Never before has it been so important for businesses of all sizes to be as eco-friendly as possible. Whether itâ€™s simply by cutting down on energy use or by developing or using new, less energy intensive technology, being green can help to boost bank balances as well as images. Here are just a few examples of businesses putting green thinking into action:
- IBM â€“ the IT firm have worked wonders in reducing its electricity usage: throughout the 1990â€™s, it reduced electricity consumption by 5.1bn kw/h. More recently, IBM were behind efforts to reduce energy use in four cities worldwide.
- Munich Reinsurance Group â€“ Munich: Re are seen by many experts as the greenest firm on the planet. They recycle up to 75% of waste paper and their office in Germany became carbon neutral in 2009. They first undertook research into climate change in 1974!
- Ikea â€“ the Swedish furniture giant makes a big thing of the fact that it sources all wood used to make its products sustainably. Another initiative Ikea have is refusing to sell lighting thatâ€™s not energy efficient.
- Nike â€“ the sportswear firm perform stringent checks on how its products are made; use of water and carbon is monitored closely. At their Netherlands HQ, Nike use underground energy storage and the building itself is held together by aluminium frames.
- Yahoo â€“ they have a dedicated â€˜greenâ€™ site offering handy tips to their 600 million users worldwide providing plenty of environmentally-friendly lifestyle tips. Its data centre uses 95% less water and 40% less energy than similar buildings.
- Dell â€“ another IT firm showing its green credentials, they take back any old equipment they have made free of charge and use recycled plastic for many of its products.
All of these firms are shining examples of how businesses can be environmentally friendly, but can smaller companies follow suit? A spokesman from energy saving experts Make It Cheaper spoke about the challenges they face in going green:
“These are the sorts of well-known brand names to have whole teams or consultants dedicated to finding greener ways of doing business. Not so for the average business though. There are roughly four million small businesses in the UK and their understanding of the benefits of being green is rather limited.
â€œThis was thoroughly debated at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Microbusinesses that we were invited to present at in Westminster a few weeks ago. During the meeting, the Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker, told us that the Green Deal for Business would be a massive boost in that it would make the decision to install, say, LED lighting or a new boiler a â€˜no-brainerâ€™â€, he added.
â€œHowever, the government have only spent a minimal amount on publicising the Green Deal, and more could be done.â€