Going green isn’t as expensive as it used to be—in fact, it’s profitable.
Sustainable initiatives often increase short-term costs in exchange for long-term savings, which can make it more difficult for small- and medium-size companies to implement big changes. But that doesn’t mean a sustainability story is outside your company’s grasp. A growing number of companies are showing that the investment is worthwhile not just for publicity value, but beneficial to the balance sheet.
The easiest solution to the sustainability puzzle is to not do too much at once. Experience has shown that gradual transitions may be more effective in the long run than extreme green makeovers. Conservation and recycling, for example, cost comparatively little. If you can’t make major changes right away, look for ways to make regular upgrades. Infrastructure improvements can be budgeted over time as resources permit.
Inefficiencies in your internal processes or supply chains are another good place to start, because even small changes can make a big difference. Are you trucking components halfway across the country that you can get from sources closer to your facilities? Can you modify packaging to use fewer raw materials? Are you generating a waste product that could be recycled or used for something else? Encourage suggestions from your employees to get the ball rolling.
Another advantage enjoyed by today’s corporate world is the growing maturity of the green movement, which has recognized and adapted to more business realities. Many sustainable products and services are now structured to deliver immediate savings or to pay for themselves in 3–5 years. Others with longer payback times are creating competitive financing deals. Several solar energy companies, for example, now have leasing programs that offer immediate savings on your energy bill even with the costs of installation, maintenance, and a monthly fee factored in.
Watch for our next parathink briefing on the expanding role of sustainability, to be released next week! You’ll find a download link on the blog, or you can sign up now to get a copy sent directly to your inbox as soon as it’s available.
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