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Green Spending And The Uncertain Economy

economic_downturn.jpgWith the economic crisis, the green movement has been slowing down due to tightening cash flows. But Andrew Winston writes on the Leading Green blog that “delaying action on sustainability plans may be the absolute wrong thing to do for your business.”

That’s because one of the main pillars of going green is to be more efficient and effective with resources and that in turn may help reduce costs. Winston writes that the “economic recession won’t stem the tide of the Green Wave.”

Here are four green strategies for an uncertain economy from the blog:

1. Cut waste
Waste reductions can free up cash while generating environmental benefits. Wal-Mart is calling on suppliers to reduce packaging by 5 percent in the next five years and estimates that this could save $3 billion in transportation costs through 2013. Wal-Mart suppliers are also expected to save $8 billion from reduced material and transportation costs.

Verizon recently moved more than 3 million customers to paperless billing and saved $8 million in paper and administrative costs. It also saved another $2.7 million by moving its payroll, training, and HR systems online.

2. Invest in efficiency
The McKinsey Global Institute recently published a report that says economic uncertainty can drive more investment in energy efficiency because efficiency costs less than meeting demand through new supplies.

3. Design highly efficient products and processes
More efficient systems require less money than traditional systems, and that’s always a good thing during a financial crisis.

4. Spend time rather than money
During a downturn, companies may have more time to plan and think ideas through, as well as including participants all along the value chain. This way, companies can avoid difficulties and do-overs that cause costs to escalate.

Kevin Wilhem, CEO of Sustainable Business Consulting, recently wrote on EL that sustainability is businesses’ best defense against recession.

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