You’ve likely noticed the growing trend of small businesses ‘going green.’ More and more businesses are operating on green power in an effort to help the environment. For some of these businesses, it goes beyond the positive environmental impacts, ‘going green’ is a way for the company to build its branding and profitability.
The Growing Trend in Small Business
Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) released an updated list of organizations that voluntarily choose to use clean, renewable electricity to run their business. Wind, low-impact hydropower, and solar energy qualify as “green” power. Many of these companies power their business with 100 percent green energy. Of the 1,300 companies that participate in the EPA’s Green Power Partnership program, more than half are small businesses. Blaine Collison, the Green Power Partnership’s director, claims it doesn’t take long to make your business “green,” which is important for smaller businesses that don’t have the time or manpower to devote to expansive changes to convert their business.
The Green Power Partnership program is simple—you call your energy provider and ask about their green power options and how you can switch over your business. If your energy provider doesn’t have a green option, the EPA has created a handy online locator tool to assist you in finding a green option provider near you.
One drawback: you’ll likely spend slightly more money month over month. But you won’t have to install a wind turbine or solar panels in order to change over your company’s energy source. Instead, you will be purchasing renewable energy credits, which are essentially purchasing units of power that the energy provider agrees to obtain from a sustainable source.
Employee-retention and Customer Loyalty
Proponents believe that the benefits of going green extend well beyond the environmental impacts. For example, they believe that you can boost your business by increasing employee-retention rates and customer loyalty. By boasting a green energy business, you are publicly endorsing a “way of life” or a philosophy for your business, and those customers and employees that embrace this philosophy will appreciate this. It is something special for a small business to be able to brag that it operates using 100 percent green power. These bragging rights can be an extremely valuable (and powerful) message that you convey to your employees and customers.
In addition, it’s a way for you to differentiate your business from the competition. Positive differentiation is an important marketing tool for any business in any industry.