Going green is a big trend right now. However, do you need to offer green products and services in order to leverage that trend? Probably not… In fact, the first place you should focus is on internal practices: are you operating in an environmentally friendly way?
If there is opportunity to reduce resource and energy consumption in your internal processes, it is better to start there than to focus on developing green products or services. There are a few reasons why this makes sense.
First, with the prevalence of “green-washing”, external audiences will be cynical about green claims until you prove otherwise. So you must establish credibility. And that begins with internal practices. Reducing resource and energy consumption in production or operational areas and in the office will provide the proof.
Second, the improved efficiency with which you operate will yield expense savings. That capital can be invested in developing green products and services, or pricing existing products and services more competitively.
Third, the commitment to efficiency, in support of mitigating environmental impact will facilitate employee engagement in your business. Employees who have a green orientation will be energized by the results and more loyal and productive as a result. It will also be easier to attract new employees: environmental consciousness is an important factor in choosing where to work among the generational cohort now entering the workforce.
Lastly, you can make some green claims in how your product or service is created in order to promote your environmental commitment to your customers.
So going green from the inside out will give you quick results, establish credibility, and facilitate more substantive moves in the future. It is the best way to leverage sustainability for business opportunity.