’s best to choose charities that are a good fit with your business, related in some way to your products, services, your customers, employees, or community. The story of why your company is affiliated with the charity is a good way to connect with your customers and community. It can be explained on your company website that describes your corporate values, such as Target’s corporate responsibility page.
Other companies that use green technology and espouse green values include:
Burlington Northern Santa Fe
Burlington Northern Santa Fe is an efficient double-stack train company that saves on fuel and emissions as an alternative to trucking transportation. It further contributes to energy-efficient transportation as the largest grain products transporter.
ITRON is a U.S. provider of electricity meters. Its smart electric meters enable utilities to implement time-based pricing. This, in turn, enables them to spread out electricity demand per federal law and charge more for power use during peak hours. Its product supports energy reduction and conservation.
If your company wants to dedicate other resources in addition to donating at the holidays, a good way is to partner with green charities to help further their causes, as African Wildlife Foundation partners with The Nature Conservancy and the University of Maryland.
Financial adviser Kiplinger’s recommends looking at how charities define their objectives and measure success when deciding to invest. Reading the charity’s IRS Form 990 reveals how it uses its resources, and investors can compare charities of similar size and mission.
Kiplinger’s notes that smaller, local charities will have different finances than larger, more established charities simply because of economies of scale. Other financial factors to compare include executive compensation and whether or not the charity increases its fundraising and resource spending each year. A good resource for this information is Charity Navigator.
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy works around the world to protect important environments and water. In operation since 1951, this green charity has an established record and large membership. It partners with business, government, communities and other nonprofits to meet science-based objectives.
Global Greengrants Fund
Global Greengrants Fund helps grassroots groups in developing countries with financial support to meet their green objectives. It funds grant projects to help groups working on social and environmental issues.
Recycling for Charities
Recycling for Charities’ goal is to eliminate e-waste by handling used electronics and computer equipment. Donated equipment is reused, recycled, or properly disposed of to keep it out of the environment.
Heating, cooling and ventilation are a major part of small businesses utility bills and little changes can make a big difference. A one-degree reduction can save 10% on your heating and cooling bill. But decreasing costs and saving energy does not mean you have to create an uncomfortable environment for your employees. As with lighting, simple green steps can save businesses money without compromising on the comfort.
Here are 5 tips from the Green Business Bureau to help you reduce your heating and cooling costs:
- Set thermostats between 69 and 71 degrees Fahrenheit for heating and between 75 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit for cooling. You can also upgrade to a programmable thermostat such as the Nest.
- Ensure that furniture or draperies are not blocking heating and cooling registers.
- Don’t place lamps or other appliances that release heat near the thermostat. Heat from these appliances is sensed by the thermostat and could cause your system to work harder than required.
- Keep your heating and cooling systems well tuned with periodic maintenance by professionals. Clean or replace air filters frequently.
- Relax the corporate dress code (seriously!). Learn more about savings associated with dress codes.
Going green is clearly a growing trend that is likely here to stay. There are a growing number of companies that are going green, and hugely benefiting from it. Whether the company goes paperless or installs solar panels, these companies are making waves in the way that corporations run. The benefits of going green are starting to outweigh everything else for many large companies.
1. It Enhances Public Relations
Let’s be honest, we all like to hear about the good things that companies are doing. There is so much negativity about corporations that hearing the good things is a breath of fresh air. The positive publicity that companies are getting for going green helps bring in business and improves the feeling that people get when thinking about these companies.
Take Walmart, for example. Many people dislike the large corporation due to reports of unfair treatment of employees. However, over the last few years it has started improving its environmentalist efforts, and in turn improving how the public views it. Walmart has started installing solar panels on the roof of its stores, cutting back the amount of fossil fuels being used to run them. Since this is such a massive company with thousands of stores, the amount of energy used is enormous. With the installation of solar panels, Walmart is showing communities that it cares about the impact it has on the environment and local community.
2. It Improves Branding
When you’re able to say that your company is going green and making environmentally conscious decisions in any capacity, it’s going to improve your branding efforts. People like to make purchases from companies that use environmentally friendly practices in production or produce green products because it makes them feel good about what they buy. When you go green, you can show customers that you’re trying to make a difference and by purchasing your products they are helping you make that difference. This gives your brand a boost, and gives all departments a new angle to work with. There are a number of websites and blogs dedicated to getting brands out there that are as green as possible. Getting your name on one of these can help your brand become more recognizable as green friendly.
3. Bring in Better Talent
Image via Flickr by Victor1558
Many young professionals today are interested in working for companies that have an interest in the environment. If you’re trying to decide between two different companies, one of which has gone green and the other hasn’t made an effort, a large number of the younger generation of workers will prefer the green company. The more you cut back on waste and improve your company’s carbon footprint, the more you’re going to attract great talent.
