Lifestyle

20+ Benefits of Going Green (for a Business and at Home)

Nowadays, sustainability is no longer a matter of preference; it should be our way of life.

Going green has numerous benefits — it helps make the planet habitable and sustainable for future generations.

Let’s get into the most important benefits of going green for business and personal reasons, as discussed by experts:

Benefits of Going Green for a Business

Josh Prigge

Josh Prigge

Host, Sustainable Nation Podcast | Founder & CEO, Sustridge

Benefits of sustainability certifications

When I was the director of regenerative development at Fetzer Vineyards, I helped the company become the first Zero Waste certified wine company in the world, the first CarbonNeutral certified wine company in the US, and one of a handful of wine companies around the world to achieve B Corp certification.

These certifications help consumers and stakeholders understand that the company has gone through a third-party verification process to make sure the company is actually walking the walk regarding sustainability. They also help engage employees. Employees are proud to see their hard work recognized with certifications and the associated press and media attention.

For example, when we became Zero Waste certified at Fetzer, we noticed more employees becoming engaged in waste reduction practices, and we increased our waste diversion rates each year after. The B Corp certification brings along a whole other level of benefits because the community of Certified B Corps is more than just a group of certified businesses; it’s a movement.

Becoming a B Corp communicates that your business has met the highest standards for social and environmental responsibility in business, and more and more consumers are interested in this. A growing number of consumers are looking to purchase from and support businesses that share their values and beliefs. B Corp certification helps to communicate this.

Also, fellow B Corp certified businesses love to support each other, so it is an extremely valuable community to be a part of.

Brand loyalty and attracting young consumers

According to The Nielsen Company, about three in four Millennials (74%) and Generation Z consumers (72%) are willing to pay more for sustainable products and services. The report states that consumer brands that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability outperform those that don’t, growing 4% globally compared to less than 1%.

In addition, 86% of consumers are willing to switch brands to one associated with a great cause given similar price and quality, according to the 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study.

Meeting demands of retailers

The trend continues to grow in which large retailers are assessing the sustainability impacts within their supply chain, and having a strong sustainability program can help ensure your company meets these growing expectations.

Walmart is one large retailer that is currently setting ambitious targets within their supply chain with Project Gigaton, in which the company seeks to reduce a gigaton of GHG emissions within their supply chain (from the companies that sell products in Walmart stores). More and more retailers are likely to begin assessing the sustainability efforts of the companies they work with and purchase from.

Reduced operating costs

A comprehensive sustainability program will benefit a business’s bottom line by reducing operating costs. Reducing a business’s impact on the environment means reducing waste, reducing water, reducing energy, reducing emissions, and working more efficiently, all of which lead to reducing costs and saving money.

Risk mitigation

Continuing to improve and enhance sustainability programs and initiatives helps companies reduce risks associated with future regulations from the state and federal government and the future physical risks associated with a changing climate such as water shortages, extreme weather, and supply chain disruptions, and volatile energy markets.

California has set some ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and will be developing new policies and ordinances to help transition the state to a low carbon future. One example of this is AB 1826, which requires all businesses that produce at least one cubic yard of solid waste per week to have mandatory organic waste recycling in place.

We are also seeing these political and physical risks of climate change being addressed by companies at large investors’ demand. The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) is a framework developed to help corporations disclose these climate risks along with their financial disclosures, and this initiative is picking up momentum.

Increased PR and marketing opportunities

Establishing a business as a sustainability leader leads to many wonderful opportunities to get your company’s name out in the press. Journalists and media outlets love to talk about sustainability and businesses that are leading the way for sustainability.

These opportunities can provide free publicity for the company that could equate to thousands of dollars that would otherwise need to be spent by the marketing department.

Tyler Butler

Tyler Butler

Corporate Social Responsibility Practitioner | Founder & CEO, 11Eleven Consulting

Choosing more eco-friendly products are serving to benefit the planet and people simultaneously

Companies are now faced with the challenge of turning the buzzword “green” into an actual benefit for their business. Taking a stance and implementing sustainability programs is no longer relegated to a preference or used for good PR.

Public opinion and changes in government regulations have made going green a defining factor in any company’s commercial viability.

