Consumers today have evolved into a new breed – one that is more socially conscious and environmentally friendly. These smart, savvy shoppers do their homework. They know which companies emit pollutants, which dropped their employee benefit package and which use ingredients that are not fair trade or are genetically engineered. These consumers also make up the fastest growing market in the country, spending an estimated $104 billion on green products and services in 2008 despite the failing economy.
That’s why greening your business is all the rage these days. If you’re a non-green business leader, how can you get in on the action? Here’s a tip: A little investment goes a long way.
Investing in green marketing is one of the most cost effective things you can do to start greening your business. Green marketing is all about taking the impact out of traditional marketing practices. Take that principle and apply it to your current marketing practices. Use social media tools to promote your business. Green up your website, your packaging materials, even your business cards. If you’ve found GreenMarketingTV.com, you are already off to a good start as there are many great tips and articles on many different aspects of green business and marketing found throughout the site.
Invest in Green Resources
Investing in green resources is more than just purchasing recycled paper, though that is a good way to start. These days, almost anything can be recycled or composted, so implementing a comprehensive recycling program helps preserve resources of many different kinds.
Other ways to invest in green resources include purchasing renewable energy or wind credits, installing Energy Star appliances in break rooms and cafeterias and using eco-conscious options for employee travel.
Invest in Your Employees
Treat your employees as you would treat your own family. Pay them a fair living wage. Ensure that they have adequate health care and child care options available. Install an on-site workout room or fitness center and encourage healthy living. Facilitate an enjoyable work atmosphere. Show employees exactly how you’re greening the company and educate them on how to implement energy saving activities into their own lives. Here is where karma comes in – happy employees are more productive employees.
Invest in Your Community
Philanthropy is the best way to send the message that you want to be a good corporate citizen. Think of the community where your business is located as your home, and treat it as such. Invest in local organizations by making grants, donating products and services or offering small business loans. Start an employee giving campaign and/or matching contribution program. Encourage your employees to get involved in local volunteer programs and support them in their efforts.
Invest with a Social Conscience
Where possible, make an effort to green your investments. Avoid companies with a track record of dumping on people or the environment and instead invest in socially conscious companies (like the one you are trying to be) and renewable energy resources. Be sure to offer a socially conscious option, such as Calvert, in your 401(k) or other benefits package.
The important thing to keep in mind is that going green takes time. These strategies may not make an immediate impact, save you money or change the reputation of your business overnight, but over time, they will come to benefit both your company and the environment.
Image Credit: Melissa Renee, Wagner Christian