Sustainability is a key engine of economic recovery for businesses large and small, but even with all of the promise it holds small businesses may feel like sustainability is just another problem to worry about. While most people want to do the right thing, entrepreneurs and small business owners are often so busy just taking care of business that they can’t go green on their own. Organizations like the Green Business Bureau (GBB) can help them, making it easy and cost effective, and certifying their progress.
The largest corporations like Wal-Mart, DuPont, and 3M are committing significant resources to track, document, advance, report, and discuss their sustainability efforts. Many have Chief Sustainability Officers and green teams of employees who seek out opportunities to integrate sustainability throughout their business and their supply chains. In the book Green to Gold, authors Esty and Winston argue that sustainability is a major driver of profitability for businesses like these.
Although a growing number of small businesses would like to green their business, they worry that it will take too much time and too much money. People are squeezing every penny for all it’s worth, and many believe that green initiatives are an expensive luxury, helping the environment at the cost of their business.
The first step in getting started isn’t always changing your business, but changing your thinking to realize that going green doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice profits. Doing business in a more sustainable way makes solid business sense, and can provide the crucial edge to compete in a tough environment.
To make the transition to sustainability easier, the Green Business Bureau provides an on-line tool to track and record progress. When you sign up with the GBB, you get a welcome package and walk through a quick survey to see how you’re doing. The GBB system suggests green initiatives that will provide the most benefit for both your bottom line and the environment, taking into account the type of business that you run. As you keep working with the GBB and accomplish more, you gain certification that you can post at your site of business and on your website, letting others know of your accomplishments.
You can start with the simple things like changing your lightbulbs and work your way up from there. The benefits are many. Going green saves energy, saves water, and saves money throughout your business. It attracts customers and new business partners, and opens up new opportunities. Green businesses energize employees, boosting their productivity because they’re excited about the business.
To be valuable, green business certification can’t just be a label that is slapped on though. It must be credible and signify real progress people can count on. There is still work involved in making real change, and people need to know that green changes are real. One interesting aspect of what GBB is doing is that customers don’t have to take your word for what lies behind the green certification – they can see for themselves. Clicking on the GBB label on your website they can see the green steps that you’ve taken that are recorded in the GBB system, and by visiting your business or talking with you they can see it for themselves. The GBB is developing on-site verification as well. Certification makes sure that you, consumers, and business partners are all on the same page, the real green deal.
Some certification systems are complex, others are expensive, and some opaque. The GBB interface is so easy to use that even busy small business owners will find it a breeze. It also takes into account that going green is not just a destination but a journey. Going green is an ongoing process, with GBB tracking continued progress over time.
So maybe you’ve been sitting on the fence with your small business. Maybe you’ve been waiting for the economy to improve and for all of your other challenges to die down. There’s no time like the present though to see that going green is not a problem but a huge opportunity. The GBB can help you get off the fence and get started today in a new and better direction for your business and for the world.