A lot of businesses today recognize that climate change is a problem. As such, a lot of them are making attempts to solve the problem by implementing green and sustainable practices in hopes that they can contribute to the change the entire world is looking for. The challenge usually lies in involving suppliers, employees, and other stakeholders to join in on the movement resulting in businesses getting stuck on the green slump. This is because; a lot of people are still bent on results, not knowing that they can still achieve these results while implementing green practices. Karagulle (2012, p.457) alludes that competitiveness is the key driver toward sustainable practices today. Since businesses aim to survive and earn above their rivals, the sustainability movement is what has prompted a lot of businesses to make the change.
Green businesses’ are those whose practices are evaluated to be environmentally friendly. These practices may involve the adoption of the use of renewable energy sources, enhancing material and product recyclability, reduction in the amount of toxic waste disposed of, and ethical sourcing, among others. Kabiraj, Topkar and Walke (2010, p.22) explain that eco-friendly business models are currently front and center within the business community resulting in businesses implementing measures that reduce power usage and ensuring they dispose of material better in a more conscious manner. This paper presents examples of three different businesses; Seventh Generation, Unilever, and Google, and how they are using green practices to carry out business.
Seventh Generation is the largest eco-friendly cleaning products supplier in the United States (Mainwaring, 2019). Established in 1988, the company has sort to keep its commitment towards providing sustainable products that care for human health. This has largely led to its accelerated growth over the past couple of years. Mainwaring (2019) explains that reaping the benefits of sustainability goes beyond just making a claim on the business’s objectives that the business will be sustainable. It also carries with it the aspect of calculated planning, having dedicated leadership, and engaging the consumers in telling the story of sustainability. This inspires more consumers to buy into the product or service offered, allowing the business to enjoy the perks of the strategy.
One of the greatest catches that draw people to the companies’ products is that their mission statement presents them as a company that seeks to inspire the nurturing of health down to the next seven generations. Falling in line with this statement, the company has implemented strategies that will have them operate on 100% renewable energy by 2025. Already, the company also sources its products from natural and recycled material. They also plan on solely implementing the use of zero-waste packaging. In addition to that, the company implements a carbon tax, meaning that they take their environmental accountability quite seriously.
Patti and Phillips (2010) highlight how research conducted by MIT during a one-year inquiry interviewing fifty global executives showed that looking into sustainable practices was mostly driven by the need for setting a competitive advantage as seen by the example of Seventh Generation, driving employee morale and satisfaction, cost savings, and most importantly improving brand image. For Unilever, their strategy of going green is mostly driven by brand image and cost savings. In 2017, the company announced its plans of going green by ensuring that all its UK operations were powered by 100% renewable energy. This followed their partnership with Eneco UK that allowed them to build a new wind farm in Scotland that would allow them to harness the free and available powers of wind energy. This announcement was set to have taken shape by the end of 2020, making the company carbon positive by the year 2030 (Unilever, 2018).
The strategy is also driven mostly by their consumers’ growing concern over environmentalism, a factor that will also prompt its competitors to adopt green technologies themselves. The company has also set out on a new project of ensuring that all its plastic packaging is fully recyclable or compostable in a bid to increase the companies waste management aim (Unilever, 2018). The company has come into an agreement that if they reduce waste from the source, there lies a high likelihood of creating substantial and visible changes.
Arguably one of the most environmentally conscious and green companies in the world, Google highlights that its operations are designed to allow them to get the most out of technology without using more resources. As such, Google has been witnessed to implement a few strategies that fall in line with its mission. Among them is that Google usually provides employees with bikes to help them get around its Mountain View Campus and shuttle busses to help them get to the campus. This reduces the number of cars that would otherwise be used to get to and around the school, reducing the rate of carbon emissions (Millan & Camins, 2016).
Google purchases imperfect fruits and vegetables in a bid to reduce the amount of food wastage. Also, some Google offices around the world grow their own food, which increases their sustainability scorecard ratings. Google also enlists the use of geothermal technology in some of its offices, which increases the company’s efficiency rates. The companies’ energy centers have been proven to be twice as energy efficient as a typical enterprise data center (Millan & Camins, 2016). The company has, therefore, been setting the trend in providing green and sustainable business, providing a benchmark that other businesses can use to improve their operations.
Going green as well as implementing sustainable operations by businesses proves to provide a myriad of benefits to the business. The main advantage being that of helping the environment becomes more habitable for future generations. Today, more people are genuinely interested in knowing what a business is doing to better the current situation of negative climate change that the world has been plagued with. The main aim of going green is essentially to reduce pollution, reduce resource consumption and eliminate waste, conserve natural resources such as rivers and forests and bring forth an ecological balance such that living things can survive in their natural habitat.
However, most businesses are doing it to gain a competitive edge as a lot of consumers are quite environmentally conscious. Despite that motivating factor, such businesses are able to enjoy economic benefits in cost savings, they are able to show their willingness to contribute to better health for their customers through environmental conservation efforts and use of healthy by-products, and as such, they are seen to be considerate of the future of generations to come. Therefore, recycling, use of renewable energy resources, ethical sourcing and use of reduced packaging and reusing products have and will continue to trend until all industries implement such changes in a bid to create a better future.
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