Why be green minded?
Being green minded can help:
save your business money by reducing waste of all kinds;
differentiate you from your competition;
improve recruitment and retention;
help you win contracts and grants, and;
prepare you for changing government regulation
Most importantly, your organisation can make a real difference to the impact we are having on our planet, and carry out business in a responsible manner that works on a human scale.
Saving resources and money
Being green minded can make a big difference to your bottom line. Saving resources is an efficient way to do business, and can save a significant amount of money. With rising energy costs, being resource efficient is becoming more important and can be the quickest way to save money. UK small and medium businesses (SMEs) waste around £1 billion worth of energy each year, and could save around £1,00 per employee a year through basic energy efficiency (Carbon Trust and NetRegs)
The environment, climate change and society
The effect we have on the degradation of the environment, and on pollution which causes climate change, has been well documented, with more people realising we have to act to protect our environment and the next generation who have to live in the environment we pass on to them. We all live in our environment, so it is not a separate issue from social responsibility. The effects of climate change and other environmental degradation will affect us all, with the most vulnerable in society being hit the hardest, often as a result of the actions of those of us who do have a choice about the way we live our lives and conduct business. Being green minded will help a business contribute to alleviating the real threats that affect us all if we do not reconsider our polluting lifestyles.
Enable your brand to stand out
External verification of your environmental credentials will make you stand out in a crowded market, at a time where consumers are becoming more well-informed about what they spend their money on. Many people are concerned about environmental issues, and would choose a product based on the company's attitude to coporate social responsibility.
Recruitment and retention
Likewise, good quality professionals are often drawn to work for companies who care about the environment and society. In a survey of graduates by BT in 2007, nearly half thought corporate social responsibility should be compulsary, and more than a third said that working for a caring and responsible employer was more important than the salary they earned. Improving the performance of a company in this area will also improve staff morale, and performance.
The government and the EU are introducing more regulation related to carbon emissions and environmental pollution. The climate change levy is already added to commercial electricity bills, with the option for energy intensive business users to receive an 65 per cent discount from the Climate Change Levy, in return for meeting energy efficiency or carbon saving targets. Another example is the recent CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme for organisations whose total half-hourly metered electricity use is greater than 6,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2008. If your organisation, including any parent company and its subsidiaries, spends more than £500,000 a year in the UK on electricity, you are likely to be included in the scheme. Monitoring and reporting will be required from October 2009. Is your business effected? Soon, more and more businesses will have to react to legislation such as the 2008 Climate Change Act, and fast.
Sustainability, corporate responsibility, CSR...
These phrases have similar but different meanings. For businesses and organisations, being green minded means working to incorporate responsibility for the environment and society, today and in the future, into every day working practices. Being green minded need not be a chore - it should be integral to the effective running of a business or organisation, and can be seen as a process of continual improvement. Follow this link for further definitions.