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Importance of Going Green: Why Your Business Should Become Environmentally Conscious

April 16, 2021
Written by Nextdoor Editorial Team
April 16, 2021 | Written by Nextdoor Editorial Team

Over the past few decades, more companies have strived to become environmentally conscious and reduce their environmental impact. This movement—known as “going green”—involves so much more than separating paper from plastic. It’s about reducing a business’s carbon footprint, energy-efficient or carbon-neutral appliances, and eliminating wasteful practices.In many ways, local businesses can have a significant impact on the health of their community’s environment. 

But why should your business be more environmentally conscious?

Going green and focusing on your sustainability efforts are not only good for the planet they’re good for  your business. According to a recent Nielsen study, 81% of consumers believe it’s important for businesses to implement programs and practices that help improve the environment and as many as three in four Nextdoor neighbors think brands should be doing more to address environmental issues. 

That said, the benefits extend far beyond appealing to consumers. Keep reading to discover the importance of going green and how to make your business more eco-friendly

 

How Businesses Affect the Environment

The effects of climate change are being felt across the world. Here in the U.S., wildfires in California, hurricanes along the East Coast, and freezing temperatures in the midwest are being attributed to carbon emissions’ impact on the atmosphere. 

The increase in these natural disasters has prompted many to use their voice, as well as their wallets, to demand businesses do their part to reduce carbon emissions, follow more green initiatives, and focus on improving their sustainability efforts. 

One study found that 90% of shoppers will switch brands if it means supporting a more eco-friendly company. Millennials, who make up about $1 trillion in consumer spending, are especially socially conscious when it comes to the products they buy and the businesses they support. They understand that where they choose to spend their money can help create a more sustainable future.

That’s why even larger corporations are taking steps to become more environmentally conscious. Some of these corporations include:

  • Disney – The company known around the world has implemented a zero greenhouse gas emissions policy for all of its facilities. They’ve reduced their electrical consumption, their water consumption, and are working to make their product manufacturing and distribution more eco-friendly. 

  • Hewlett-Packard – This tech giant has created a comprehensive recycling program to ensure their waste materials don’t end up in landfills.

  • Starbucks – Beyond Starbucks’ decision to eliminate plastic straws from its facilities, the company is incorporating energy-efficient lighting, low-flow water valves, and regulating air conditioning temperatures at shops across the country. 

Smaller businesses don’t need to put forth a large upfront investment to match the environmental sustainability efforts of large corporations. As we’ll discuss, there are plenty of initiatives small businesses can promote to be more sustainable.

Here are four reasons why businesses should look to make eco-friendly changes.

What Are the Benefits of Being Eco-Friendly?

#1 Align with Environmentally Conscious Customers’ Ethics 

By implementing eco-friendly practices, your business will appeal to the majority of shoppers who say they are willing to spend more money if it means receiving environmentally friendly products or services. In fact, a poll of 3,500 North American shoppers found that 69% were willing to pay premium prices for recycled products.

This trend is also seen in real estate. To keep their carbon footprints low, millennial and Gen Z homebuyers are looking for green housing. This means homes that offer: 

  • Energy efficient appliances, including dishwashers, refrigerators, and HVAC units 
  • Energy efficient lighting 
  • Sufficient insulation 
  • Solar panels 
  • Xeriscaping (landscaping that requires little to no irrigation)
  • Energy efficient windows 
  • Locally sourced, sustainable building materials 
  • Eco-friendly paints 

While green housing standards can raise the cost of a house, 74% of homebuyers are willing to spend more for these sustainable features. 

Understanding these consumer requests not only means more satisfied clients, but also a more dedicated community of clients who care about your company’s mission.

#2 Foster Productivity among Employees 

Customers aren’t the only ones who want the businesses they support to become more environmentally conscious. Employees are also choosing to work for businesses who are actively working to reduce their carbon emissions. 

In fact, more than half of all workers state that contributing to the health of the planet is an essential element of their ideal job

By working for businesses who are making moves towards sustainability , employees are able to increase the positive impact they have on the environment. This gives their job even greater importance. 

When employees feel passionate about the work they’re doing, it shows. A study found that companies that promote environmental consciousness and implement sustainable practices have 55% better morale among staff members, as well as 38% better employee loyalty.

