You have read it again and again, that everyone is demanding green. Consumers want the option to buy green products from eco-friendly companies. The government is making more green regulations than ever before. Corporate partners and the competition are all forcing every business to consider a green business plan.
Let’s take a look at what areas of business are currently doing the best job of going green. These examples should give you some great green takeaways to see how you can work towards sustainable business practices within your company.
Big Steps towards Green – Corporations Lead the Pack Some companies and governments are making really big steps towards green. Wal-Mart has espoused a goal of making all their stores zero waste in the coming years. This is a great goal, and hopefully will result in other companies feeling the pressure to make similar commitments. Another industry leader is Toys R Us who recently partners with a solar company to build a massive solar roofing structure. They anticipate that this structure will make enough energy from the sun’s rays to offset all the energy used in one of its New York stores.
While history tells us that small companies are usually the most innovative, the simple truth is that large green changes can cost money, particularly as we look for new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Presumably, large companies have the money to spend on some research and development, to find ways to achieve these goals. Once they develop the necessary technologies and procedures, then others can use them to similar green ends.
Driving Green Transportation – the Products Matter While business operations are a great way to take green steps, designing eco-friendly products for consumers is just as important. The Chevy Volt is an example of a large, global producer thinking in a green way. The Volt can run on 100% electric power; this limits its emissions and noise pollution. Of course, the Volt does require electricity, which then seems to put the ball into the court of the electric companies. If they can start supplying clean energy, and the auto companies continue to offer reasonably priced electric vehicles with the power people crave, we could change our entire world of transportation.
Powering Our World with Green – Selling Energy So, this brings us around to the power companies. While our manufacturers, shopping centers, automobile makers and other service providers can make every effort to go green, these changes will all only truly be green if they are run with eco-friendly, renewable energy sources. Currently, most power plants in the United States run by burning fossil fuels. So that Chevy Volt may have no emissions out its back end, but the power plant fueling it does. But this is changing. Wind power, water power and solar power technologies are continually improving to the point of viability in many areas. But the future may lie more in other directions, like with methane gas siphoned off existing landfills. Also, nuclear power is a very clean, viable energy source that has been explored for years. Both are good areas of investment.
These technologies exist, and they are effective. We need only continue to put money into further refinement and ways to transport the energy. Government regulations and grants, as well as private investors, are helping bring these modern technologies closer to daily use every year.
Even the Banks are Trying to Help with their Own Brand of Green – Green Money It is no secret that while many green tips can be free or very low cost, large changes that make an impact do take money. Fortunately, a number of financial institutions are stepping up to make it easier for various organizations to go green. Bank of America, for example, has committed $55 million to loans and grants for organizations who wish to update their facilities to be more environmentally friendly. This may open the door for green innovators and small business owners to make major eco-friendly changes which can have a positive impact on the world as a whole, but also on their own business reputation and thus profits.
The Small Steps Still Matter While we can talk about Kohls building all green facilities, Wal-Mart striving towards zero waste, and Toys R Us building solar arrays, these are not the only ways to go green. Every step towards green is an important one, no matter how small. Hotels are a great example of how a large facility can pave the road to green with small steps. Many hotels are saving massive amounts of water and energy simply with signs encouraging linen reuse or through energy saving lighting supplies and policies. Every small step adds up with the next. Together, these large and small steps will get us to the desired green business destination.