Eco-friendliness is more than just a trend. What started as hype in the business world about a decade ago is now a standard parameter to measure a company’s performance, success and value. Twenty years ago, most companies didn’t make much effort to jump on the green bandwagon; economic success was too important and needed too much focus to spend extra money on protecting the environment. At least, this was the general way of thinking. But some businesses were different at the time and put early eco-friendly measures in place. It is certainly no surprise that those companies are the winners in today’s race to be green. Much has changed recently, above all consumer’s awareness and mentality, and nowadays a company has to be eco-friendly in order to be taken seriously.
The battle to be the most eco-friendly company is, after all, not hard to understand. Eco-friendliness pays off in many ways: maybe investments and hurdles appeared on the way to becoming a green company, but in the long run not only the company’s reputation benefits – a truly green company needs less energy, which in turn leads to lower business energy bills and extra money that can be invested in other projects. Whilst it is true that today’s winners of the green race are the companies that took initiative a long time ago (a company simply doesn’t become green overnight) it is also a fact that every company, small or large, can make changes and adjustments and become more eco-friendly with some simple steps. So let’s have a look at the 5 famous examples of the green winners and see what we, as companies, can learn from them.
IBM is the absolute winner of the green race. Already back in 1971 they were an avid champion of implementing eco-friendly measures at corporate level and they have been following this trend ever since. In 2012 they received the European Union Code of Conduct for Data Centers Award, a recognition for their long term efforts. In fact, they have been one of the first eco-friendly companies back in a time when the concept of climate change was something too vague to be concerned about.
Additionally their Smarter Planet Initiative has successfully engaged consumer to get involved and lead a greener and more sustainable life. Education and innovation within the digital and social media space is their key to success.
Lesson 1: Don’t be afraid of doing things no one else does. Be innovative and include your customers in your efforts.
Volkswagen is famous for many things: safe and elegant cars, high quality products, top engineering and eco-friendliness. Volkswagen cars always lead the top 10 lists of the most eco-friendly cars in the world thanks to their holistic approach to producing high-efficient, eco-conscious cars, fueled by TDI clean diesel gas. The company went a step further and invented the concept of “thinking blue,” which stands for saving energy and living more efficiently. A wealth of tips and advice can be found on their ‘Think Blue Blog.”
Lesson 2: Don’t be just eco-friendly. Don’t make choices between eco-friendliness and other values. Opt for a holistic approach and promote it.
A more holistic approach is also followed by Sony. They don’t just focus on being energy efficient, but they shine when it comes to social responsibility and sustainability. They put their values into practice through volunteerism and are well known leaders in this field. Over 20,000 Sony employees have gathered food for the hungry, built homes for people who couldn’t afford it, cleaned polluted water resources, and done so much more to help disadvantaged people and protect the environment.
Lesson 3: Volunteer for important things – it will certainly not harm you.
Samsung Electronics also leads the green wave but with a different approach. They are dedicated to the greening of its management, products, processes, workplace, and communities – a holistic approach to become green within the company. However, they didn’t stop there, they also put a take-back and recycle program into place: old products can be given back in stores, and are recycled in the most efficient way possible. The volume of unrecoverable material is minimized which does make a big difference given the amount of old electronic devices our planet has to deal with.
Lesson 4: Make changes from the inside out and stick to simple but efficient measures.
5) Walt Disney
Walt Disney has been a symbol of childhood memories for decades but they also pride themselves on spreading three core values of citizenship and sustainability throughout the world: Act, Champion and Inspire. Act ethically and consider the consequences your decisions have on other people and the planet. Champion happiness and well-being of kids and families. Inspire kids and families to make positive changes in the world that last.
Some might argue that Walt Disney’s efforts are not tangible enough but their positivity and vast reach of people can’t be denied and will certainly make up for it. After all they successfully inspire the next generation on a daily basis.
Lesson 5: You don’t have to be extremely serious and formal to make a difference. Creativity and an optimistic approach can go a long way.
This article is written by Bea, freelance writer on behalf of British Gas Business.