Everyone these days talks about going “green” But what, exactly, does that mean? The term itself is used so loosely and covers a broad array of topics, that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes a green company “green” In the simplest of terms, green means earth or eco-friendly. Therefore a green company is one that employs the use of practices, principles, and policies in order to provide a product that will positively affect the environment. This can mean they’re trying to have as little negative impact as possible or they’re specifically making a product or offering a service that actually improves our environment.
Guidelines for Creating a Green Company
The basic guideline for creating a green company is referred to as the triple bottom line. This guideline dictates that ecological and social effects be taken into consideration and often put ahead of profits when creating a product/service. A model green company functions on three axes: people, planet and profit.
What Ecological Considerations Should a Green Company Make?
Pollution prevention. Work to minimize the amount of toxins used in a product as well as proper mitigation of toxins at the end of the manufacturing/cultivating process.
Recycling. The reduction of waste is emphasized throughout the entire process. Waste from the actual creation of a product as well as from staff is limited. Recycled materials are used when appropriate and the product itself should be easily recycled.
Water and energy conservation. The amount of water and energy used during distribution and manufacturing are kept to a minimum. The consumption of either of these sources is done so in a reserved and strategic manner. This can prove to be particularly beneficial for a company as energy costs run high. Alternative, renewable sources of energy allow a company to keep overhead low and waste and pollution at a minimum.
Sourcing. Truly green company’s source their products from green suppliers and make use of natural or organic raw materials. This in turn helps support the green community at large, pre-established green companies and encourages other businesses to consider going green.
Green Business Trends
Green marketing. Also known as greenwashing, the term refers to spinning PR to make a company appear eco-friendly. Consumers be forewarned. To ensure authenticity, do your own research.
Green buildings. Once an unavoidable source of negative environmental impact, with the help of government incentives more green companies are building (or re-building) their offices to be environmentally friendly.
Managing e-waste. More and more green companies are educating themselves on how to properly recycle and dispose of office electronics.
Transparency. Given the recent trend of greenwashing, authentically green companies are educating their consumer about their product from start to finish in an effort to help them make the right decision. Information about where the product is sourced from and what vendors the company deals with, is readily and eagerly shared with the public.
Popular Types of Green Companies
- Thrift/clothing stores.
- Green construction
- Lodging (hotels, camping parks, etc.)
- Transportation (ZipCar, Honda, etc.)
- Energy (solar, wind, biodiesel, etc.)