You’re familiar with a company’s bottom line, but what about its triple bottom line? A framework for sustainability, the triple bottom line goes beyond monetary gain and involves “people” and “planet” in addition to “profit.” While more organizations have incorporated this notion into their business model in recent years, it’s not a new idea. In fact, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the management concept.
From coast to coast, businesses are recognizing the importance of becoming more eco-minded. By investing in renewables, incentivizing low-impact commuting and encouraging sustainable practices in the office and out in the field, companies are saving money while improving employee morale.
Consumers are demanding fairer, more socially responsible corporate practices. But going green is more than going paperless and offering discounts on bus passes. It’s a movement; a way of doing business. A company’s commitment to tracking, evaluating and improving its social and environmental impact isn’t just good for business – it’s good for humanity.
Here are just a few of the reasons more companies are adopting sustainable principles.
1. They’re Saving Money and Taking Advantage of Tax Incentives
An obvious, but important benefit of going green is the monetary savings – most of which take place over the long-term. Installing solar, optimizing delivery routes and installing energy-saving equipment and appliances helps a company save over time. Behavioral changes to reduce energy use can result in more immediate savings – making sure office lights don’t stay on longer than they need to, and inviting employees to work from home on frigid winter days or sweltering summer days can also reduce spending on heating and cooling.
Green strategies often equal tax credits or deductions as well. The federal government offers business tax credits for new renewable energy systems including wind, solar and geothermal energy. For example, the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar gives owners of commercial solar systems a discount of 30 percent through this year. It will decline slowly over the next few years, before going away entirely for commercial customers at the end of 2023. Therefore, now is the time for businesses to install solar.
2. They’re Improving Employee Morale and Sparking Innovation
Studies show that employees who are involved in companywide green initiatives experience a greater sense of purpose at that particular organization. If they’re incentivized to carpool or ride their bike to work, are given one or more days to telecommute or are offered complimentary yoga classes each week – they’re more likely to feel the company cares about them. When workers feel as though their health and well-being are taken seriously and they aren’t “just a number,” they’ll be less likely to leave the organization.
Green principles can also stimulate innovation. From time to time, companies can get locked into old habits without questioning whether a process is the most efficient or effective. By challenging workers to come up with new tactics for going green, a company can encourage healthy innovation and improve team member productivity.
3. They’re Strengthening their Brand and Boosting Sales
A company that has embraced sustainability initiatives has proven to make customers feel as though that organization is trustworthy. Nielsen in 2015 surveyed 30,000 of its customers across the globe and found that 66 percent of these individuals agreed they would pay more for a product from a sustainably minded source. That figure went up to 77 percent for Millennials, as this generation demonstrates a stronger connection to brands that promote green initiatives and corporate responsibility. In fact, Forbes has named “visible sustainability” the number one trend that companies should implement when marketing to customers in their mid-20s and 30s.
Research reveals that customers prefer to do business with service providers and merchants who share their values. Therefore, companies that showcase their concern for the environment appeal to customers who are passionate about eco-minded practices. By bolstering its image, a company is often able to generate word-of-mouth marketing that translates into sales and customer loyalty.
A Win for the Environment
Streamlining manufacturing and adopting less-wasteful packaging can result in monetary savings – but above all, companies that go green are helping preserve Earth for the long-term. Cutting carbon emissions from energy use and travel lessens the impact of climate change while reducing the use of paper products and packaging materials protects natural habitats and ecosystems.
The benefits of going green for a business outweigh the negatives – the cost of doing nothing. While it takes some upfront capital to initiate environmentally friendly protocols, these initiatives have proven to payback in dividends over the years. As more companies focus not only on profits, but also on people and the planet, everybody wins.
Check out all the companies on Clean Energy Jobs List who have committed to a brighter, more sustainable future.