The study placed the companies surveyed into two categories: “embracers” and “cautious adopters.” While the embracers are more aggressive in their green investments, the cautious adopters are catching up and plan to boost sustainability spending by 24% in 2011.
Why Go Green?
Some reasons are obvious. Adopting strategies for a greener footprint leads to better use of resources and reduced waste. But there are intangible benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked. Developing a reputation for proactive sustainability can strengthen brand value. Employees and stakeholders become engaged in energy efficiency and waste reduction efforts, and a sense of partnership flourishes. And new avenues of innovation can emerge. Here are some examples of successful sustainability efforts:
- Clorox added the Greenworks and Burt’s Bees labels to its product lines, and agreed to phase out the use and transport of chlorine gas. In 2009, the company announced that profits rose by 23 percent despite the recession.
- Walmart Canada expects to save about $140 million over the next 5 years by reducing waste, energy, and packaging.
Planning for Success
Comprehensive planning is vital to any successful initiative to develop or strengthen your company’s sustainability programs. The following steps offer a guideline to researching and launching your efforts.
- Get the numbers. Determine an accurate assessment of your company’s carbon footprint.
- Develop a strategy that will work. Consider both short and long-term goals and begin with actions that work well with your core business plan and comfort level.
- Find the right fit. Develop a strategy that easily merges with your brand. This will help to engage employees and encourage public relations opportunities.
- Don’t go it alone. Seek advice from experts so you can plan for success and build upon proven methodologies and action steps. Call upon experts like GXT Green to guide you through the process.
As you implement programs, make them an integral part of your operations. According to Santiago Gowland, VP of brand and corporate responsibility for Unilever, “The only way to continue growing and continue being a successful business is to treat sustainability as a business lever the same way you treat marketing, finance, culture, HR or supply chain.”
The reality is that national regulations and global policies will eventually move toward a new era of environmental accountability. With informed planning and strategies, your company can stay ahead of the curve – and launch sustainability efforts that will drive your footprint down a path of green.