Why Going Green Might Keep You Out of the Red

by Chad Paris

You might have heard of the benefits of “going green” in attracting customers and doing your part to help the planet. “Greening” refers to the sustainable business practices that are incorporated into both a business’s actions and products, and while some might label it a trend, I consider it essential if you plan to expand your venture well into the future.

Running a green business isn’t only about attracting customers to a trendy ideal. Operating a business that is green will prove to benefit both your company image and your bank account—while conserving resources.

Making the Green

Companies that maintain an eco-friendly focus are more likely to utilize energy-efficient resources that are cost effective in the long run. Translation? Lower energy bills.

For example, if you plant trees on the west side of your business today, in approximately five years, your energy bill should decrease by about 3 percent. In 15 years? You’ll see savings of about 12 percent.

Green businesses utilize multiple forms of energy-saving resources. Companies that opt for wind, solar and other forms of alternative energy are more likely to qualify for tax credits.

Consumer Expectation

Beyond simply being the smarter economic choice, modern-day customers demand green practices from the brands they’ve developed relationships with. They’re checking product labels and company mission statements looking for a company that has aligned itself with environmental conservation. While a high-quality product and affordable pricing are essential, modern companies have a social responsibility to make customer participation in environmental conservation a part of the buying experience.

Many of my most loyal customers have been deeply interested in Parisleaf’s tree-planting efforts. But Parisleaf isn’t alone in this; many successful, global companies have built their brand around sustainable business practices. Take Ben & Jerry’s, Whole Foods Market and GE, for example. I truly admire their sustainability efforts because they’ve developed products that satisfy market need while remaining dedicated to the planet.

Team Effort

Outside of customer expectations and energy savings, the essence of being “green” relies on company team members who understand and believe in green business. Green culture is a powerful force. Equally as powerful is the education granted to employees on how to carry out green initiatives. Eco-smart employees know the keys to recycling and sustainable business practices. Moreover, employees who understand and participate in the products of green culture are more likely to lead healthier lives both in and out of the office.

Green culture will point more company employees toward transportation methods like carpooling and public transportation, which are a little easier on the environment. The benefits are truly limitless.

“Green lingo” has been thrown around a lot. Yet when companies truly embody environmentally conscious business practices, everyone wins. Smart businesses understand that sustainable business practices must become a part of a company’s long-term plan. The green market is a high-value niche that will continue to expand and develop for years to come.

Chad Paris is the owner and co-founder of Parisleaf, an eco-friendly design firm in Gainesville. Parisleaf has planted more than 8,000 trees to cut back on the business’ carbon footprint—and has a goal of planting a billion trees. In 2011, the Chamber of Commerce awarded Parisleaf with Business of the Year for its commitment to the environment. Parisleaf plants a tree for every Facebook “Like” as a way to promote Parisleaf’s tree-planting mission.

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