Many organizations are discovering that environmental sustainability efforts make good business sense. Sustainability and environmentally friendly operations can be more cost-efficient and help reduce waste.
“Our efforts over the years have shown us the impact we can have, not just on the environment, but on our business,” says Andrea Mardock, vice president and environmental programs manager at U.S. Bank.
Here are some ideas for how to embrace environmental stewardship at your own organization:
Harvest the cost-effective benefits of going green
First, aim for projects that fit into existing budgets. There are simple steps you can take that require little to no additional budget.
Good places to start? Educate corporate teams on the need to conserve energy, encourage reusable resources over single-use, and reduce business travel to shrink the organization’s carbon footprint. It’s small, but it’s a start.
“There are several things you can do to be more environmentally responsible without making a significant investment,” Mardock says. “A company can accomplish a great deal with the resources it currently has.”
Commit to gradual investment and effort
Once an organization starts to benefit from initial efforts, it’ll be easier to generate enthusiasm to do more, such as investing in motion sensor lighting or solar panels, which may not only lead to increased energy efficiency, but could be a positive reputation boost for a business.
“It ends up saving or making you money in the end, whether through improved market share, positive reputation or cost efficiency,” Mardock says.
If the business starts to see a positive outcome from smaller efforts, consider establishing a point person who can help grow sustainability efforts. “It’s definitely a benefit to have a subject matter expert to guide and coordinate efforts,” Mardock says.
Having a point person to keep projects moving has helped U.S. Bank achieve results. The bank has already reduced its emissions by nearly 36 percent against its 2014 baseline. This is part of an effort to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2029, and by 60 percent by 2044.
Make your banker an ally
What if your sustainability plans cost more than your current budget allows? Look for alternative financing options.