Thursday, June 7, 2012

Green and Lean

Why do people think that doing right for your community and the environment has to cost more?
It does not.
Some examples that I have recently run across:
Deliveries... using a bike. Just like when I was a kid. Works great for local stuff.
Furniture... that is "previously used". Nothing wrong with that, but now it can be marketed as eco-friendly
Urban gardens... I grew up in an Italian/Polish neighbourhood. Nothing new about urban gardens then... but now doctors, lawyers and other professionals are doing it. Heck, Concordia University was having some workshops on it.
So what.
Fair enough, but this type of thinking can be transmitted to your daily affairs. That can save you money while giving a LIKE to the environment and community.
Some once thought that that email was "quaint" but I am willing to bet that you get more emails in a day than your parents received letters (not junk mail) in a year. That does not seem so quaint; after all there are estimates of 300 billion emails sent, per day.
Some once that thought social media was "small" as it was only for kids and they would grow out of it. Then grandparents starting using it to see their kids; soccer teams starting using it to see their matches and people started using it to renew or make new friends. Say what you want but a billion social media users does not seem so small now.
So what? If you apply some of this thinking to your business you may be able to make that leap from x to 2x. Which seems too mathematical, but if you are making $400,000 per year now, how would you feel if you were making $800,000 per year? What would it do for your business and your lifestyle? How about if you could do it while saving money, helping your community and being nicer to the environment?
Those boring accountants (we all know a few) are actually starting to think of ways that you can save money (use less materials) and still grow your business. Words like "sustainability" are making it into everyday business and not just in glossy brochures put out by the oil companies. What if you could do good while marketing and increasing your business reach?
Boring things like:
Reducing packaging - think reusable bags versus the old plastic
Reducing transport costs - buying local - reduces energy cost while helping the local community
The traditional BIG firm CFO Mantra of "do more with less" has made its way back to the small business movement
Firms are even taking a look at big capital expenditures and looking at environmental impact as part of their buying analysis. One manufacturing company built a new manufacturing plant and decided to make the facility as green as possible by eliminating excess materials and reducing hazardous materials. Another real estate developer thought that saving the nearby trees - which an environmental group wanted to do, would actually increase the value of his overall project.
These are small steps. The world is a big place. There are a lot of people in the world. If we all take small steps that make economic sense we will all be better off.

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