According to AT Kearny, companies with strong commitments to sustainability will perform better than those that do not, especially after this recession. The evidence and market research in that report showed that, in 16 out of 18 industries, companies that have a consistent commitment to sustainability in their products and operations have cost advantages over their competitors and have a high probability to come out better than their competitors.
We at SIS International have compiled several PRACTICAL considerations on how to go green. This list is grounded in the notion that many companies are currently in dire financial conditions, and can most effectively concentrate on cost-effective efforts requiring more procedure-building than cash outflows. Here’s a practical guide for managers as they seek to reduce both costs and greenhouse emissions.
Companies like BP and UBS have benfitted not only from cost benefits from weaving in Green into their efficient processes, but they also have generated wide support among thousands of employees that become motivated to work harder to become more efficient.
How to benefit from being green during a recession
As energy costs skyrocketed in June 2008, SIS International installed Carbon Fluorescent light bulbs in its offices in New York City. None of the employees could tell the difference between the new and old lightbulbs, as the new lightbulbs worked very well. More importantly, SIS International realized double digit average monthly energy savings.
Secondly, companies can buy and use only recycled paper. Many employees print out documents that contain mistakes like a mistaken page break or irrelevant papers during a print run. These employees can create a pile next to their printer with which they can reuse the reverse side of the page. This carries cost benefits for companies that seek to limit their operation costs. Simultaneously, they can create a competition among employees and divisions to discard less paper.
Creating competition among departments has been extremely effective for BP which has been able to boost efficiency through creating personal accountability and interdepartmental competition. Companies can also present deliverables online, instead of on paper. Employees can add a reminder in their emails to prevent their recipients from printing emails. If companies have old printers and wish to replace it, they can consider “Energy Saver” printers that can provide longterm cost advantages.
Companies with newspaper subscriptions can order online newspapers in the office. For added efficiency, employees can get “email alerts” that are delivered to their email to absorb information without excessive wastage of paper.
Companies can also get rid of paper cups, plastic plates, knives and napkins in their kitchens. They can do so by investing in mugs. Less trash may be generated, saving expenditures on these utensils, trash bags and your cleaning staff.
Avoiding Water Bottles
Installing a water dispenser or fountain, instead of bottled water can help to lower the amount of bottles consumed, which are created through petroleum and greenhouse emissions.
Policies can be introduced that encourage employees to unplug devices from the wall (which on average consumes 3-5% of total energy consumption even if you are not using the device). Furthermore, they can shut down their computers over night and over the weekend, instead of using “Standby” settings which still consumes energy.
During the summer, companies benefit when they close their blinds instead of putting their air conditioning on full blast.
Business travel is not only one of the largest expenses that companies face, but it is also one of the largest contributors to Green House Gases. Companies can gain competitive advantages and “Green advantages” by reducing travel frequency and carbon-consuming activities in traveling.
There can be many cost advantages here, but let’s focus on the carbon impact. By flying direct, companies can limit their carbon footprint. They can also schedule trips efficiently, by scheduling trips with many destinations in one large trip to accomplish all travel requirements.
Project management and operations can benefit from Skype, GoToMeeting or Cisco TelePresence, which can reduce the need for face-to-face communication. Travelers can lug less baggage and stay in Green hotels and use fewer towels.
Companies can make a quick list of Green airlines and rental cars. Green airlines like Virgin Airways happen to simultaneously offer cost-effective airfares. Employees can use public transportation and car services, such as taking the train from Heathrow to London Paddington Station. Companies can also make a short list of Green rental car agencies, which can provide cost advantages in fuel consumption.
Employees in cities can benefit by taking public transportation. Aside from the environmental benefits, employees can save more money by not having to garage their cars, spending idle time in stressful traffic and have a lower risk of an accident in getting to work. Companies are increasingly finding the importance of their employees saving their money in 401Ks, rather than spending it on oil, car loans and other expenses.
Companies not located in an urban area can encourage carpooling. This has made spillover benefits such as increasing the bonding among your employees and knowledge sharing outside of company operating hours.
Companies with large campuses can consider investing in Segways or tricycles (some automotive manufacturers have incorporated these into their plans). Zipcar can also provide benefits to the corporation.
The primary objective of marketing is to provide messaging to your stakeholders. But it is not mutually exclusive to also consider greening your marketing. Companies can limit how much paper put into direct mailers, as many consumers will automatically through these away. Instead companies can design “smart” direct mail that is less likely to be discarded. Simultaneously, they can create more eco friendly promotional items. Instead of lower utility items, companies can invest in flash memory drives with their logos on it. This lowers the probability that these materials will be thrown away and also increases the amount of time your stakeholders bond with your brand and promotional item.