According to The Natural Marketing Institute, consumers are 58% more likely to purchase a company’s products or services when they know that the organization is mindful of its impact on the environment and society. What’s more, taking steps towards greater conservation increases productivity and reduces costs.

By simply streamlining processes and operations, any organization can decrease costs and improve efficiencies, thus making its efforts to go green genuine.

These measures are also extremely valuable to the millennial and Generation Z age groups, which will soon be dominant in our workforce. “Doing the right thing” has increasingly become paramount, where recruiting and retention of this valuable demographic is concerned. So important, in fact, that A Global Study of Business Ethics by the American Management Association found that programs related to corporate responsibility and sustainability are among the top five considerations for ensuring an ethical corporate culture.

Perhaps most importantly, the overall impact this shift in priorities will continue to have on the communities where organizations and their teams work, live, and play. The obvious environmental benefits support healthier living and will serve to help future generations.

Small changes, such as choosing more eco-friendly products, are serving to benefit the planet and people simultaneously. Making responsible “green” purchases provides an opportunity for brands to showcase their commitment to going green and to society’s overall wellbeing and health.

Through a variety of small, deliberate actions, companies can make their commitment to going green an integral component of their organization. Weaving green practices and policies into their larger corporate culture and creating an environment where society and the planet can thrive simultaneously.

Eric Corey Freed

Eric Corey Freed

Green Architect | Senior Vice President of Sustainability, CannonDesign | Author, “Green Building and Remodeling For Dummies

We can design vibrant, healthy, and resilient places that make people feel better

I don’t really think of it as “going green.” You don’t wake up one day and suddenly care about health, the climate crisis, and biodiversity. The very question implies that the traditional way we live is “normal,” and to be green is somehow an alternative to that.

In truth, you can’t afford not to “go green.” The traditional way we build buildings is stupid, creating wasteful, expensive, and unhealthy spaces in which we live and work. Buildings are huge consumers of energy and resources, and we can save significant amounts simply by being smarter in how we design them.

The biggest expense in any building is the people, and so we can design vibrant, healthy, and resilient places that make people feel better.

For example, we can achieve the following outcomes in our projects:

  • Reduced Absenteeism (through the use of fresh air)
  • Higher Productivity (through the selection of healthy finishes)
  • Boost in Cognitive Performance (by designing an approach to daylight & views)
  • Higher Valuations (through certification & process)
  • Talent Retention (through wellness & air quality)
  • Lower Premiums (by planning for resilience)
  • Slash in Operating Costs (in energy performance)
  • Higher Profit per Square Foot (using post-occupancy evaluations)
  • Future-Proofing (by planning for energy & carbon futures)

By going green, you can see all of these benefits and more:

  • Reduced employee absenteeism
  • Improved health
  • Increased mood and feeling of well-being
  • Improved productivity
  • Increased employee engagement
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Mental restoration & reduced fatigue

Benefits of Going Green at Home

Dr. Joshua M. Pearce

Joshua Pearce

Richard Witte Professor of Materials Science & Engineering | Professor Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering | Director, Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology (MOST) Lab

One of the primary benefits of going green for yourself is financial

Although there are many benefits for other people — both those around now and your children’s children– one of the primary benefits of going green for yourself is financial.

Consider solar powering your home, for example. You can think of a solar rooftop as a low-risk long-term investment that generally provides a high return on investment (ROI). Solar photovoltaics (PV) produce electricity silently, last 25 years under warranty, and require almost zero maintenance.

Building integrated solar, like those produced by Tesla and other companies, even eliminates the need for (and the cost of) a conventional roof.

Solar has come down so far in cost that more or less everyone will save money over the normal charges for grid electricity. Some households will do really well (e.g., ROI>10%). This is a particularly good investment now given the volatility of the market and the uncertainty that the pandemic brings.

Solar is going to work and cut your electric bills (possibly down to $0) no matter if things go back to normal or you are locked in at home under quarantine. This works everywhere. For example, we did a study that looked at the potential for solar in snowy and cloudy Michigan. We found that every household in Michigan will save on their electric bill if they install solar.

Jeremy Macdonald, SFP, MCR, LEED-AP

Jeremy Macdonald

Global Energy and Sustainability Director, ISS World services A/S

Going green for cleaning saves money and saves the environment

One of the most common misconceptions about going green is that it increases costs. This may be true when a product is a new or luxury good; however, the sustainable solution costs less money over time. Corporate cleaning is a perfect example of this.

