Climate change is one of the hot button issues of our times and one that is having an ever-increasing impact on the way that a number of industries do business. It is something that we are all becoming increasingly aware of, and with the number of adverse, or extreme, weather events around the globe on the rise, the issue has been bought into stark focus.
Events over the last year have only served to bring the issue sharply into the public’s consciousness. Last year saw the signing of the historic Paris Agreement, aimed at combating climate change and keeping the overall global temperature rise by the end of the century below two degrees Celsius. Many climate scientists suggest that adhering to the protocols laid out in the Paris agreement represent our best, and perhaps last chance, to avoid catastrophic global warming.
Although Donald Trump has caused concern in many corners, as he has announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the agreement, a number of US States and many of the biggest corporations based in the country have announced that they intend to continue to meet their obligations under the agreement, whether the US withdraws or not.
The fact that even the biggest businesses in the United States are supporting the agreement, and believe it is in their long-term interests to do so, shows not only how important the issue of climate change is but also that going green makes good business sense, as any executive with an online finance degree will tell you. Below are some of the primary reasons that businesses should seriously consider investing in a greener future for themselves.
The advent of e-mail brought with it significant reductions in the amount of paper that businesses needed to purchase. Going paperless not only saves businesses the constant cost of restocking and using paper – it has also meant that a much greater percentage of the paper supplied to businesses now comes from renewable, sustainable sources. This has positive effects that go beyond benefitting one particular business or group. In fact, it benefits the entire planet.
Many of us don’t think about the environmental impact of producing the large volume of paper that businesses globally consume throughout the year. Just under half of all the commercially logged timber in the world goes into paper production. The result in some cases is devastating, usually where sustainable practices are either routinely ignored or non-existent.
With some 30 million acres of forest destroyed every year in pursuit of our paper needs, the pulp and paper industries are both significant contributors to global deforestation and the localized destruction of important habitats and ecosystems. In addition to the impact that paper production has on forests, it is also responsible for a huge amount of our water usage; one sheet of A4 paper requires as many as 10 liters of water!
Awareness of the benefits of recycling and repurposing materials and products is now far more widespread than it once was and is another easy way for businesses to save money. Many shoppers are now opting to purchase ‘bags for life’, which are reusable, and durable bags used to hold groceries and other items after purchase. Making lots of small savings like this adds up quite quickly and before you know it, your business won’t know what to do with all the extra cash it now has.
You might want to consider investing in training one of your team by paying for them to complete an online finance masters degree at Northeastern University. You can then sit down with them once they have obtained their MS finance online and work out exactly how much money you are currently spending on items that you could potentially recycle and reuse. You might be surprised how much you could save.
Lower Utility Costs
If your business is run from a large commercial building, take a minute to think about the number of lightbulbs that are in use at any given time. By switching to low-energy LED bulbs, which demand much less power, you can dramatically reduce costs virtually overnight. There are many other things you can do to save your business money and energy; for example, don’t underestimate the way in which minor, almost unnoticeable costs can build up and end up costing you a significant amount of money.
Ensuring that any unused electrical appliances are turned off is a great first step, not only for saving money but for making your company a little bit greener. Only use central heating during the winter months when it is really needed and, conversely, try to open windows rather than using air conditioning when it is hot.
Establish Energy Efficiency Procedures
Depending on the type of business you run, you may have certain periods of the day when your energy usage requirements are higher than at other times. By identifying whether such a cycle exists for your business, you can then put a plan in place alongside your team to ensure that energy is only being used when required. During the less demanding parts of the day, you can then try to reduce your energy usage.
Have an Audit Done
There are now what is known as ‘energy audit companies’. These companies will visit your place of business and perform an audit of your energy usage and generation, assigning you a score afterward based on efficiency and renewability. These companies will also be able to advise you on how you can improve your score and will suggest new procedures or equipment to help bring your energy usage down.
Going green is the future, not just for businesses but for society as a whole. Not only is there a very strong moral case for reducing our carbon footprint; there is also a very powerful business argument that is often overlooked. More and more businesses are now waking up to the realities of climate change and realizing that their customers are also demanding that they behave in an eco-friendlier way.