4. Monetary Benefits
There are a number of monetary benefits to gain when your company starts to go green. If you install numerous solar panels, you may create excess power that you can sell back to energy suppliers. In most cases, this will be seen as a credit on the energy bill, and you’ll be able to use that credit in times when your panels simply don’t create enough power. This has the potential to save you a significant amount of money in the long run.
In addition to selling power back to the grid, the government gives tax credits for green companies that are making a considerable effort to change the way their company runs. You will need to fit a number of criteria, but the efforts will pay off when tax time comes around. There are federal credits, and many state and local tax credits as well which are meant to help encourage companies to go green, and to stay that way, as it benefits everyone in the community.
5. Help the Environment
The biggest reason that companies are going green beyond all the marketing and sales advantages is that it is a lasting and positive effect. There are a number of issues with our environment today, and corporate industries contribute to many of them. Many companies are taking small steps and implementing less costly policies like cutting back on the paper they use. Between 2000 and 2005, Bank of America increased their customer base by about 24 percent, but they were able to cut back their paper usage by about 32 percent during the same time period.
With so many reasons to go green, it’s not surprising that many of the largest companies in America are looking for the best ways to reduce their carbon footprint. From using energy-efficient products in the office to creating power through wind or solar energy, these companies are making a difference in the way they are perceived and the way they run.
Jonathan Lanciani, in a post for GreenBiz. com, discusses the benefits of reclaiming and reusing water. On average, non-potable demand constitutes 45 percent of all campus water use. 75 percent of water use in the industrial sector is for non-potable demands such as power, heating, cooling and other process requirements. With water reclamation, costs can be reduced by reducing potable water intake and reducing sewer fees. Generally, businesses can benefit by studying their water usage and consumption patterns. Click here to read the article.
This is a guest post by Lilly Sheperd, a freelance writer who shares her thoughts on various blogs.
There are a number of solid arguments for switching bulbs in your home. You’ve probably heard them all before, and maybe you’ve dismissed them. But the fluorescent bulbs that you may be thinking of are not the only way to keep costs low and save energy. LEDs are becoming increasingly popular on the marketplace, and are in the midst of a dramatic increase in functionality and affordability. They may be the bulb of a very bright future.
Disadvantages of CFL
Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs are great in a number of ways. They are an energy-efficient alternative to incandescent bulbs, saving both you and the planet the heavy costs of excessive consumption. They are also pretty cheap and widely distributed. But as we will see, they are not preferable to an LED.
There are a few obvious problems with a fluorescent bulb—the biggest of which you can often see simply by flicking the “ON” switch at home. They often cast a different sort of light, probably much unlike the one you are used to with your classic incandescent. This probably isn’t due to the essential power of the bulb, since fluorescent bulbs are supposed to be equal in power to incandescent ones. But their power can fade more easily, due to temperature changes and general usage. Flicking on and off your fluorescent bulb too many times can cause its effectiveness to deteriorate, as can putting it in low-temperature environments for a sustained period of time.
In addition, owning a fluorescent bulb can be slightly disconcerting because of the mercury contained within it. Breakage or mishandling of the bulb could result in exposure to this mercury which, although it probably wouldn’t do any severe damage, may nonetheless be bad for your health.
The LED Revolution
Everyone knows energy costs are high and getting higher, a trend which can have an increasingly debilitating effect on your bank account. So your two options for thwarting this money-draining bug in your home’s economic ecosystem are CFL and LED bulbs. While CFLs have been around for a long time, LED bulbs are just starting to flourish on the market. They’re more expensive—for now—but the cost pays off big time in the long run.
Consider that an LED bulb will last ten times longer than an average fluorescent. This not only saves you money in long run, but it saves you from the hassle of having to constantly replace your bulb.
LEDs are more energy efficient than both alternatives. Their 2-7 watt usage of electricity is 1/3 and 1/30 the amount consumed by fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, respectively.
Less heat is generated by an LED than by both CFLs and incandescent bulbs. 80% of the energy used by an LED light is generated into electricity—giving it a remarkable efficiency rate that is three times that of a fluorescent bulb.
Regardless of your reasoning, it’s undeniable that energy efficiency is the way to go. And the LED technology is only improving, while companies like i-lite are leading the way in keeping costs down. Looking forward, the switch to LED bulbs seems imminent and will help both the planet and your purse.
Green Your Halloween
It’s that time of the year again! Halloween is a fun way for businesses to let loose, get imaginative with costumes and celebrate with the local community. If we’re not careful Halloween can also lead to extra waste and environmental impact. So check out GBB’ssmart tips for making Halloween into HallowGreen!
Welcome to Our New Members and Welcome Back to Our Renewing Members!
