Should You Bother Talking About Your Green Strategy?
With sustainable business practices becoming more expected and commonplace, organizations often wonder whether or not their green strategies need to be formalized and discussed openly.
FAQ: Should my organization be talking about a green strategy? We aren’t in an environmental field, nor are we connected to any specific eco-centric mission. What’s the benefit?
This is a logical question for organizations not connected to environmental causes. Let’s explore the meaning of “going green,” how it might impact your organization, and how it can help any business better align with their customers.
What Is “Greening?”
Greening is the colloquial term for the act of going green, which refers to the act of behaving in a more eco-conscious manner. This can be applied to personal or professional efforts to go green.
Although the term might be newer, anyone in the US who’s 50-years-old and younger is well-versed in the basics of greening. After all, those generations were raised with the 1970’s-born mantra: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Reduce consumption, reuse what we can, and recycle when possible.
Back then, the challenge for business was the price tag: making eco-conscious business decisions was often cost-prohibitive. Now, it’s not only more affordable, but it’s also great for business. A Nielsen study found that 90% of millennials, the generation leading the sustainability charge, are willing to pay more for products that contain sustainable or environmentally friendly ingredients.
Not only is it kinder to the planet, but going green is also good business. And communicating that concern can translate into attention.
Since the days of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, the world has drastically changed. Let's talk about how to apply green practices in an era of technology and convenience.
1. Switch to Cloud Computing
As explained by Susan Ward for Balance Small Business:
Cloud computing formats like Google Apps, Apple iCloud, and Microsoft Office 365 allow employees to share and access information from anywhere and can reduce the travel costs, carbon emissions, and printing costs of your small business.
Have you ever heard yourself comment on the convenience of sharing information online between your team members? The more businesses operate in the cloud, the less we’ll have to use physical resources that leave a larger carbon footprint.
2. Develop Sustainability Work Policies
Develop policies and procedures to reinforce sustainability efforts, like these simple procedures detailed by Patrica Lotich at Thriving Small Business:
Things like, power down equipment at the end of the day and enable energy savings settings on all computers and desktops, are examples of policies that can support the cause.
Creating a green climate within your organization will make these changes contagious and commonplace.
3. Get Online
When it comes to communicating externally, with your followers and potential customers, how much of your communicating and marketing can you do online versus in person and with paper?
There’s a time and a place for face-to-face meetings and beautiful posters created to publicize an event, but consider the ease and practicality of doing business online, with thoughtful social media channels and with a website. If you don’t already have a branded website for your organization, check out the availability of URLs at our not-com, the .BIBLE top-level domain.
Read more: Learn about other organizations who’ve found clarity on a not-com.
4. Reward Green Choices
Have some fun with your green strategy.
Ask employees to share a pic of their current workspace, eco-friendly or not. (Make sure to include in the frame this morning’s coffee and snack!) Give everyone a week and $0 to improve their carbon footprint by incorporating green practices like:
- Eliminating single-use vessels like plastic water bottles, yogurt containers, and single-serve coffee pods.
- Shutting off lights in unused portions of the home or office, and keeping the heat at a lower temperature.
- Literally go green with office plants. As explained by Build:
Plants produce oxygen and remove chemicals from the air, making it cleaner for air to breathe. Plants also create a happier, more positive work environment, thereby making it a more productive and creative space. Research also has found that plants can successfully reduce stress and noise levels within an office.
Pro Tip: Rewarding green choices is great for organizations that don’t necessarily share a physical workspace. Be sure to give your work-at-home team a virtual high-five for reducing fuel consumption and pollution.
What Should You Say About Your Green Strategy?
Going green is one thing, talking about your green strategy is another.
There are benefits to communicating your green practices and strategy to your audience. Portland Business Journal quotes Erin Hinton, senior sustainability consultant at Shift Advantage, a Portland-based consulting firm. Hinton states:
Companies are realizing the benefits of sustainable practices across the board. Smart, sustainable decisions save money. Reducing usage translates into decreased costs, and engaging employees yields lower, slower turnover. Conducting business conscientiously can also have the added perk of increasing revenue through brand-consumer alignment.
This alignment is seen clearly in the data. A Cone Communications study found that 87% of consumers will have a more positive image of a company that supports social or environmental issues. Consumers think more positively about a brand that aligns themselves with charitable causes.
You don’t need to have an extensive strategy to be considered green. Simply share the progress your organization is making to become more eco-friendly.
You might like: Learn how to use Facebook Messenger like a pro.
Here are some practical ways to communicate your green strategy to your customers today:
1. Did your team participate in a green challenge? Be sure to post those images on your company’s social media channels, poking fun at some easy mistakes and highlighting the green practices of your team members. Be sure to congratulate the winner! Your customers will appreciate your transparency.
2. If you have a fleshed-out strategy, be transparent and share it with your customers by publishing it to your website and drawing attention to it with blasts sent to your email contact list, or on your social channels.
3. Compile and share the data. Use something like the CoolClimate Network Carbon Footprint Calculator to compute your carbon footprint. Also, estimate what it might have been a decade ago when you weren’t as green and then compare the data. Challenge your followers to share their footprint as well.
4. Communicate carefully. Do not overpromise your green efforts or neglect to share areas that need improvement. If your customers perceive your eco-friendly organization is taking advantage of “green marketing,” you will sacrifice those followers and the social proof they carry.
Going green doesn’t have to mean a company overhaul. Start small and incorporate sustainable practices, and be sure to communicate those efforts to your audience. We’re all in this together, and being transparent about your successes and struggles only strengthens your relationship with your audience.
What are some green efforts practiced by your organization? Leave a comment and share your ideas below. We’d love to hear from you and learn from one another.