Cleaning involves removing dirt and dust, sanitizing reduces bacteria, and disinfecting kills the specific bacteria or viruses that the disinfectant is designed for.

If you add those elements together, you may assume that the best solution is to buy a lot of disinfectants and spray it all over. Then you would need to wipe it up, so you would grab some paper towels and finish the job. However, this would be the most expensive approach and take the biggest toll on the environment.

It also wouldn’t be the most effective for actually cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning a surface first removes the particles that block the disinfectant from killing the bacteria or viruses. Cleaning can be done with chemicals that are less harsh.

Disinfecting has better options too. In fact, you can use liquid ozone, which is better at disinfecting and non-toxic. This product is readily available for commercial solutions. When it is time to wipe up the disinfectant from the clean surface, reach for the micro-fiber cloth.

It is reusable, so the total cost of ownership is drastically reduced. Washing the cloth uses less water than making new paper-based products. Everything has some environmental cost, and micro-fiber still has an environmental footprint. It is just smaller than most paper products over time.

In short, choosing the right chemicals, processes, and cleaning cloths will reduce cost and environmental impact. Going green for cleaning saves money and saves the environment.

Seema Thomas

Seema Thomas

Adjunct Professor at University of the District of Columbia

I frequently discuss this subject of going green. Often times people equate going green with more expensive products or expensive or time-consuming processes. In fact, it doesn’t have to be that way.

For each individual or household, the process of going green can look different, but make a big impact on our shared experience on this planet.

Being green enables us to minimize our expenses

When we use an item to its true end of life, it means we’re not frequently buying replacements, which saves money. This is relevant to clothing, textiles, electronics, etc. Many items are very functional, but we get bored of them, and one can be creative with upcycling or findings ways to “spruce” it up.

In another instance, using more public transportation or micro-mobility options, like scooters, bicycles, reduces our dependency on nonrenewable energy sources as well as reducing our gas/vehicle expenses. Energy consumption is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases. It’s a step that helps our purse pockets as well as the planet.

Being green is greater control and awareness

As an example, when we grow vegetables from our scraps, we can deliberately avoid pesticides and their broader impact on the environment, while protecting our bodies, waterways, and soil.

Finally, another benefit is understanding and reinforcing our connection to others (sentient beings included). When we take that moment to recycle, repurpose, and reuse, we understand how our actions and behaviors affect others, an important benefit in this highly interconnected/interdependent world.

Gilbert Michaud, Ph.D.

Gilbert Michaud

Assistant Professor of Practice at Ohio University

Rooftop solar energy can dramatically reduce homeowners’ electricity bills

Investing in green energy, such as rooftop solar on your home, can stem from a number of drivers, such as environmental altruism and concern for climate change. However, the biggest driver for a lot of folks pertains to the cost and economic variables.

Rooftop solar energy can dramatically reduce homeowners’ electricity bills, and many can pay off their systems in under ten years. Solar energy systems also increase property values and can help support jobs in a local economy.

As one increasingly common strategy to “going green,” solar energy can bring a variety of economic, environmental, and other benefits. Moreover, installation costs have been drastically declining over the past decade, and many financial incentives exist, such as the federal investment tax credit offered to homeowners, so investing now can be a really smart decision.

Luke Cove

Luke Cove

Director, Lightning Solar & Electrical

Green energy products like solar can save you a considerable amount of money on your electricity bills

Moving towards a green future can give you a large sense of pride, knowing that you are doing your part in acting against the climate crisis. By going green, you are promoting values such as consideration, compassion, and integrity.

These values can be resonated within your local communities, family & friends, and workspace and ultimately gaining your popularity. When you take the stance to go green, you are not only helping the planet, but you are also helping yourself.

When you decide to go green, you are protecting future generations. People are grateful for your action in keeping our planet’s longevity high.

People who live a greener lifestyle will also liver a cheaper lifestyle. Organic products have a longer life span and a recycling option, meaning you will be spending less on your products.

Green energy products like solar can save you a considerable amount of money on your electricity bills, easing up your cash flow to spend on friends, family, or self-growth. A greener future is a much smarter future.

