For the past few years, many businesses have been doing their best to make their firm environmentally sustainable. One of their main areas of motivation in doing this is the trending customer preference towards companies that are conscious of the environment. For example, according to a Harvard Business School study of 180 U.S. companies (that was published in 2011), businesses that had been classified as “high sustainability” were discovered to have better performance than those that had been classified as “low sustainability”. Furthermore, there have been companies that have been successful in reduced their carbon footprint despite its difficulties. This essay will focus on the ways in which companies can go green.
Firstly, companies can go green by ensuring that its products are minimally packaged. This tip is especially useful for retail items. The purpose of this is to reduce wastage of materials that are non-biodegradable (such as many forms of plastic). Furthermore, apart from ensuring that its products are not covered with excessive packaging, the firm can also ensure that the material of the packaging used brings minimal harm to the environment. An example of a company that has been successful in this is LUSH cosmetics. This was the company that had introduced packaging-free cosmetics. For products that do not require packaging, LUSH uses materials that are recyclable and biodegradable. Furthermore, all of the products by LUSH are made with ingredients that have minimal negative impact on the environment. Therefore, one practical way in which businesses can play their part in conserving the environment is to use minimal and environmentally sustainable packaging.
Secondly, companies can go green by adopting manufacturing practices that reduce their carbon footprint. This can be achieved by focusing on making its production operations as environmentally sustainable as possible. Companies can learn from IKEA, a Swedish furniture-maker. The firm has made great effort to make its business operations sustainable for the environment. For example, 50% of IKEA’s wood is sourced from sustainable foresters. Additionally, all of its cotton is sourced from farms that meet the standards of Better Cotton. These measures have allowed the firm to reduce its usage of water, energy and chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Furthermore, its stores are powered by more than 700, 000 solar panels.
Thirdly, companies can go green by providing cost savings on its eco-friendly products. This can be done by lowering the price of the product to increase its appeal to consumers. For example, Blissmo is an online platform which allows subscribers to purchase organic, non-toxic and environmentally friendly products. It provides users with great deals and discounts, which encourages its subscribers to opt for the green option. The company acts somewhat like a “green Groupon” and provides price reductions on business and services such as EcoThin Wallet. This has been beneficial to sustainable companies, who now have a larger market to tap on for sales growth. Therefore, this implies that price reductions on eco-friendly products is key to attracting customers. Price reductions can be implemented if the firm is able to lower its costs. One way in which this can be achieved is through aid from the government through grants and subsidies which will reduce the overall costs incurred for the firm. Another possibility is through further development and improvement of the production operations of the firm, which will help it to increase its efficiency and reap economies of scale in the long run.
Fourthly, food companies can go green by doing organic catering. These companies can cater for events and business luncheons with food that is made from organic ingredients. They can also offer a range of food options such as free-range meats together with vegan, gluten-free and paleo-meal options. This will appeal to lovers of nature as well as health and wellness enthusiasts. For example, Eco Caters, a catering company based in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and San Diego, aims to provide catering of the highest quality with foods that are handcrafted and made completely from scratch, while minimizing environmental impact. They do this mainly by making use of local organic food purchased from ranches and farms that raise produce and animals in a way that is sustainable and humane. Therefore, food companies that aim to tap on a larger market can choose to do organic catering, helping it to increase sales revenue as well as reduce carbon footprint.
Fifth, companies that have already achieved environmental sustainability in the workplace can do more for the environment by building a “green application”. These apps should provide the necessary information to help users go green. They should also point them towards achieving a sustainable lifestyle. The application can be a general one that covers green living as a whole, or it can also focus on specific areas such as eco-friendly products and energy conservation at home and at work. Companies can also build educational apps to educate children about going green. This will help them to grow up to be conscious about the environment.
In conclusion, there are many ways in which companies can go green. Apart from merely focusing on long-term profitability, companies should have a healthy concern for the environment and be aware of the prevalent issue of climate change. According to Al Gore, the former vice-president under Bill Clinton, “The story of humankind and our relationship to the earth may be seen as a continuing adventure or a tragedy shrouded in mystery. The choice is ours.” Therefore, if companies are able to take action in reducing their carbon footprint and increasing their environmental sustainability, they should do so at all costs.