Because consumers are demanding more attention to the environmental impact of the goods they purchase, more and more companies are having to face the impact of green business trends in order to stay relevant to consumers. The changes that consumers are demanding have created major upsets in many manufacturing, marketing, logistics, and material production, but about 55% of consumers in more than 60 countries indicated a willingness to pay more their goods if they were sourced or purchased from companies that were notably environmentally conscious. Within the United States, that number jumps to about 71%, as American consumers are serious about the impact of their purchases on the environment. The consumer demand for going green can help boost revenue with companies that are willing to engage in a transition to more environmentally-friendly practices, but there are also the added benefits of reduced energy costs and potential tax incentives when their practices, products, and operations are more energy-efficient and sustainable. Here are some of the top trends in the ‘going green’ business arena.
Investing in Renewable Energy
Researchers and scientists debate how long the earth will be able to sustain the demands of human consumption, and millions of dollars are being invested in research and integration of renewable sources of energy. Sources like solar power, wind, and geothermal power have been creating sustainable practices in industries across the board, but there is a continued push to develop more innovative and renewable energy sources for mainstream use in business-to-consumer markets. The state of California is pushing solar energy panels for homeowners, and this is just one way that businesses can help offset their energy or usage costs. Solar panels have become more affordable, thanks to the recycling efforts of 3R Recycling in the U.S. and Bocai E-energy located in China. Some businesses are being increasingly innovative in their quest for usable energy, with one company turning sewage and food waste in fuel.
The opposite of conservation, waste generation can destroy energy sources, food supplies, or product availability. Some areas of waste require more conservation than others, such as food and water. The Cadiz Water Project is an innovated partnership between water agencies of Southern California and the desert agriculture business Cadiz Inc. The project’s purpose is to create a water supply that can be used by about 400,000 people each year. Water conservation isn’t the only area important to human life. Food shortages are a reality in many parts of the world, and the levels of waste reported around the world only make the problem worse. The group Feeding America estimates that around 70 billion pounds of food are thrown away in the U.S. each year. Not only does this reduce the amount of nutrition available for other parts of the world, but food waste also generates harmful gasses that contribute to global warming. In an effort to preserve the environment and help fellow man, many grocery stores, restaurants, and food producers are giving their excess to shelters or food banks. Many grocery chains have also revised their business model to reduce food waste by developing zero-waste stores and implemented food delivery services that are recipe-based.
Altering Houseware Items
Homeowners who need to conduct home renovations, remodels, and replacements of appliances will find that more eco-friendly options have hit the market. Consumers will find that construction companies now offer eco-friendly options with things like tiling and roofing, although large appliances like heating and air units, stoves, refrigerators, and laundry appliances are also being branded as eco-friendly. Shopping for home components that are branded with Energy Star ratings is one way to achieve a more green residence, but tankless water heaters, solar panels, insulated windows, and recycled flooring also improve your commitment to preserving resources and the environment. Rather than buying new furniture or fixtures, many homeowners are choosing to reclaimed or recycled materials in order to establish an environmentally friendly home.
Reducing the Carbon Footprint
Citizens and companies alike are being challenged to reduce their carbon footprint, with citizens being asked to invest in an electric or hybrid car, carpooling to work, or relying on a bicycle or foot power to get them to their destinations. Turning off computers and other electronics after use and unplugging them helps conserve energy, just as adding a recycling bin can help restore waste in an energy source. Companies have government regulations to enforce reduced carbon emissions, but green manufacturing and processes are encouraged to support the longevity of the environment. Companies are also being asked to consider more remote or telecommuting positions, as a way to reduce the traffic and emissions of a workforce that commutes each day and takes up large office spaces.
The future of going green will continue to look at renewable fuel sources, green infrastructure, carbon recycling, and legislative power that mandates change. The future of the environment rests with the decisions that are made each day, making change a priority if the earth and its resources are to be preserved.