The Green Initiative: How going Green can help your business

How the Green Initiative can Help Your Business!

greenIn today’s post-recession economy, it’s important for small businesses to take advantage of every opportunity to embrace innovation. This was a central theme in President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address, in which he discussed how the emerging green economy will provide the path to success for small businesses in the 21st century.

But how can you leverage the green energy economy to help your small businesses? There are several important options to consider.

A good first step for a small business would be to investigate how you can make green improvements to your existing infrastructure. Green energy, including solar, wind, geothermal, is not only safer and cleaner to produce — it’s often cheaper, saving money for businesses as well as consumers. It is a short-term investment that will likely pay for itself in the long run.

To create incentive for small businesses to retrofit their buildings with environmentally friendly doors and windows — or install solar panels for their own independent energy production, for example — the federal government and state governments have provided incentives, usually taking the form of tax credits, to ease the cost of making green updates.

The incentives vary based on the type and extent of green infrastructure improvements made, so check with your local chamber of commerce or other local government organizations to find out more about government benefits. With the passage of Assembly Bill 32 in 2006, California is on the forefront of nurturing a green energy economy. In fact, nearly 500,000 people in the state are already employed in green energy, the state’s fastest-growing economic sector. This is a direct result of its green-friendly public policy advancements.

Secondly, there may be ways for small businesses to strategically position themselves to benefit from the emerging green economy. There are obvious advantages for companies that are in the energy production and management industry. But the benefits often trickle down beyond energy companies to small businesses that offer a supporting green-friendly service.

For example, a human resources company that specializes in training skilled laborers may introduce solar panel installation to their training curriculum, making their personnel more enticing to small businesses and the population at large.

Third, going green may help your small business by fostering good will as a result of your company’s green-friendly practices. Conscientious consumers spend their money (and more of it!) at businesses that not only offer good products and services, but also those that do so in an environmentally respectful way. For companies large enough to benefit from institutional investors and hedge fund contributions, going green will win kudos from stockholders and investors, eager to support businesses that are embracing technology, innovation and social responsibility.

One of such companies is the Virgin Group, based in the UK. Despite the environmental damage caused by their air travel company, they have invested a significant amount of resources on fighting climate change and ensuring that their operations remain “carbon neutral.” Consumer confidence in the company is nearing an all-time high in 2011.

By investing in the transition into the green energy economy, you will help ensure your small business retains its competitive edge and continues to grow for years and decades to come.

For more information, visit these sites:

The business benefits of going green.

Why businesses are going green.

While being green can help your business, Our next article is on whether “Social Media in the Workplace, Beneficial or Productivity Killer?”

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