"Being Green" is becoming more and more popular as large and small companies realize that environmentally responsible practices can help our planet and make them more profitable.
This shift of focus is creating opportunities for entrepreneurs who create new businesses, services and products that enhance sustainability and improve people's lives.
In April of 2007, Gallup surveyed 600 small businesses, and what they found was very encouraging. The poll revealed that nearly half, 47%, of small business owners have already taken steps to become more environmentally responsible.
"Being Green" may help to attract and retain good employees, as one third of American workers surveyed by Harris back in March of 2007, said they would prefer to work for an environmentally responsible company.
However, 49% of these same small business owners who were surveyed, expressed doubt that their customers would be willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products.
It's important to understand that "Being Green" should be one part of your business's overall strategy – after successfully demonstrating the value of your products or services to customers. If you focus a majority of your marketing efforts on "Being Green", but do not deliver quality in your core business offering, customers will not stay with you, no matter how good you are to the Earth!
Alliant International University in San Diego, CA has an offering in their MBA program called the "Sustainable Management" concentration. It includes 3 new courses: sustainable management, sustainable marketing, and environmental management reporting. This course of study aims to educate business students about what's being called the "triple bottom line" – Profit, People and the Planet.
If you'd like to implement some simple and easy Green initiatives in your workplace, here are a few ideas:
1. Install motion-detecting light switches in conference rooms and bathrooms
2. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs
3. Connect office equipment such as computers, copies and faxes to energy-saving power strips
4. Buy recycled paper and recycled toner cartridges
5. Utilize email communication instead of printing out memos on paper
6. When printing, reduce the size of your font and layout margins
7. Use the backs of single-sided copies as scrap paper
8. Buy recycled carpet or more sustainable hard-surface flooring
9. Ensure air conditioning systems are well maintained and have air filters changed regularly
10. Recycle old cell phones
Here's a great quote to remember by Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian professor and philosopher who lived from 1911 to1980:
"There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew."