Friday, 12 April 2013

5 Reasons Every Business Should Have an Eco Policy

If your business is in the green sector — a supplier of solar panels or a recycling clearance services provider, for instance — it makes obvious sense for your company to have a policy on ecological and environmental friendliness.

What if you're in a sector that's largely unrelated to green issues — do you still need an eco policy?

It's tempting to assume that you don't. After all, why would you take time and resources away from your core business in order to develop a policy that, at first blush, appears to have nothing to do with what your enterprise is about? Ignoring the growing public interest in environmental concerns or the role these play in consumer choice is a mistake, however.

There are many hidden benefits to having a solid and well-planned environmental policy for your company.

Here are some of the five top reasons why you should start thinking about your eco policy today.

1. Consumer Interest

Simply put, customers care about the environment. Maybe not all of your customer base is strongly concerned about the environment but a sufficient segment of it is likely to be somewhat interested in green issues to make a difference to your business. Some customers will be interested enough to choose you over a competitor.

Many sectors that were previously divorced from environmentalism have begun to embrace green issues as a way of wooing new customers. One example is the insurance industry. By offering discounts for homeowners who have invested in solar panels or other green improvements — typically a lower insurance risk in any case — some insurance providers have carved out a niche for themselves as "green" companies.

2. Green Relief

Discounts on business rates and other economic advantages are another good reason to look into setting up an eco policy. An example is the Government's new Green Deal, which rewards businesses for adopting energy-saving policies.

You probably already know that green enhancements can save you money; reducing your energy consumption will cut your company's fuel bills, for instance. You may also find that some of the companies you rely on for supplies and services offer incentives to go green. As mentioned above, there are some cases where going green can pay off in terms of reducing insurance premiums. This is true for businesses as well as households. If your policy includes physical upgrades to your premises, this may lower your risk profile in the eyes of an insurer and result in lower premiums once improvements are completed.

3. Promotional Opportunities

Opportunities for business promotion in eco-friendly media are more numerous if you establish some green credentials. Making a name for yourself as a company with an environmental conscience can pay dividends in terms of good publicity. As well as making green media more interested in accepting advertising for your firm, you can use your new policy as the springboard for a publicity drive. Sending out a press release that details your eco policy is potentially a way to get your company featured in reporting from green and eco-aware outlets.

Some environmental charities offer awards or certification for businesses that make a firm and demonstrable commitment to becoming more environmentally friendly. If you can show that you've established a meaningful company policy on green issues and that you are following through with real change and measurable improvements, you might be eligible for this kind of recognition. Such an award can be a source of excellent publicity and an opportunity for promotion in green media, as environmentally-oriented outlets often report on the winners of such plaudits.

An eco policy can also offer a way to break into conventional media. Increasingly, green stories attract mainstream attention. Your firm's story could be one of them. Local media might be particularly interested, especially if your policy affects the environment in their area of interest. The news that your new policy will mean less pollution in the local air or water will definitely be seen as newsworthy by many outlets.

4. Public Relations

It makes a business look good if the general public can see that you are taking steps to build a more environmentally-friendly business. Sometimes representatives can be wrong-footed if they're quizzed over green concerns without having any policy guidance to refer to.

Prospective or current customers who get in touch with your company for information regarding environmental issues will be much more impressed if your representatives can quote confidently from a solid eco policy instead of seeming vague or uninterested. If your company gets a reputation as one which cares about the environment on a local as well as a global scale, this often translates into more business and greater loyalty from your existing clients.

5. Real-World Benefits

As well as helping you look good, establishing an eco policy for your company genuinely is good for the planet. Cutting down on waste, reducing the amount of energy your business consumes, eliminating pollution that originates with your company — all these are genuinely good news for the environment.

Even relatively small changes, such as replacing lighting with energy-efficient alternatives, arranging to recycle office waste and offering paperless billing for your customers, can make a big difference to the environmental impact of your enterprise.

Get Involved!

It's fair to say that whatever sector your enterprise is active in and no matter what size your company may be, you need an eco policy. Your policy will need to be tailored to your company's activities. Possible areas to look at might be:
  • Investing in more energy-efficient premises
  • Offering greener services, such as paperless billing
  • Adopting sustainable energy sources
  • Switching to more environmentally-friendly raw materials
  • Offering discounts and incentives for customers who adopt greener approaches themselves.
The more companies get on board with the green revolution and try to change their practices, the better it is for our world as a whole. Get involved!