Have a business? An increasing number of your customers are getting worried about the planet – and rightly so; our home is a mess.
During this year, more of your clients will be looking for more earth friendly goods and turning to businesses that show a commitment to the environment.
The “green” wave is nothing new – it’s been a long time building and it is turning into a tsunami. Your customers have increased access to information courtesy of the Internet. Just about any product you sell they can research and take apart, component by component, ingredient by ingredient.
Are you greening your business? If not, it’s something that you really need to seriously consider; not just for the good of the planet, but for economic reasons; even more so during these financially challenging times.
The green consumer of today isn’t a “feral hippie”, they are ordinary people looking to try to make some changes in their life to be more in harmony with the planet. It’s a huge challenge for them because business and society generally speaking really isn’t geared to an environmentally friendly lifestyle. Where they can see an opportunity to alleviate their consumption related guilt without too much effort, they are there. Will you be there for them or will your competitors?
Even if the changes you make in your business in the short term are only small, your customers will reward you for it. Here’s some simple things you can do:
- Change all your lighting to LED‘s or Compact Fluorescent Lamps.
- Offset some of your electricity use with green tags or switch to green electricity
- Get rid of plastic bags or use earth friendly plastic bags
- Use more environmentally friendly cleaning products
- Go on a paper reduction diet
- Use earth friendly packing materials
- Utilize used cardboard boxes
- Address standby power consumption issues
- Sponsor a local environmental group
- Reuse, recycle and compost wherever you can, including electronic waste.
- Allow your customers to order your goods online from your company web site.
- Green business meetings and seminars with online conferencing
- Set up a telecommuting initiative for your staff
- Implement green computer use practices
- Source more of your products or ingredients through fair trade certified suppliers
There’s so many things you can do relatively cheaply and some will even save your business money!
All these small actions not only help contribute to slowing down the pace of environmental destruction; they will also help increase your sales if you promote what you are doing to your customers. Have a page on your web site about your environmental commitment; the things you are doing now and what you have planned. The positive feedback you’ll receive will astound you – not only from current clients, but you’ll also be opening yourself up to a whole new customer base.
If you do head down this path, kudos to you! But a word of warning: a very important point to remember is not to over-hype or make false statements about your green efforts. This is for two reasons:
a) People will find out and any kudos you build up will disappear
b) The process of misleading people about business environmental practices is called “greenwashing“. By greenwashing, you’ll be undermining the efforts of many other eco-savvy businesses. If consumers lose faith in “green” business, that will directly affect the planet.
Greening your business isn’t just a warm and fuzzy short term strategy – it’s just plain good business if you’re in it for the long term. After all, without a planet in a reasonable enough condition to sustain us, there will be no trade…anywhere.