Green Business Bureau Blog
Green Business Practice Beget Greenbacks
In these tough economic times, who would not want to save money? Contrary to popular belief, going green does not necessarily involve spending more and can often, help save money for businesses.
Focusing on improving the triple bottom line (People, Planet & Profit) could directly contribute to improving your financial bottom line. University of Massachusetts professor Alan Robinson says, “by re-designing processes – reducing mistakes, doing things right the first time – companies could provide better products and services and cut their costs”.
He gives the example of Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc., a factory of more than 3,000 workers who make roughly 800 automobiles a day, has pursued green initiatives since its launch 20 years ago. With employees at every level of the plant looking for ways to save energy, reduce waste and generally make processes more efficient, one measure of its success is a 14% reduction in electricity consumption on a per-car basis since 2000. An even bigger achievement: It has not shipped any waste to a landfill since May 2004. It has achieved this by redesigning numerous plant processes, thus producing less waste and requiring less material as inputs. This means involving people all along the production chain including workers and suppliers.
Another worry these days is about businesses remaining ‘going concerns’ (as the auditors like to put it). Long term players always look at the goal of ‘sustainability’ as opposed to short term ‘profitability’. Sustainability can only be achieved through long term reduction of costs. This may have to be done by incurring more costs initially. That is how the goals of quality over quantity and Kaizen (continuous improvement) were also achieved. The businesses surviving in the long term will be businesses that chose not to ignore the environmental impact of their operations. The standard mantra of ‘Reduce, Re-use and Recycle’ taught in schools can be equally applied to businesses to achieve long term improvement of the triple bottom line, including the financial bottom line.
Businesses should look at ways to reduce consumption – a natural reaction in these days of cost cutting. They need to take a fresh look at their processes – and re-engineer them to produce similar or better products while reducing input costs.
A reduction in consumption also leads to a reduction in waste. This will lead to lower cost of handling and disposal of waste. A fresh look might trigger a way to re-use the waste of one process in another process. That eliminates the waste altogether.
Any waste that cannot be re-used should be recycled. There are plenty of easy ways to recycle and the government is giving new incentives all the time to recycle.
Going green is linked to most of the management techniques evolved over the course of time. It involves Business Process Re-engineering, Kaizen, Supply Chain Management and Corporate Social Responsibility. It involves a lot of effort and an initial investment, but pays off handsomely in the long run. The biggest payoff is sustainability / going-concern / long term stability. It is very similar to being an investor in the stock market as opposed to being a speculator. If you are truly committed to your business, Green is the way to go.