Green Business Bureau Blog

 

Markets for Green Businesses: Law, accounting, and architecture firms

 
 

When asked: how “green” are you, the brains behind accounting, IT and architectural firms who, kudos to them – both the closet greens or eco-warriors who proudly bear their eco-badge on their sleeve – jump up to say that they are helping their clients drive sustainability solutions.

Even lawyers are realizing their impact on their environment. No seriously, lawyers are sharp enough to know that using all that virgin paper cannot be good to the environment.

But when it comes to driving internal sustainability initiatives? Many still respond by: “we recycle”. Period.

A challenge? Entrepreneurs and businesses see opportunity to market and sell to the hot, relatively economically resistant and (not so new) marketing target market: the professional services market.

I say “not so new” because it relates to green business to business marketing.

But, the fact is, getting all professional partners to agree to a sustainability policy – let along all those brilliant minds in one room – is no easy task.

For other emerging trends about marketing to consumers and companies buying into the sustainability lifestyle, David B. Bohl makes a very interesting case for tracking trends in the luxury travel industry. Bohl suggests that trends that may start out in the luxury market have a habit of making their way into other demographic markets as well.

“Like luxury travelers, other consumers realize that not only is time money, but money is time. And we’re willing to spend our money on time.”

The opportunities

1. Make your pitch.
Happier and more productive employees. Willard, author of The NEXT Sustainability Wave: Building Boardroom Buy-In estimated that productively – which went up 10.50% amongst companies that adopted sustainability practices – is the biggest financial benefit of “going green” and ultimately creating a more socially vibrant workplace (think: the three “pillars” of sustainability).

2. Then, it’s about values.
“People want to work for companies that have strong values and care about sustainability,” says Madeline Turnock, vice president of Hill & Knowlton, a public-relations consultancy in Portland, Oregon.

3. Win through showing simple actions, never words.
It can start with something as simple as paper and move towards energy use, carpooling and retrofitting.

Paper
Forest Ethics estimated that largely due to deforestation, junk mail manufacturing creates as much greenhouse gas emissions annually as 3.7 million cars. Corporations and SMEs, I’m betting, are getting their fair share of junk mail every day. So, the EcoEco tireless creatives behind the Red Dot Campaign point us in the right direction and we at Green Printer use recycled paper exclusively (with the funky Eco-Calculator, of course) and print with dry offset printing – the eco-friendly choice.

Carpooling
Make it fun – sign up the dry humoured Accountant and mile-a-minue Marketing Manager in a car. You can also go more organized and still be green(er) with potentially less conflict by signing on to Car Share or Zip Cars.

Retrofitting, insulation, smart energy controls and more
Home ideas fit for the office – and WWF’s the Good Life measures it in terms of actual kilograms per year of greenhouse gases reduced.

Environmental action teams
Action teams that are actually fun to be a part of (think: setting up a cool “water cooler” spot where staff can have fun raiding the company’s locally sourced and healthy “junk food” rack), letter writing parties to get green laws legislated and even “change through challenge” as pointed out by Marilyn Gardner of the Christian Science Monitor on the always sharp Vancouver Green Business Journal.

Worth quoting in the article is Patricia Bjerrisgaard, a senior director at Business Objects, a software firm in Vancouver, British Columbia, who suggests that people also want to work for companies that ask for their green ideas.

“Anytime employees make a suggestion and vote on it, and the company acts on it, that’s really powerful in terms of building pride in the workplace”.

 
 

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