The Small, Easy Steps Toward Going Green

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OK. You’ve heard the business arguments for going green (see our website!). You know you can save your company real money. You also know that a green program can attract new revenue and satisfy stakeholders. But there’s still some hesitancy. You want to implement a program, but keep it low-key for now until you can show the skeptics its benefits and potential. Here are some steps to demonstrate benefits of a green program and at the same time not overwhelm your company.

One possible way to make such “green” changes is to work with your Purchasing Dept and establish sensible purchasing policies that involve green products. For example, a major study by McKinsey showed that the most cost effective way to reduce your energy usage and, therefore, your carbon footprint is to replace aging equipment (i.e., computers, printers, refrigerators, etc.) with those having the Energy Star label. This has been shown to usually have the shortest Return on Investment (ROI) as the cost difference between an Energy Star-labeled product and comparable one that is not (which by the way, is shrinking over time) can be made up in energy savings in a fairly short time; for many. Establish a purchasing policy that Energy Star-labeled products have preference and measureable inroads (reduced electricity bills) will result.

Another area to work with Purchasing is the composition of your transportation fleet (autos, trucks, etc.). With gasoline over $4/gallon and likely to stay that way for awhile, it should not take much convincing of Purchasing and Financial to convert your fleet to units with higher mpg ratings. One simple area is to offer your managers or salespeople a choice. Just offering a hybrid will elicit many positive responses. They will be satisfied having made the choice and your company’s carbon footprint and energy costs will be reduced at the same time. The auto will still get the employee where he/she must go. Carbon reduction and cost savings are achieved with no pain or change.

A third area is the growing use of “green building products”. A growing number of products performs as well as traditional products, but contain no or fewer hazardous substances, VOCs, etc. There are several directories of green building products available. However, it should be understood that there is no standard, accepted definition of what qualifies a product as a “green building product.”

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