• Kimberley Greed
  • 4 October 2012

Turning the tables: what the environment can do for your business

Environmental management is becoming increasingly popular, especially with growing environmental concerns and legislation. Most businesses are embracing their responsibilities and the opportunities that environmental management can bring, and yet there are some that have yet to realise that being environmentally conscious isn’t a hindrance. They must ask not what their business can do for the environment, but what the environment can do for their business.

To start with, helping the environment can save you money. This may run contrary to traditional belief, but in fact many of the harmful activities that businesses undertake come at some expense because resources are costly. For example: reducing resources such as gas and electricity consumption not only helps the environment but saves money. The easiest gains a business can make are by reducing wasted and excess consumption. But businesses can make savings in many areas – most businesses don’t realise that on average it’s 20% cheaper to recycle than send waste to landfill. By having a rigorous recycling system in place companies could save around 20% of their waste collection costs.

If the cost savings alone can’t entice the most sceptical of businesses, then maybe they should turn to their stakeholders. There has been a massive surge in environmental issues, and this has filtered down into shareholder and customer expectations about business ethics. Environmental Management is an excellent marketing technique, advertising that your business offers what your consumers want, but without causing unnecessary environmental harm. This isn’t just about jumping on the environmental bandwagon; it’s about meeting contemporary concerns and staying ahead of the competition.

Considering all this, why is it that some businesses can’t see the economic benefits of environmental management? Well, those long outdated myths need to be forgotten. Environmental Management certainly isn’t a bad thing from a business perspective, and fully understanding your relation with the environment can hail many gains - but it’s up to you to take that initiative.