Is Big Business Green?

A greener shade of business – you’d be surprised which businesses are getting ethical
Multinational corporations have a pretty bad reputation, and often for good reasons, but it’s only right to give credit where credit’s due, and look at some of the big companies that have taken the initiative of treading a greener path…
It might seem like a kind of indulgence almost, the sort of thing you do when you have enough money going spare. But going green both can help save the environment, and help save you money. When you’re saving energy and recycling, you’re using fewer resources and those all need paying for someplace.

That’s not to mention the increased revenue you will get from customers who are into green issues and want to use ethical companies, as well as the excellent staff you will gain who know you care about the same things as them. Many of the best potential employees have standards when it comes to safeguarding our environment. A happy customer base and happy employees makes for a happy boss.
Perhaps a read of these examples of big companies who are mending their ways will help you consider making your business greener.

  1. McDonald’s. Really, they’re working with PETA, who only a few years ago would be boycotting them for what they were doing to the rainforest. Now everything is ethically sourced and managed.
  2. Starbucks. A favourite target for fired up anarchists to smash and a symbol of globalisation, but they’re leading the way in treating the communities they get their beans from well, from fair trade to environmental help. They recycle a huge amount too. Not so nasty now.
  3. Wal-Mart. You think I’m joking, and that this is getting silly, but hear this – Wal-Mart are aiming to make all there stores 100% sustainably powered. Now what’s funny?
  4. Coca-cola. Sometime diverters of important water systems for local supply, now have a detailed and systematic approach to sustainability that includes packaging, environmental stewardship and looking after climate and energy use.
  5. General Electric. Cleaning up their act by cleaning up their own mess. Yes, they had a terrible spill which has impacted on the environment, but they are doing their best to fix it, and in the meantime are promoting solar panel use. Energy companies would do well to follow suit as this is a climbing market.

If these sometime villains of companies can turn their reputation and practice around so dramatically, your smaller business should have no struggle in accommodating your responsibility to the environment. As simple a start as not leaving lights on overnight, or beginning a recycling programme can be a great beginning to more responsible business practice. The clients and employees will be as pleased as you are with the change and profits may well come alongside.
Green doesn’t have to cost, and if saving the earth can save you money then what is stopping you? It’s not coincidental that efficiency is a keyword for both disciplines. Less waste can mean fewer losses, and with sustainable solutions comes a more long-term business model. It is good for health, company morale, and loyalty.
As often in business a short term investment can pay dividends, such as better insulation, more efficient equipment or initiatives towards employees car-sharing or driving hybrid vehicles. Refilling rather than replacing ink cartridges is another way to start small towards a bigger goal. A healthier workplace can come along with greener practices, such as organic ethically sourced foods and low impact cleaning products, and can reduce the amount of sick days making your company more efficient again.
The green revolution is starting, and it’s going global.
Sam writes for who can help you check your business is getting the best deal from your energy suppliers.