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Chris LoCurto

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September 30, 2011

Should My Business Be Concerned About Going Green?

September 30, 2011 | By | 22 Comments">22 Comments

Here’s another question from an EntreLeadership Podcast listener:

One business question that I’d love to hear discussed is at what size of business do you start to worry about your business’s environmental impact? And how much money do you spend to reduce your environmental footprint? Is a certain amount of money spent on showing how “green” you are worth it in the PR side of things?

The idea of going green is completely subjective to how important you believe it is, and what business you are in. If it is a moral obligation to you, then size doesn’t matter, the sooner the better. You can make simple changes in products you use in your office like cleaning supplies, recycled paper, no Styrofoam cups containing CFC’s, only filtered water machines instead of bottled water, etc. There are tons of little things you can do.

Choosing vendors who do the same will also become important to you. These are simple changes that will cost you a decent amount more, but will satisfy the need to feel green in your office.

If you’re a company that produces a product that is having an effect on the environment, then it’s a different story. Obviously you would be working inside EPA guidelines or hopefully you wouldn’t have a business. So taking it a step or ten further is now dependent on how it will affect your bottom line?

  • How much you spend is important. There’s a saying in ministry, where there is no margin, there is no ministry. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend so much money on your already approved product to make it green, if your bottom line disappears. If you can’t afford to keep the doors open, you don’t need to continue to crank out the product. Find an additional percentage that is acceptable to spend to make the product more green, and keeps you happy about the net profits.
  • How it affects your sales matters. If going green will increase the gross and net sales of your product, green it up! Get as much PR out there as you can and get movement as fast as possible. Keep in mind, if you lose $1.00 per item by going green, then selling 10,000 more, without decreased expenses, will only cause you to lose $10,000.00. Therefore, it again is a balancing act with the impact to the bottom line.

Either way, stay in business first, then decide the amount of the bottom line you want to change.

Question: How do you feel about your business going green?

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  • http://www.crystalimagesinc.com/desk-name-plate1.html custom desk name plates

    Going green! Yup! We have decided to move to papaerless audits in my department. We are in the transition phase this very moment. In two months time, we will be making only electronic audit binders.

  • http://www.inkblotme.com Jake Ainsworth

    Owning a “green business” was not why I originally got into business. My initial purpose, and is still the driving force, was to save people money. I was tired of paying too much for my ink and toner cartridges. Once I researched the business idea I realized the green aspect of the business. By remanufacturing cartridges we could save them from being thrown away for no real reason. Although going green was not my primary focus it is nice to know that I have a small part in recycling and reducing waste.

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Amen Jake! Now that’s a great reason to go green!

  • http://impowermenow.com/ Tyra

    Thank you Chris for this wonderful advice! and yes going green in business is something I should be concerned about. It will also cost less with the materials we use and employees will also support that.

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Wow! Then you absolutely should!

  • http://twitter.com/mahez007 Uma Maheswaran S (@mahez007)

    Going green! Yup! We have decided to move to papaerless audits in my department. We are in the transition phase right now. In two months time, we will be making only electronic audit binders.

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      I’m a big believer in going paperless. If only to make it less messy.

  • http://www.cabinart.net Jana Botkin

    Why do people “go green”? Because of authentic concern or to appear concerned? Because they have bought into the current fad? Because of guilt or fear? Because it is cheaper to be less wasteful? So many questions. . . sigh.

    I choose companies to do business with that provide great service and good products. Period.

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Unless they’re destroying the environment, that’s how it should be.

  • http://twitter.com/tbric Tom Brichacek (@tbric)

    Working in the building trades, Green was huge a couple years ago. Then the market decided it didn’t want to pay for all the extra cost involved. We haven’t been asked to build a “green” project for 2 1/2 years. If I had jumped in with both feet, I would have drown by now.

    Like others, we are also trying to reduce unnecessary driving, paper waste, material waste etc. For us it is more of an economic thing than environmental. The environmental part is a bonus!

    • http://joelfortner.wordpress.com Joel Fortner

      Tom, without knowing anything more about your company than what you’ve shared here, you have a couple of stories to tell. 1. If you’re passing on savings to your customers, you can market your cost reduction measures and differentiate yourself from competition. 2. You can use those cost reduction measures, which are environmentally responsible, and tell a “green” story to an audience. Something to consider if you’ve never done that.

      • http://twitter.com/tbric Tom Brichacek (@tbric)

        Thanks for the ideas Joel. I’m not really passing on savings directly to the customer, although we are able to lower our price point to gain more business. So I guess we are passing those savings on. I’ve been thinking about the story thing quite a bit. Just to have time to write it out & get it into the wild! I’ll think on that one some more.

        • http://joelfortner.wordpress.com Joel Fortner

          Yes, the way you’re “passing” them on is exactly what I was touching on. There’s a marketing message there it seems. If you need an objective view on anything you put down, let me know. I’m happy to look at it and provide feedback.

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Wow! So going all in can cost you greatly? Good to know.

  • http://joelfortner.wordpress.com Joel Fortner

    As a PR dude, I really honed in on that part of the question but just to pile on to everyone else’s comments, yes, you can’t make the decision to “go green” in a vacuum. With regard to doing things for PR bang, always always always base your decision on our audience/market. Before you make decisions that cost you money and time, find out first if your audience even cares. If not now, will they later? Get answers to those. Rooting your decision in audience analysis will keep you from chasing what appear to be initiatives and movements that everyone seemingly cares about. The flat out truth is not everyone cares about you going green; they just want their product and/or service when they want it. Othere markets demand it of the companies they do business with. So, again, start with your audience and go from there. Otherwise, the PR bang you’re looking for will be a gigantic bust.

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Great stuff Joel!

  • http://ericspeir.com/ Eric Speir

    I’m in ministry and I’ve never heard the saying of “where there is no margin, there is no ministry.” That’s a good thought to keep in mind. I like the balanced approach that you take toward this idea because in our society today everything seems to be a big deal when in actuality going green is useless if you can’t keep your doors open. It’s like the cart trying to pull the horse!

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Amen!

  • http://lgthaxton.wordpress.com Louise Thaxton

    I have mixed feelings as far as my operation goes – we have now gone “paperless” – but I am so old-school (oh……..and old!) so it is a hard adjustment for me! I still print out some e-mails if there is a checklist – or items to do!

    I do appreciate the fact that we all could do better when it comes to the environment and our impact on it – whatever small steps we might take.

    As you said ….BALANCE! I wouldn’t put my business at risk – or the jobs of the 16 people I employ – or een put someone ELSE out of business – all for the sake of “green”. But since I live in a rural area on a family farm – and my husband comes from a LONG line of farmers and cattlemen – we probably think a little differently than the rest of the world!

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Haha…so true. The thought process changes with your location.

      • http://gravatar.com/lgthaxton Louise Thaxton

        Chris – it REALLY does! I was recently at a conference where Patrick Lencioni spoke on the “5 Dysfunctions of a Team” – and he talked about the manner in which different cultures handled conflict – i.e., someone from New York would handle conflict differently than someone from California! I guess the same goes for GREEN and how you think about it!

        • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

          So true. California definitely thinks differently about being green!