Johnson Wood Insurance Services Inc, Carlsbad, CA - Avilan Diamonds, Scottsdale, AZ -Minnicks, Laurel, MD - Data Impressions, Cerritos, CA - Green Girl Cleaning LLC, Morgantown, WV - City Center Downtown, Phoenix, AZ - CNC Catastrophe & National Claims, Mobile, AL - New Horizon Security Services Inc., Danville, VA - R&W Cleaning Services, Manchester, NH - EcoCare, Austin, TX - Minxon Online Technology, Dubai, UAE - ECOMAIDS, Staten Island, NY - BCS Group, LLC, Clifton, TN - Angel’s Diagnostic Group, Inc., Doral, FL - 2WLS, London, UK - Kreussler, Inc., Wiesbaden-Biebrich, Germany - Ball Chain Manufacturing, Mount Vernon, NY - Edwards Business Systems, Richmond, VA - Integrative Acupuncture, Delray Beach, FL - Rio Designs, Rumson, NJ -White Corner Professional Cleaning, Strathmore, Canada - GridCSP, Newark, CA –Triumph Wash & Detail, Arlington, TX – Wiped Clean & Cassino Construction & Maintenance, New York City, NY – ETC, Inc., Cincinnati, OH – Comfort Service & Repair, Miami, FL – WindowTex, Garden City Park, NY – Unicare Building Maintenance, Mokena, IL – P.A. Crimson Fire Risk Services, Lombard, IL – TurtleDove Cleaning Services, Calgary, Canada – Eco Clean Maintenance, Chicago, IL – Kona Coolers, Clearwater, FL -Le Soleil de la Floride, Hollywood, FL – Mission Bay RV Resort – San Diego, CA – The Water Superstore, Peoria, AZ – Advance Air & Heat, East Freetown, MA - Bellemani Nail Salon, San Diego, CA – Cleary Cleaners, Rochester, NH – AMS Billing Services, Bradenton, FL – Fulfillment America, Billerica, MA – Hotel San Carlos, Phoenix, AZ –NorthWest Auto Center, Bellevue, WA – GCX Corporation, Petaluma, CA - Reverse Solutions, Meriden, CT – CAAT Pension Plan, Toronto, Canada – Selective Cleaners, Los Angeles, CA – Partner Colorado Credit Union, Arvada, CO – Solar Cuts, Agoura, Hills, CA - Advanced Eye Centers, Dartmouth, MA – Eventus, Miami, FL – Pence Quality Homes, Arlington, VA – The Clean Environment Company in Omaha, NE
GBB Members Share Inspiring Stories of Sustainability
This past month we celebrated our community’s sustainability achievements with another member Blog Week. Check out the recaps and click on each article to read more.
Work flexibility gives you and your organization the freedom to better decide when, where and how work will get done. It is a choice that many people need, but few people have: 79% of workers would like to be allowed to work from home at least part of the time. In addition to reducing the collective carbon footprint, $700 billion would be saved if 50 million workers telecommuted just half the time. Organized by platinum GBB member,FlexJobs, 1 Million for Work Flexibility is a coalition aiming to raise awareness about the benefits of flexible work options and promoting a positive change in the “workplace norm.”
Fort Worth entrepreneur, Mary Palko, President/CEO of Green Now LLC, has followed the “road to green” since creating a family-owned international bed-and-breakfast business eight years ago. She recently launched a new business venture, Green Now LLC, whose product, Total Skin Care Mist, is a refreshing, all-natural body spritz safe for adults and children. “There are no products out there like this – nothing even close to it. It’s an awesome product line,” Palko said. “Our invitation is to join us on the road to green, our path to a green, safe, healthy way of life.”
Rio Designs is a socially responsible, eco-friendly brand committed to empowering artisans through creative design and sustainable economic opportunities. Founded in the Jersey Shore via collaboration by mutual friends, Debbie Abazia, “Professional Model” and Christine Feldmann, “Founder,” Rio Designs was created as a platform to utilize the combined passions of ethical design and fashion. A percentage of the profits go toward nonprofit organizations, primarily to support disadvantaged communities by working alongside artisans in New Jersey, USA and Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and the Amazon, Brazil.
Alison Lueders, Founder of Great Green Editing, which provides content marketing services to other green and socially responsible businesses, shared “3 Reasons Green Businesses Need Content Marketing.”
CFL lightbulbs were once hailed as the silver bullet of green lighting. It turns out the situation is more complicated. Biodegradable bags present a similar conundrum. Edward Weisberg, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at GXT Green,explains lessons learned and solutions going forward.
We wrap up with an uplifting example of resource conservation by Cassandra Tondro, an artist who found an innovative use for leftover house paint; she repurposes it for her colorful abstract paintings.