Aug 12, 2008

Going Green: Good for the environment and the bottom line

Going Green: Good for the environment and the bottom line


Green is the new black, at least as far as the workplace goes. And companies that “go green” are beginning to find that not only are they doing their part for their environment, but they’re also finding some relief in their bottom line.

Saving Money. Saving the Planet.

Simple things, like turning off lights and equipment in empty rooms and offices, can save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. So can substituting flatware for plastic ware, glass plates for paper ones, and water filters on fountains and faucets for bottled water. Some companies are even going paperless, or at least as paper-light as possible. Sending documents through email is one way they’re accomplishing this. Others are developing online publications and internal wikis that replace print communications, employee manuals and other previously printed materials.

Recycling bins are a common workplace sight these days, allowing employees to discard their bottles and papers in an environmentally-friendly way. The same goes for recycled products and eco-minded cleaning products when appropriate.

Another way companies large and small are saving money and the environment is by minimizing travel for its employees. With gas costs (and carbon emissions) skyrocketing, Webinars and teleconferencing are gaining unprecedented popularity. The benefits extend to productivity as well. If employees don’t have to travel to client meetings, they have more time in the office to work on their projects. So why not take advantage of today’s new technologies? And getting clients to partner with you in this effort can go a long way to enhancing a long-term relationship.

Some companies are switching to a four-day workweek. The governor of Utah even introduced an initiative to transition all state employees to a four-day workweek starting in July, with ten-hour days Monday through Thursday. By doing this, state government offices expect to reduce energy consumption by 20% and their employees will save money on commuting. The “bonus” to all of this a perceived one: moral and productivity may be enhanced by a three-day weekend. The economic and environmental results will be measured after one year, but if it works for 1,000 state employees, there’s no reason to believe it won’t work at the corporate level as well.

If a company isn’t ready to shorten its working hours, then allowing employees to telecommute is an increasingly viable option. It’s also an option that has shown measurable results in productivity and cost savings.

Starmark Goes Green.

Starmark International has created a Green Team to explore ways to minimize the company’s impact on the environment. Along with a renewed commitment to recycling, one of the most exciting initiatives encourages staff members and their families to make a voluntary commitment to reduce their carbon footprints. The Starmark Green Pledge involves three easy steps: Using interactive tools, participants first calculate their carbon footprint, then pledge to reduce it. They then submit that pledge to Starmark. Results are tracked and reported each week during company announcements. The Starmark Green Pledge has raised awareness among staff and is helping make a difference for our planet. Oh yeah, and it’s fun too!

There are plenty of ways for a company to show its commitment to going green, but the point is to make the effort. As Fast Company magazine stated, “Companies of every size and in every part of the world are now waking up to humanity’s impending and interlocking crises, and the vastly lucrative rewards that solving them might bring.”