By Romit Malhotra

What if I say going green is as essential as your business strategy?

If you are like most businesses out there, you must be wondering how protecting the environment can help your business. Will you get the highest ROI if you stop using fossil fuel? Can saving electricity with candles make your business profitable?

Well, not in that way.

You will have to use the natural resources carefully. You will have to reduce the impact of your action on the environment. You will have to work to make positive social change. And you will have to give back to the communities.

And all these practices are known as sustainability. Just walk through the points below to find out how becoming a sustainable business is a profitable move.

1. Improves Brand Image and Helps Get Competitive Edge

Being a sustainable business can improve your brand image. This is because today’s customers are more aware of environmental concerns. They are likely to buy from the organization that is known for practicing sustainability. This way, it also helps you get a competitive advantage.

According to a survey by the Natural Marketing Institute, over 50% of consumers admitted that a company’s environmental practices influence their buying decision.

No wonder why a big company like Colgate ran a public awareness campaign for water conservation during the Super Bowl. Auto company Honda is valued for optimizing fuel efficiency while consumer product company Unilever has started selling some of its products like PG Tips Tea in fully biodegradable tea bags.

Spreading awareness and practicing sustainability not only builds up a positive brand image, but also penetrates at a deeper level to employees, their near and dear ones, and beyond. However, action speaks louder than words. Your business should do more than just preaching.

2. Increases Production and Minimizes Costs

The way you handle your energy, water and waste can help you save overhead costs. For example, if you replace your basic lighting with more energy efficient lighting, it will make a great difference to your energy bills. Similarly, getting your dripping faucets or taps fixed not only cut down your water bill but also saves a lot of water. This is because dripping faucets can waste nearly 10,000 liters of water a year.

You can go the extra mile by installing geothermal heating and cooling systems at your workplace. Those efforts may seem expensive, but they will justify your investment in the long run.

3. Improves Employee Retention and Recruitment Rate

Employees want to work with organizations that support and operate corporate environmental programs. They don’t want to be associated with the companies involved in ecological disasters and community welfare scandals.

According to a survey by Adecco, over 50 percent of employees feel that their organizations should do “GOOD” for the environment and communities. They want to stay with the company that cares.

Bank of America has set a great example in this context by subsidizing their employees’ solar panel installations at home. Besides, the bank started offering an incentive when their customers buy an eco-friendly vehicle. 

4. Helps You Comply with the Regulations

With climate change, global warming, shrinking water resources, and pollution, many state or federal agencies are imposing regulations to save the environment.

This “strictness” is necessary as not all organizations are serious about the declining health of the environment. For example, most manufacturing plants don’t dispose of their hazardous waste appropriately. Then, there are companies who might be negligent towards their electricity or water usages. This is why such regulations are welcoming. 

Incorporating sustainability into your corporate practices will help you avoid penalties or hefty fines under your state’s environment legislature.

5. Helps You Attract Investments and Funds

Many financial and investment experts have found that organizations with sustainability plans are likely to attract investors more than those who don’t have.

According to a 2007 Goldman Sachs study, companies known for environmental social policies have surpassed the general stock market by 25 percent with 72 percent companies getting ahead of their competitors.

Are You Ready to Become a Sustainable Business?

So you now understand how going green can support your business. It not only adds to your business value, but also encourages customers to choose you. However, sustainability should be a norm, a duty, a responsibility rather than a burden or an imposed rule.

Becoming a sustainable business is not that difficult. It all starts with some small steps like saving electricity and water, growing a plant, educating employees about the environment and using renewable resources.