Environmental Sustainability: The Business Case
By Richard C. Young, P.E. SWCA Environmental Performance Group
- Businesses are realizing that “what’s good for the environment is also good for business.”
- More and more consumers in the marketplace are evaluating a business’s or products green attributes in their purchasing decisions.
- Conservation in energy use, materials consumption, waste deposal and water use is not only good for the environment it is also good for business.
- Many businesses have found that environmental programs help foster a sense of employee pride and engage employees to “find a better way” and “do what’s right.”
We all hear and see a lot about climate change and other environmental issues in the news these days. Carbon footprints, clean energy, sustainability, water conservation, and waste reduction are all issues that are becoming more understood and important to everyone. Most would agree that making improvements in these areas makes sense, and many feel it is necessary for the health of our planet. As environmental awareness grows, businesses large and small are taking steps and making progress toward reducing their environmental footprints.
Many of these businesses are also realizing that “what’s good for the environment is also good for business.” This is because companies are finding that reducing their business environmental footprint also can help increase bottom line performance. Bottom-line financial benefits can be realized through: revenue growth, cost savings and improved employee morale.
Figure 1: The Sustainability Value Proposition. Note that COGS stands for “Cost of Goods Sold” and may not be as significant a factor for an Orthodontic Practice.
Revenue Growth: As orthodontists, you are looked up to as leaders in your community. Participating in and promoting a clean, healthy environment will help send a positive message to your patients and set a great example for others professionals to follow. Additionally, consumers want to feel good about the goods and services they purchase. All other things being equal, they will often choose the “greener” option.
Studies continually indicate many consumers were concerned about the environment and want to do their part. That means that many consumers in the marketplace are evaluating a business’s or product’s green attributes in their purchasing decisions.
Cost Savings: Energy use, materials consumption, waste disposal and water use are all cost money. Conservation in these areas will not only reduce your environmental footprint but also reduce costs. These cost reductions go straight to the bottom line. Even small improvements can add up to meaningful savings. It pays to look for ways to do more with less.
Employee Engagement: Many businesses have found that environmental programs help foster a sense of employee pride and engage employees to “find a better way” and “do what’s right.” Environmental programs can help create a stronger sense of teamwork and foster employee innovation. Happy, engaged employees are more productive and deliver better customer service and care.
Any business large or small can benefit from incorporating environmental sustainability into day-to-day business operations. Reducing your businesses footprint is a step-by-step process and need not be time consuming or costly. Developing more sustainable practices in your business is a worthwhile journey that can result in many rewards, and you will likely find that by reducing your footprint you are increasing your bottom line.
SWCA (http://www.epgsustainability.com) has helped a wide range of businesses establish sustainability programs and improve bottom line performance.