CJ Xia

CJ Xia

VP of Marketing & Sales, Boster Biological Technology

Going green is one of the best things you can do around yourself to benefit from in multiple ways. Going green requires you to be environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible. It is essential to practice going green if we want to preserve the natural resources for the coming generations.

Here are a few ways you benefit from going green:

Economic Benefits

To benefit economically from going green, we can increase renewable energy sources and save the money spent on electricity bills. You can even reduce water bills by installing water-saving appliances in your home. You can also start practicing the use of recyclable products, which will last longer and save money spent on maintenance.

Health Benefits

We can all agree that less pollution leads to better health, and the more the greenery, the lesser the air pollutants. Going green helps to keep rainforests alive, which act as air purifiers. Pollutants eventually lead to acid rain affecting the vegetables we eat and leads to fishes being heavily contaminated with metal.

Environmental Benefits

Going green has numerous environmental benefits. Organic farming reduces greenhouse gases and lowers air pollution. It helps save rainforests and helps preserve the ecosystem. It also helps us minimize wastage when we use recyclable products.

Viktorija Zenkova

Viktorija Zenkova

Owner, EcoFreek

Going green can bring hundreds of benefits not only to the environment but to your life too. But before I get into these benefits, I first want to explain what it means to go green:

Unlike popular belief, going green isn’t about stopping using your favorite products. It’s more about finding an eco-friendly way of still using the product.

Going green is about making a conscious decision to help preserve the planet and all the creatures that live in it. In essence, it’s about:

  • Conserving natural resources
  • Decreasing pollution
  • Eliminate waste
  • Using sustainable products

And the best thing is, you don’t even have to do it perfectly; all we ask is you do it imperfectly.

You see, getting everyone to recycle perfectly or never use plastic products again is an impossible task. But, if we aim to do it all imperfectly, the positive results would be astonishing.

Benefits of going green

As I mentioned earlier, it is not all about making massive changes to your life; going green is more about bringing benefits to your life. And here are three of the best:

Saves money

Going green doesn’t have to cost more; it can actually save you money in a lot of areas. Thinking about how you heat your house and how much energy your use can significantly reduce your quarterly bills.

And it gets better! Because we stop using as much energy, it also means we create less pollution. Here are some ways you can save money by going green:

  • Solar panels
  • Smart thermostats
  • Water usage monitor

Improves the quality of air

Thinking green can help you improve the air quality and make you feel healthier and more productive.

One reason is we create less pollution, but there are reasons a lot closer to home. When we go green, we start to think about the chemicals we use in our house.

The fewer chemicals we use, the better condition the air stays. The other simple reason is, green people tend to have more plants in their homes, cleaning the air.

Reduces water pollution

Natural water sources have been overrun with pollution by manufacturers tipping their waste products or humans chucking plastic on the floor.

But it goes deeper than this. The fertilizers used in farming are running off into the soil and water sources. All of these chemicals are causing extreme harm, not only to animals but humans too.

Stephanie Seferian

Stephanie Seferian

Host, The Sustainable Minimalists Podcast | Owner, Mama Minimalist

Although I never expected it at the outset, I have experienced 2 significant benefits from going green, including the following:

Saved money

Citing convenience, corporations have hooked consumers on pre-packaged disposable products, and for selfish reasons: Because disposables run out, consumers spend money on the same product over and over again (which in turn just makes corporate CEOs wealthier).

But buying disposable again and again wastes money as the years go by. While replacing common disposable items like Ziploc bags, napkins, and paper towels with their greener counterparts may require a bigger upfront cost, significant savings from the practice abound in the long run.

In my experience, I have found that the three reusables that have saved me the most money are my menstrual cup over pads and tampons (which saves me $120 per year) as well as making and baking my own snacks like popcorn, potato chips, and more at home as opposed to buying them pre-packaged.

While I’m not exactly sure how much money cooking saves me, I do notice that my weekly grocery bill is about $60 less than before I had started the practice. And cutting up rags from old, stained clothing and using them in place of disposable paper towels? Doing so saves me nearly $50 per year.

Increased self-sufficiency

My grandparents and great-grandparents were self-reliant. They survived an economic depression and major world wars; as such, they understood the importance of fostering age-old skills, just in case.

