More and more consumers are placing an emphasis on going green and businesses all over the world are placing value in sustainability initiatives. If you feel that you are immune from the societal shift toward green energy as a startup, think again. Approximately 72 percent of consumers would recommend a brand if it supports a good cause — a 39 percent increase since 2008 — according to Edelman's 2012 goodpurpose study. So launching a company with the environment at heart can help drive your customer base and bottom line.
The survey also found that 71 percent of consumers would help promote a brand's products or services if there was a good cause behind them. And if that's not enough to convince you, 73 percent of people surveyed said they would actually switch brands if there was a similar brand that supported a good cause.
Now, it's important to note that going green doesn't mean you have to install solar panels on top of your office building or sell organic products. Simple changes can go a long way in making your business a green endeavor. Check out these four easy ways you can get your startup off the ground in an eco-friendly way.
- Look for a green HQ. If you're still on the hunt for office space, try and find a location that's eco-friendly. While a LEED-certified building is considered the standard for environmental building, you don't have to go that route to go green. Just look for energy-efficient features, such as double-pane windows or LED lights, which could help keep your energy bills low and reduce your carbon footprint.
- Buy the pricier, energy-efficient model. If you're just starting out, you might be inclined to settle for the cheapest products on the market. But holding out for efficiency can really pay off. Take the Bowman Design Group, for example. The small company made a commitment to going green and took the simple step of swapping out its copier, air conditioner and company SUV for more efficient models. In a year, the business cut greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent, electricity consumption by 40 percent and the cost of water by 20 percent. In total, the company saves about $9,000 per year with these simple changes.
- Go paperless. You may not save a ton of money on paper costs, but eliminating waste is a great way to show customers you're committed to the environment. And in an age of instant data, there are rarely opportunities when a hard copy is necessary. Instead of printing, keep files on a computer and back them up with an external hard drive.
- Make the environment a factor in your key decisions. As you launch your startup and make key decisions for your business, make sure you keep the environment in mind. If you will offer a product, make plans to minimize packaging and streamline the shipping process. Consider allowing your employees to telecommute to avoid powering an office and save vehicle emissions. And if you have the opportunity to choose your own electricity supply, perhaps you should opt for a 100 percent renewable plan to offset your energy consumption.
Read more about businesses who have found big savings through sustainability here.