Go green or go home? How and why your business should go green

2019 has seen the opening of Johannesburg’s first zero waste shop, McDonald’s rethink its packaging, and grocers going ‘nude’. The world is waking up to our environmental crisis and brands must too if they want to stay ethical in the eyes of consumers.

More and more companies are looking to become greener. HKLM client, Nedbank leads the way in South African finance by sponsoring the Nedbank Sustainable Business Awards, offering carbon finance services, and lending responsibly.

You know it’s a big deal when industry giants like McDonald’s and Nedbank are doing it, but if that’s not convincing enough, how about this: in 2012, 72% of consumers would recommend a brand that supports a good cause over one that doesn’t. So not only will going green lower your impact on the planet, you can milk it in your marketing by being transparent.

So how can your company become green?

  1. Reducing paper use

Switch from unnecessary piles of forms and briefs to digital presentations, email communication and shared, editable documents to save paper. Not only will this cut paper and printing costs, it will also reduce your company carbon footprint by reducing the amount of trees cut down for your paper.

  1. Monitoring power usage

Green energy is still expensive. It’s getting there, but in the interim, focus on cutting your energy requirements by installing motion-sensitive lights, switching to LED bulbs, and investing in insulated windows. While the upfront cost of all of these switches might be higher, they will save your company cash in the long run because they’re more sustainable, long-lasting, and require less electricity to begin with.

  1. Monitoring water usage

Water usage in the workplace mostly comes from bathroom use. Think about low-flow toilets and smart taps.

  1. Stop single-use

Stop with the plastic bottles and paper napkins for events, conferences, and meetings. Not only are they wasteful, they’re also unappealing. Why not use a fixed number of fabric napkins, and a water-glass and dispenser combo? It’s also that bit fancier. You will be surprised at the impact that will have.

  1. Sponsoring green initiatives

Nedbank participated in a project for solar powered traffic lights in Sandton. You could do something similar, or you could start your own initiative by sponsoring spekbooms to offset your emissions, or sponsoring educational programmes aimed at environmental conservation. The possibilities for this one are endless.

  1. Adopt a greener culture

The green impacts of your company will reach into the lives of your employees and the people whose lives they touch. If you adopt a culture of talking about environmental impact and the importance of being green, you will transform the minds of customers and employees alike. And that’s the real secret to winning them over.

Going green isn’t just a smart branding and marketing move, it’s a necessity. In a warming world, eco-friendly business is an investment in the future.

Jessica Evans is a final-year Journalism and Media Studies student at Rhodes University. While she has experience in lifestyle and science writing, she has developed an interest in branding, HKLM’s speciality. She joined HKLM for a week and diverted her writing and editing skills towards a beat totally new to her. Jessica hopes to gain experience as a copywriter and to build her knowledge of the world of brands.

Jessica Evans

Jessica Evans is a final-year Journalism and Media Studies student at Rhodes University. While she has experience in lifestyle and science writing, she has developed an interest in branding, HKLM’s speciality. She joined HKLM for a week and diverted her writing and editing skills towards a beat totally new to her. Jessica hopes to gain experience as a copywriter and to build her knowledge of the world of brands.

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