Tracy Clarkson is a Business Link adviser
RESEARCH by The Carbon Trust, a Government-backed organisation that promotes efficient use of energy, found only a third of business leaders are working on introducing greener products and services.
In a time when companies are feeling the pinch, businesses could benefit financially and economically from implementing greener working practices.
Every business owner has a legal responsibility to limit the impact their business has on the environment. Many businesses realise that acting in a socially and environmentally responsible way is more than just a legal duty.
Going beyond environmental compliance and implementing good environmental and sustainable practices can bring business benefits.
One of the most obvious is reducing energy usage. Implementing more efficient processes, using more efficient equipment and changing day-to-day behaviour can save you money. The Carbon Trust estimates that many businesses could cut their energy costs by 10%.
Reducing your use of raw materials such as paper can cut costs, minimise waste and lower waste disposal bills. You can explore alternatives such as email marketing which will massively reduce your impact on the environment. Email marketing also has the benefit of providing greater insight and feedback into your marketing efforts.
You can reduce your water waste disposal costs and save money on bills by working out how much you use and putting simple measures in place to cut use. You can also reduce the hidden, indirect costs of water use such as the energy used for heating, pumping and treatment.
Recycling materials and equipment can save on disposal costs and even make you money. You may be able to sell old equipment to subsidise the cost of buying new ones.
Having good environmental practices in place can bring benefits for your business. Many Government organisations and large companies will only work with businesses that take environmentally responsibility seriously.
Sustainable practices can improve your brand value and reputation. Consumer habits have changed in recent years and customers prefer to buy from environmentally-friendly and ethical companies.
Business Link has expert advisers if you are looking to improve green credentials. For information about Business Link, visit www.businesslink.gov.uk/northeast or call 0845 600 9006.