Why Being Environmentally Responsible Can Have Hidden Benefits for Companies
Almost all companies want to “go green” in their day-to-day operations, but many feel unable to for cost reasons. When they look at the overheads associated with renewable electricity or auditing suppliers to choose low carbon partners, being responsible can suddenly seem much more difficult.
However, this is often a false impression. Actually, being environmentally responsible can have several hidden advantages which more than balance its cost. Let’s explore in more detail why this is the case.
Knowing the problem: Why businesses need to go green
The scale of the problem is not in doubt. UK businesses consume an average of 3.6 tons of paper per year, 480,000 cubic metres of water and 1,175,000 kWh of electricity.
That equates to around 40 trees, 2.4 million barrels of water, and enough power to light 65 houses for a whole year. That’s a significant drawdown on the world’s resources, even before we factor in greenhouse gas emissions.
So before we get into the financial benefits, it’s important to note the ecological upside. We need to consume less, regardless of cost, and businesses have to play a part.
Recycling and reuse can be money earners and boost creativity
However, there’s definitely a financial benefit from consuming less. For one thing, if you learn how to use less paper, less water, and less electricity, you won’t have to pay as much for these resources.
So it makes sense to invest in smart lighting systems which sense when staff require them, or to start using refillable printer cartridges on a daily basis.
Instituting efficient recycling systems and investing in energy efficient offices or factory floors won’t seem like a cost when your overheads start to come down.
Moreover, as staff learn how to do more with less, they will develop more efficient ways of working. Constraints can be a stimulus to creativity, whatever sector you operate in.
You can find more information about all these issues over here at Kaiser+Kraft.
How much can companies save by becoming environmentally responsible?
All of this makes sense, yet companies often still hold back from carrying out comprehensive environmental audits. Part of the reason may be that they simply don’t understand the savings involved.
For example, companies which overhaul their heating and lighting systems via energy efficient bulbs, smart systems and insulation, see an average saving of 30%. As these are major costs for larger premises, this is a huge bonus.
Savings for becoming water efficient and minimising paper usage are almost as impressive, with reductions of 15-20% commonly found.
There are plenty of spin-offs from a sustainability policy
It’s not all about overheads. We’ve mentioned that reducing resource usage can motivate staff to change their work methods. But that’s not the only virtuous knock-on effect of going green.
Sustainable companies also enjoy a PR boost thanks to their improved brand image. As people become more concerned about the environment, businesses which fail to show their ecological credentials won’t prosper.
Encouraging cycling and paid leave for environmental volunteering can benefit staff, in terms of health and happiness. And being part of a sustainable business can also motivate staff to work harder.
So there’s plenty of evidence that going green is a net benefit for companies. Even though at first glance the costs can seem prohibitive, this isn’t the whole story. By taking a wider perspective, businesses can boost profits and help the environment at the same time.