One of the key issues when it comes to the environment is the responsibility of businesses. While individual people can play their part to help the environment, it’s also important that businesses make an effort to change their practices. A business can produce a lot of waste and pollution, but will often choose the cheaper option rather than the more environmentally responsible one. Many businesses are making green choices, while others have yet to do much to demonstrate their commitment to the environment. There are various reasons businesses are going green or have failed to do so. While some feel incentivised to make the change, others do not.
Financial Incentives to Change
When considering their impact on the environment, most business owners will want to know how it relates to their finances. The most important thing for them is whether making green choices is going to benefit them financially or if it’s going to raise their costs and possibly lower their profits. It’s important for businesses to consider the overall financial incentive for the company, but also how CEOs and others might benefit from making changes.
Recent research from the Vlerick Business School suggests that fewer than 10% of CEOs in the UK feel that they have a financial incentive to reduce the impact that their business has on the environment. Only 6% have their bonus linked to an environmental target and less than 1% have long-term financial incentives to improve their business’s environmental performance. Across Europe, 6% of CEOs have short-term incentives linked to the environment, while just 4% have long-term incentives. While many businesses agree that it’s important for them to act, companies are not offering the financial incentive that might be necessary.
One a wider scale, many businesses might not recognise the financial benefits to their costs and profits. In the long-term, making green decisions for a business could save money, but the initial costs can be higher. Businesses could save money making green choices as small as using LED light bulbs or more significant, such as using renewable energy or recyclable materials.
Image and Reputation
Image and reputation are also important factors in encouraging businesses to go green. The opinions of consumers, employees and stakeholders all influence the choices that business leaders make. Many companies like Premier Hygiene are choosing to source products that have positive green policies to help protect and preserve the environment. Others are making changes to their operations to ensure greener business processes. More than half of consumers prefer to buy from companies that are environmentally friendly, and more and more businesses are starting to recognise that.
Building a green reputation means that a business can appeal to environmentally-conscious consumers. However, if businesses want to be greener, they need to set goals and give their employees and leaders incentives to meet them. Consumers will hold companies accountable and make sure that they are actually carrying out green policies, rather than just saying that they are committed to the environment. If they can get consumers on their side, businesses can drive up their profits through being green.