But these days, my generation is removed from crisis. Many of us are heavily dependent on buying products that make life easier as a result. This lack of perspective, coupled with reliance on convenience means, are vulnerable.

Preparing for job loss or sudden illness isn’t futile; it’s smart. And when it comes to climate change? As devastating storms increase in frequency, we may find ourselves relying on our great-grandparents’ long-lost skills to get us through.

Living an eco-friendly existence has also forced me to adopt self-sufficient skills, including the following:

  • gardening for fresh fruit and vegetables not packaged in plastic
  • composting (for reducing food waste, diverting food from landfills, and creating nutrient-rich soil)
  • mending clothes (instead of throwing them out and buying more)
  • preserving food for the winter by freezing, dehydrating, drying, and canning (instead of always relying on the supermarket)
  • making my own cleaning products at home from non-toxic ingredients (instead of buying hazardous chemicals in plastic bottles)

Related: 10 Best Books on Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Living

Katie O’Hara

Katie O'Hara

Conservation Manager, Loggerhead Marinelife Center

A green lifestyle is better for our planet, our wildlife, and our health

The benefits of going green are endless. A “green” lifestyle is better for our planet, our wildlife, and even our health! By actively incorporating conscious, sustainable practices into everyday life like reducing single-use plastics, limiting water and energy consumption, eating less meat and choosing sustainable seafood options, and reducing emissions by walking and biking instead of driving, and being a conscious consumer, you can help save valuable resources and keep our planet clean, healthy, and safe.

For example, eliminating single-use plastic water bottles from your daily life will help reduce ocean plastics and greenhouse gas emissions, and it’s better for your health. Studies have shown that individuals who drink solely from single-use plastic water bottles ingest tens of thousands more microplastic pieces yearly than drinking tap water from a glass or a reusable bottle.

By starting small and choosing one sustainable action to implement in your everyday life, you can help prevent climate change, reduce the ocean plastic pollution problem, and so much more to help keep our planet green.

Abdullah Green

Abdullah Green

Founder, Green Steel

Going green can benefit your health and the environment

Regardless of wherever you are, people are focused on going green, and with a little bit of digging, it’s not hard to see why.

Going green can benefit your health and the environment, not to mention it’s great for your back pocket. The biggest savings can come from your energy costs when switching to solar. Initially, it is a sizeable downpayment, but in the long-term solar energy will come out on top for efficiency.

In fact, studies have shown households can save up to 20% on their electricity bills. When you look beyond the individual household, switching to solar energy will slow the effects of climate change, giving you even more reason to make the switch today.

Switching to a ‘green’ diet will also reduce the need for animal agriculture, which is the biggest contributing factor to the global carbon footprint. Research suggests that people who eat red meat are at an increased risk of death from various diseases. When we look beyond red meat, studies have indicated that humans could be consuming five grams of microplastics every week because of polluted water.

Related: 30+ Easy Eco-Friendly Swaps

There are simple solutions to counter this: use a stainless steel drinkware brand and refill as and when necessary.

Chris Norris

Chris Norris

Certified Sleep Science Coach | Managing Editor, SleepStandards

With the ongoing pandemic, the planet has sent a clear message of the need for global rehabilitation and restoration. As a fellow inhabitant of this beautiful earth, now is a perfect time to “go green” more than ever. Going green helps the planet heal, and we, as humans, be more mindful of our home that we often take for granted.

Aside from the obvious reason, here are three other benefits of “going green”:

It develops community relationships

A common purpose brings people together, especially if that goal is to create a cleaner and brighter future for future generations. For businesses, this can lead to meaningful engagement with local communities to affect change and implement social improvement changes, which in turn will have the side effect of improving your brand image.

It can help improve health

Studies have shown that going green creates a healthier, safer environment. Developing sustainable lifestyle choices, such as walking or biking to work, or eating organic products, are not only beneficial to the environment, but to personal health.

It helps reduce costs

Saving water and electricity by adopting various eco-friendly alternatives will greatly reduce costs, both in homes and workplaces. Examples of this are water-free urinals and natural lighting alternatives. Efficient technology can also help reduce costs, such as shifting to LED bulbs, having a smart thermostat.

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