#3 Save Your Business Money

One of the most effective ways to reduce your business’s carbon footprint is to introduce energy efficient equipment into your work space. 

Research shows that 35% of small businesses name energy costs as one of their top business expenses. But with energy-efficient products constantly being developed, lowering these costs is possible. 

Consider taking the following steps to make your business more energy efficient: 

  • Replace incandescent lights with LEDs – LED light bulbs not only use less energy, but they also last longer than incandescent bulbs. 

  • Invest in an energy efficient HVAC system – If your HVAC system is over ten years old, installing a newer model can save you over 20% on your cooling costs.

  • Install energy efficient dishwashers and refrigerators – Energy efficient appliances are particularly beneficial to restaurants and cafes who rely on them to store produce, wash dishes and utensils, and cook food. 

  • Plug electronics into smart power strips – Smart power strips stop electronics from drawing additional energy once they’ve been turned off. By conserving energy, you can bring your business’s energy bill down. 

Although the upfront costs to make these changes can be higher, the amount of money you’ll save can be part of your long-term investment strategy. 

#4 Help Protect the Community You Serve 

Climate change affects everyone, including the community you serve. By becoming more environmentally conscious, your business not only helps mitigate climate change on a global scale, but also on a local one.

Your eco-friendly efforts directly impact the neighbors your business relies on, so you can help give them less polluted air, cleaner water, and a more sustainable future. 

For example, Nauticus, a leading maritime and science discovery center in Norfolk, Virginia, held a virtual clean up day. Those who recorded themselves cleaning up parks, the beach, or their local community were rewarded with reduced admission rates. Not only does this event inspire volunteers to continue to beautify their community, but it helps protect their local environment. 

Any small business can join these efforts by planning their own donation drive or community clean up and offering volunteers discounts on products or services.

Going Green Never Looked So Good 

By becoming more environmentally conscious, your business can help the planet, attract more customers, and inspire employees to be more productive. Most importantly though, becoming eco-friendly means you can provide your community more than just a product or service. You can provide them with a sustainable future. 

To promote your environmentally conscious practices to your local community, post about your efforts on Nextdoor. It’s the best way for your neighbors to learn about your unique business, stay up-to-date with special promotions and events, and even recommend your business to other locals. 

Plus, signing up and creating your personalized Business Page is completely free. 

Join Nextdoor and start engaging with your local community members today. Together, you can help create a more eco-friendly neighborhood for generations to come. 

 

Sources: 

Nielsen. Global Consumers Seek Companies That Care About Environmental Issues. https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2018/global-consumers-seek-companies-that-care-about-environmental-issues/

Huff Post. 7 Research-Backed Ways Your Business Will Benefit by Being More Socially Responsible. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/7-researchbacked-ways-you_b_7665214 

Smart Cities Dive. 9 Companies with Great Environmental Initiatives. https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/ex/sustainablecitiescollective/9-companies-great-environmental-initiatives/1193165/ 

Barron’s. Two-Thirds of North Americans Prefer Eco-Friendly Brands, Study Finds. https://www.barrons.com/articles/two-thirds-of-north-americans-prefer-eco-friendly-brands-study-finds-51578661728 

Effective Agents. A Greener Future: Eco-Friendly Real Estate. https://www.effectiveagents.com/a-greener-future-eco-friendly-real-estate/

IMS. Real Estate is Going Green. https://resources.investormanagementservices.com/real-estate-going-green/

NFIB. Energy. https://www.nfib.com/advocacy/energy/ 

Electric Choice. 10 of the Biggest Energy Expenses for Small Businesses. https://www.electricchoice.com/blog/biggest-energy-expenses-for-small-businesses/

Green Biz. Prioritizing the planet: 11 ways small businesses can become more eco-friendly. https://www.greenbiz.com/article/prioritizing-planet-11-ways-small-businesses-can-become-more-eco-friendly

The Balance Small Business. Green Ideas for Making Your Business Environmentally Sustainable. https://www.thebalancesmb.com/greening-your-business-2948100

Green Business Bureau. Financial Benefits of an Eco-Friendly Business. https://greenbusinessbureau.com/blog/financial-benefits-of-an-eco-friendly-business/

Clean Water Action. The Problem - Our Throw Away Lifestyle. https://www.cleanwateraction.org/features/problem-our-throwaway-lifestyle


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