October 4, 2013
When companies begin making a concerted effort to go green in their offices, they do so for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the move reflects the socially conscious attitude of one executive - other times, it comes in response to employees who clamor for environmentally friendly changes.
Now, companies are discovering a third motivation for going green. It doesn't just satisfy workers internally who care about the environment - it also helps companies improve their reputations among the general public. Simply put, people are more willing to do business with a company that's socially responsible.
According to Forbes, there's recent survey data to support this general principle. The news source reported on the 2012 Goodpurpose study from Edelman, which found that nearly half of global consumers make at least one purchase a month from a brand that supports a good cause. This rate of social consciousness was up 47 percent from 2010.
The Edelman survey also found that 72 percent of consumers say they're more likely to recommend a brand that supports a good cause than one that doesn't - that figure is up 39 percent since 2008 - and 71 percent are even willing to help such a brand promote its goods and services. That number reflects a 34 percent increase.
A need for transparency
Mitch Hedlund, founder of Recycle Across America, Eco-Profiles.org and the Environmental Advancement Foundation, says that this data makes a clear statement. When companies go green, they shouldn't keep it a secret internally - they should market that mission statement to the world. It will help their standing among consumers across the world.
"All of a sudden, when companies are more transparent, and that information becomes easily available and in one consistent format, consumers can make smarter decisions about which brands and products to support," Hedlund told Forbes. "And, subsequently, that puts a lot of pressure on environmentally inactive corporations and businesses to make a change. It makes going green competitive."
Tricks of the trade
According to the Houston Chronicle, there are several surefire strategies for companies who seek to make their operations a little greener. The most obvious one is to recycle instead of throwing away excess trash, but there are more. Businesses should also seek to implement solutions that will lower energy costs when powering their facilities and use more eco-friendly decorations to adorn their offices. They can also use thermal energy storage as a way to increase flexibility in their energy use.
For those who sell recyclable products, such as paper, an emphasis on the environment is especially important. Office Depot, for one, suggests selling recycled paper in order to enhance a business' reputation as a friend of Mother Earth.