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"Going green" with my business; do I really want to?
Published on Apr 12, 2010
Read our article, 'Going green with my business; do I really want to?' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
It's all the rage to talk about green cities, green businesses, and green policies. It makes sense in the big picture to take care of the planet we're on. But what does "going green" really mean to the average small business owner?
Let's start with definitions. "Going green" refers to using the Earth's resources more efficiently and reducing the negative impact of human activity on the environment and its ecosystems. The mantra "reduce, reuse, recycle" (reduce waste, reuse what you can, and recycle what you can't) provides a good summary of what a business needs to do to "green up."
With a few notable exceptions, small business owners were initially slow to embrace the green movement because adopting green technologies was an expensive prospect with very little benefit to the bottom line. If it was all about windmills and solar panels, there might still be little chance of small business taking on even a tinge of green, since few can even consider spending significant sums of money without any prospect of recovering the costs.
But as environmental concerns have increased and the costs of green technologies have decreased, more and more businesses owners have begun adopting green technologies and practices.
Despite frequent gee-whiz coverage of fancy gizmos that convert A into B, or power X with Y, going green is not just about costly conversions. Many green practices are just about using what we have more efficiently. And greater efficiencies translate into reduced costs and an improved bottom line.
Suddenly the small business owner has something to get excited about!
For most small businesses, going green probably means taking small steps initially, which can be supplemented once the first steps prove their economic value. Other factors may play a role in your decisions. For example, if energy costs continue to rise, small businesses may be more motivated to look to green options. If green technologies continue to drop in price, small businesses may be more willing to consider them. If green choices become more widely adopted by the business community, those businesses more averse to risk may be more likely to embrace them. And, of course, weak overall economic conditions tend to motivate all business owners to look for cost-cutting measures, some of which may involve green choices.
Going green means doing a better of job of conserving energy, conserving water resources, and recycling waste. If your business can pursue one or all of these goals and actually save money in the process, it might be time to think about a greener future.
What have you done to "green up" your business? And has it helped you save time and/or money?