Don’t Fear Sustainability, Celebrate It
1) It’s Only About Being Green
While “being green” is the most recognizable component of sustainability, it is not the entire focus. Sustainable practices have the benefit of minimizing environmental impact in mind, but they are also designed with the bottom line as a primary focus by cutting costs and increasing profits. To say that sustainability is solely concerned with the environment is incorrect. It is more accurate to say that environmentally sound practices and cost saving measures are intricately entwined and they gain momentum symbiotically. It is difficult to have one without the other.
2) It Is Expensive
Perhaps the most commonly held belief about sustainability, is that it is expensive to put into practice. This largely depends on the area in which a business desires to be sustainable. Implementing sustainable practices might be as simple as finding a way of adjusting lighting, heating, and air conditioning. It could also be the process of revising the way items are manufactured. Some companies have been able to introduce an additional revenue stream by recycling excess materials. Depending on the vision and goals of the business, the practices of sustainability can be as varied as the companies that implement them.
It should be noted here that a sustainability consultant should be in every small businesses figurative Rolladex. A knowledgeable consultant can minimize expenses, streamline processes, and prioritize cost saving measures. Sustainability consultants can offer a variety of services, ranging from air and water balancing to custom component 3D modeling, each option carries the potential for savings and lower overall costs. Keep in mind, that even small changes can make a visible difference.
3) There Is No Immediate Return
A common concern businesses have is that the return for implementing sustainable practices, is not immediate. This is not necessarily the case; many sustainable changes involve decreased energy use and will be readily apparent in the electric and gas bills for the month following the implementation. Additionally, a business that is visibly investing in sustainability will receive positive attention and brand recognition. That’s right, sustainability is good for marketing!
Ray Anderson, founder and chairman of Interface Inc, a textile manufacturer, says of the reality of sustainability for his company, “Sustainability has given my company a competitive edge in more ways than one…It has proven to be the most powerful marketplace differentiator I have known in my long career…It has rewarded us with more positive visibility and goodwill among our customers than the slickest, most expensive advertising or marketing campaign could possibly have generated. And a strong environmental ethic has no equal for attracting and motivating good people, galvanizing them around a shared higher purpose, and giving them a powerful reason to join and to stay.”
The value in positive PR, brand recognition, lower costs, and decreased environmental impact cannot be overstated. Customers notice and appreciate the effort to be environmentally and economically sustainable, and a new customer base is formed with those who purposefully search out businesses that are concerned with sustainability. Talented employees are attracted to a business that cares about the bigger picture, and this in turn encourages them to care about the business. Even simple changes can prove to be enormously beneficial, and can improve efficiency, both for the short and long term.
4) It Is Difficult and Time-Consuming
Another practical concern for small businesses is that any changes required to be sustainable are difficult or require an excessive amount of time to implement. Let us put you at ease, sustainability does not have to be difficult nor time-consuming to implement. It can be as simple as adjusting how the heating and air conditioning take effect; or as involved as testing and reformatting of systems used, but again, a good sustainability consultant can alleviate both of these concerns, allowing you to marshall your energies towards running your business.
We understand that each business is unique, and sustainability needs will differ from business to business, but sustainability is something to be embraced and celebrated, not feared.
For a free on-site assessment, please feel free to contact us at 612.237.8647 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have partnered with several fantastic companies around the Greater Twin Cities area and it would be our pleasure to serve you as well.