Today’s business is all about being green. From Walmart to Apple, everyone is talking about how green their approach, packaging, or methods are. But green business is really in its infancy, and the future of being green will no doubt distill down to some very real and definable goals and practices.
In fact, businesses that today find themselves carrying the green banner will be put to the test to define their actions, and it must make sense to the soon to be green savvy public. So, what are some of these definable trends that will dictate the future of green business? Let’s take a look.
A Measure Impact
First up, businesses will find it harder to do business under the “Green” herald unless they hold themselves accountable to their own carbon footprint. While today we can find a number of carbon footprint calculators, the net results tend to vary between sites. As time continues on, these results will merge together to a more cohesive reporting structure, and this is the measuring stick to which the company will report.
A company’s net carbon footprint may be as important to its success as its bottom line, since no doubt one could drive the other. This is especially true if it is a public company that is directly coupled to selling to the public. The voting by the green aware public will no doubt be done by the purse strings.
Building Greener Buildings
For a lot of businesses, a major part of their environmental impact can be found in the very building that their business takes place in. A green building is not only potentially cheaper to operate, it can pay big dividends in brand appearance and customer loyalty.
Already, Obama has been providing money to businesses for energy overhauls, and this is a trend that may be increasing. At the very least the red tape of a new building may tie the expense of a less than efficient building design to increased cost. That is, you may find that it is cheaper to be green than not. Today utilities are being held accountable for energy standards, but incentives may make it the logical choice for all businesses.
Green Branding With The Customer
Soon businesses will find that it is simply not enough to talk to consumers about being green – instead they will need to educate them. Through promotions, handouts, special deals, and other means, businesses will find that an educated customer will better appreciate the new emphasis on being green.
By relating to the customer on green issues, the door is open for further dialog on others. Even such things as giving out free branded reusable bags is a simple but effective way of using the green relationship to build the business and improve the customer relationship.
Open Green Practices
The consumer of today is better informed than ever before, and this is a trend that will no doubt continue. In order for a business to be seen as green, it will no doubt need to have the chain more open to all parties. This can be seen today by the inclusion of local growers for big chain grocery stores, and the trend will no doubt continue.
Not only grocery stores and produce markets will be affected by the need for open green practices. Restaurants will find it beneficial to proudly declare that a particular side item is being provided by a given local producer. The act of being green is really building a responsible community on a global scale, so it should come to no surprise that strengthening the local community ties works well with being green.
With these trends, the future of a successful green business will be defined. The business soon must responsibly measure and report their environmental impact to a given standard. They must build the places of business to a green standard. They will need to reach out and connect to their customers on green matters, to the advantage of both. And finally, they will need to develop and refine openly green practices that tie together the sense of a green community.
While these trends are more evolutionary than revolutionary in their arrival, you may be surprised at how fast they can become a standard accepted business process in 2010 and beyond.