Tools & Technology

The benefits of going green for small businesses

XLN

Improving your eco-credentials isn't just good for the planet, it's good for your business.

Recent studies suggest that small businesses are going green at a rapid rate. And it’s not just because of Britain’s growing environmental conscience; being sustainable can improve your bottom line too. Here, we look at why going green makes solid business sense.

Lower bills

Most businesses perceive going green as something of a luxury, like buying organic produce at the supermarket. But in reality, it can be quite the opposite.

At its most basic level, being a more sustainable business is about consuming less energy. And less energy means lower energy bills. Energy-saving light bulbs are increasingly affordable, and turning off your PCs every night saves money with no effort or expenditure whatsoever.

Depending on your industry, these principles can be taken much further. You could power your premises with solar panels, or collect, use and recycle your own rainwater. It sounds expensive and irrelevant, but actually, over time, it can make a lot of financial sense.

Financial incentives

Most small businesses are too busy to know about the wide range of loans and grants available if you’re willing to invest in going green. But it’s actually well worth learning about.

There are a number of tax breaks, for example, that apply specifically to businesses that invest in energy-saving equipment and processes. These allowances can be extremely handy for new businesses, boosting cash-flow in your all-important first year.

Then there are a number of initiatives like the Energy Efficiency Financing Scheme, which offers financial support for businesses that invest in energy-efficient technology.

Happy employees

Everyone, including your employees, is more aware of environmental matters today than ever before.

So, when you’re recruiting people, they will care about how seriously you take sustainability. They will also get behind green initiatives that you promote.

And as you’ll have heard before, happy, motivated employees means happy customers.

Happy customers

Unsurprisingly, customers typically like green businesses too.

Countless surveys have proven that consumers prefer buying products and services from businesses that are actively green. In fact, many surveys suggest that customers are willing to pay higher prices if they know they’re buying from an environmentally ethical business.

For large corporations, making customers perceive them as green is a long and arduous task. For small businesses and start-ups, it’s easier and quicker – the green pound is within easy reach.

Good publicity

Going green will win you a lot of friends – and potentially, friends in high places.

Fruit4London is a greengrocer that delivers fruit to offices throughout London. When it started in 2008, it got a lot of press for its delivery method: bicycle. As it grew, it needed more practical transport, but to keep its positive, green brand, it invested in a fleet of electric vans. Not only has this saved them money in fuel, but they’ve received favourable press and a host of awards.

Elsewhere, Save the Date café is a café that only uses ingredients that bigger businesses are about to throw away. The dishes are different every night, and they help to make use of the huge amount of food that goes into landfill every day. Unsurprisingly, they’ve received a lot of positive press too.

For small businesses, green initiatives are an easy way of getting your name heard.