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How sustainable practices can pay big dividends

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An increasing number of business owners are committing themselves and their companies to improved environmental performance. This is good news for the planet, but also for their bottom line.

A proactive approach to sustainability can pay dividends in reduced waste, lower costs and increased customer engagement, without requiring large capital outlays.

Driven by practical reasons

There are at least three practical reasons for undertaking an environmental review of your business and then taking action to improve your performance.

  1. The trend toward resource conservation and sustainable development is here to stay. It has grown over the past 50 years and will advance even faster over the next 50. Getting ahead of the curve could give you an edge over your competition.
  2. Businesses that supply large corporations are increasingly being asked to improve their environmental performance. For example, Walmart now obliges its suppliers to quantify and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Companies looking for business opportunities in supply chains would be wise to act now on improvements. One important way to achieve that goal is to implement an ISO 14000 Environmental Management System (EMS).
  3. Consumers are leading the environmental awareness trend and will increasingly “vote with their wallets.” Products and services that are eco-friendly are already in higher demand, and overall corporate environmental responsibility is a key consideration for consumers.

Avoid “greenwashing”

However, green strategies must be backed by real action. Otherwise companies leave themselves open to accusations of “greenwashing.”

Surveys have found that Canadian consumers are wary of environmental claims made as marketing ploys. The term “green” also seems to have lost some of its impact due to overuse.

Becoming more environmentally sensitive is a work in progress. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to do more than just talk about it.

Get your team involved

So go ahead and get your team involved in building a more sustainable business. And when you have made real progress, tell your customers about it.

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