Green Business Bureau green commitment
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.
The benefits of going green are motivated by a combination of personal and business rewards. Individuals realize that going green usually starts as a small, personal commitment to save the planet. The corporate commitment begins with a desire to save the planet, green the work environment and boost morale. Whether the green initiative is personal or business-based, what starts as a small effort is quickly adopted by others in the home or workplace and escalates to a broader, more involved process.
The commitment to go green is accompanied by a gratifying sense of unity and accomplishment. The power of this positive commitment cannot be underestimated. It spreads from house to house and from business to business. Now that the federal government has embraced the effort and supported it with job creation, financial incentives and multiple green initiatives, the sky seems the limit for the green movement.
Common Benefits of Going Green
The most obvious benefits of going green are:
- Save the Earth – One of the primary reasons to go green is the benefit to the planet and to the world in which our offspring will live. The environment has been abused for so long that we tend to think it more resilient than it is.
- Health Benefits – The use of green products and organic foods reaps health benefits for everyone. It is never too late to start a healthy green transition. Prepare the young to carry on the effort so that it becomes a way of life.
- Good for The Economy – Despite the efforts of those that would resist change, the current recession has provided a great opportunity to add jobs as well as capitalize on the many government initiatives that will reduce emissions and energy levels. The Obama Administration and the EPA are serious about the green movement and about addressing climate change.
- Reduce Reliance on Foreign Oil – The improvements and reduction in energy use results in more energy independence. In these economic times, we should be spending money at home not abroad.
- The Right Thing – Once businesses and individuals start their own green efforts, it becomes a passion. Individuals and businesses find ways to improve efforts like recycling, reduction in energy use, emission reduction and reduction in the use of products like aerosols. When entities get involved in the green effort, they inevitably wonder what took so long. Going green looks and feels right, plain and simple.
Businesses Coming On Board
The world of business is finding additional benefits to support their green initiatives.
- Fewer Sick Days – Some companies report that the healthier workplace has reduced sick days by as much as 20%. Consistent attendance improves productivity.
- Customers Support Going Green – Businesses are also discovering that customers appreciate and support companies that go green. The green market product share increases every year.
- Improve The Bottom Line – The 2009 stimulus plan has underscored the government’s commitment to going green with hefty tax incentives. The government has also encouraged the development of new green companies, especially in the development of alternative energy sources. The use of electric vehicles, renewable energy and many other green programs are rewarded with healthy tax credits.
Today’s business climate wants healthy work places and solid bottom lines that assure job security. The green movement has so many positive effects on individuals and businesses. Isn’t it time for you and your businesses to expand your green commitment?