Everyone wants to be eco-friendly and helping the environment remains one of the biggest priorities for businesses across the UK – whether they be big or small. However, there have been concerns raised in some quarters that a green approach to enterprise could harm profitability and negatively affect market share.
We disagree and believe there are plenty (well, actually four) of reasons that an eco-friendly approach to business could save you cash and benefit your operations.
We all love looking good in front of customers. If word gets around that you are a “green” company then your support and consumer-base is sure to increase.
Take Lush, for example. The cosmetics company was once a small south-west England startup but then sprouted into one of the UK’s most well-known brands thanks to its unique approach, which included promoting a number of eco-friendly charities.
While we aren’t telling you to start peddling environmentally-tailored bath bombs, we do think there are lessons to be learned from Lush’s success, demonstrating that a green view on enterprise is well worth considering.
Appearing eco-friendly could also help you with evangelisation. Finding new workers is tricky and despite a packed labour market, many companies are struggling to fill positions with talented staff.
Evangilisation is one of the most effective ways of avoiding this problem and getting your personnel chatting to their friends about how great it is to work for you is the best kind of publicity.
One of the best ways to initiate evangilisation is by asking your workers for staff incentive ideas, as they will be in the best position to give you this advice. For example, putting a Cycle to Work scheme in place, whereby employees get a VAT tax break on the price of a new bike, could be a fantastic way to drum up a good reputation.
Age of ethics
We are – as consumers – becoming more aware of how companies work and, thanks to the global economic crisis, are now sceptical of many large corporations’ ability to act within the basic rule of law, let alone in an ethical manner.
This is, of course, a problem for big businesses, but for SMEs it presents a real opportunity to get ahead and appear eco-friendly and down-to-earth.
One way to exploit this is to allow your workers to use one of their working days per year for a charitable cause. It’s often best to leave the specifics of this arrangement up to your personnel on an individual level – allowing them to pick which foundations they support.
Not only will this help your local community, but it will give your staff members a great morale boost and allow them to get involved in causes that they really care about.
Puts your rivals on the backfoot
If you are committing to an eco-friendly, ethical business model – how will this make your rivals look?
Nobody likes to be the bad guy and getting one step ahead of your competitors by appearing more concerned about local issues like homelessness and crime could really help you to drum up new business.
Plus, if your rivals decide to get in on the action – everyone will know you did it first, so you get to keep the bragging rights.