Nine out of 10 Americans believe companies should do more things to protect the environment. That’s a lot!

If you run a business, your green practices can impress people and lead to increased sales, reports Simon Wicks, editor of Enterprise Nation. “By adopting sustainable practices and engaging with the local community over green issues, a business helps positively enhance its public image, and thus attract new customers,” he says, citing research showing that businesses that include a corporate social responsibility focus in their media initiatives enjoy 35 to 50 percent more positive media coverage.

Sustainability brings multiple business benefits

Going green can boost your business in other ways, too, according to sustainability executive Laura M. Thompson. In an article she wrote for Environmental Leader, Thompson points to numerous case studies showing that sustainable business practices can help companies cut costs, reduce employee turnover, increase productivity and attract top talent. “An investment in sustainability, people, planet and prosperity’ is not only a form of corporate philanthropy, but is also core to how a company can succeed and prosper as a business,” she says.

The good news is, it’s not hard to start implementing green initiatives that can help your company become more efficient and stand out from your competition.

How to ease your company into going green

A good strategy is to go for the lowest hanging fruit first. These are simple, easy things that make a difference your employees and customers (and your bookkeeper!) can see right away. Some examples include:

  • Installing energy-efficient light bulbs
  • Recycling
  • Switching to electronic record-keeping
  • Printing on both sides of the paper

You can also do fun things to increase employee awareness of your new green focus. For example, to encourage your employees to bike, walk or carpool to work, ask them to keep track of driving miles saved. Set a goal for your team and treat them to an office party when the goal is reached!

Growing ever greener

Once you’ve got the easy measures down pat, gradually add more sustainable practices to your repertoire. Here are some ideas:

  • Air-seal and insulate your building
  • Replace your company car with a hybrid
  • Add native landscaping
  • Invest in solar energy

Of course, you don’t have to wait until you’ve become a green business guru to invest in some of these more advanced measures. In fact, making a bold move like installing solar can create even more buzz for companies that don’t yet have a big reputation for going green. And it will benefit them just as much in all the other ways, too.

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