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Green Companies – Overcoming Challenges Faced By Business Leaders

Written by: Wayne Elsey, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Wayne Elsey

Our country has gotten serious about sustainability, and the truth is that every business can also do its part. However, it’s not easy. The fact of the matter is that it’s not easy to become one of the green companies, and several issues prevent businesses from making the move to becoming green and sustainable.

person holding green small plants

That said, your business can become one of the leading green companies in your region. This article will explore the challenges you may face as you become green. The fact of the matter is that there are valid business concerns for companies. Afterward, we'll look at three key ways your company can transition.

Economic considerations for going green

As a company owner and entrepreneur, I know that economic considerations are the primary concern of most businesses. For most companies, the expenses of going green are likely leaders' first concern. The fact is that there may be upfront costs to converting your business into one that's sustainable. For instance, if you want to shift to renewable energies, there are upfront costs associated with it. As a result, balancing the short-term costs with the long-term benefits requires a lot of planning and strategy.

Lack of awareness and education

Another challenge for businesses looking to join the ranks of green companies is the lack of awareness and education. Believe it or not, that’s still a problem. The fact is that your workers may know how to recycle at home, but when it comes to a business, they might not realize the approaches to a sustainable operation. As a result, educating your entire team on what it takes to make a company sustainable is essential. One way to do it is to hire a business consultant to help you assess what you need to do concerning standards and best practices.

Limited infrastructure and technology for sustainability

As we know, every town and city across the U.S. is different. So that means that some places might have better infrastructure for green companies. For example, in some places in the country, there might be more renewable energy infrastructure or robust transportation systems so workers can leave their cars at home and head to the office using public transport or electric vehicles. As a result, your company should look into regional associations like your local U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which advocates for local businesses.

Complex supply chains to going green

Every business needs supplies. And this is yet another obstacle to going green. Most companies rely on a network of suppliers and partners. But if you're considering becoming sustainable, you have to know how these entities operate. For example, do they employ ethical labor practices? Another question is how they source the raw materials to get you what you need for your company. Again, sustainability is a complex problem, and your leadership team needs to get a handle on these aspects of going green.

Regulatory frameworks and policy ambiguity regarding sustainability

What works in one state or region might not be what’s required in another. So, if your company happens to be national, you have to deal with the regulatory frameworks and even the policy ambiguity across nations and localities. It poses significant, but not impossible, challenges for companies that want to go green. Therefore, engaging with industry associations and environmental policy organizations will help you and your company understand what you need to know to operate sustainably across the country.

Consumer demand and perception

Another challenge for companies that want to become green is the behaviors and preferences of their customers. The challenge for sustainability lies in aligning consumer demand with eco-friendly products and services. What it means in practice is that although consumers want to patronize green companies, they often care more about price and convenience. Inevitably, that becomes a challenge for businesses that want to become green companies. So, education and awareness campaigns are vital in changing consumer sentiment.

Embracing sustainability

As you can see, becoming a sustainable business isn't as easy as waving a magic wand. It takes time to transition, but it's not impossible to do. And as a business owner myself, I've seen that with time, the long-term benefits of becoming a sustainable company lead to increase customer loyalty and profitability. Still, to navigate some of the complexities of becoming a green business, you can begin by simply starting (no time like the present) and keeping a few things in mind.

Cost-benefit analysis

For starters, conduct a cost-benefit analysis so you and your team can understand the financial implications of becoming one of the green companies in your community. Remember, depending on what you need to do, you may have initial investment costs (e.g., retrofitting your offices to reduce waste and energy), but this is an opportunity for you to make sustainability a brand value. In the process, it's a great way to increase and differentiate yourself from your customers. Also, remember to explore financing options, incentives, and grants from the government to help you lower the costs to become sustainable.

Internal awareness about going green

Awareness and education are essential when looking to become a sustainable company. Still, there's probably a knowledge gap concerning what you need to do to become a green business. So, take the time to get informed and ensure your leadership gets informed on sustainable issues that affect business. Look for online and offline training and resources to get everyone informed on your team (e.g., associations, research institutes, sustainability business consultants, etc.).

Customer perception of a sustainable business

Even if your company doesn't create services or products around sustainability, every company can be green. You show the public, leads, and customers that you're taking the initiative by demonstrating that you're doing your part to support the planet and sustainability. So, it's essential to make those efforts part of your marketing efforts, and even if there's a bit of a higher cost for customers, make it a competitive advantage as the market leader and choice for people who want to do business with an environmentally friendly company.

We all know that the work to become sustainable as a business is not easy, but it's not impossible. The first thing you have to do is commit to doing and holding it as a value for your company. Once you do that, it's time to research how you can do it and inform your team and customers about your reorientation so you can plan and execute. Again, any company can go green. And in the process, that green value becomes an ethical imperative and motivator for your team and customers.

© 2023 Wayne Elsey. All Rights Reserved.

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Wayne Elsey Brainz Magazine

Wayne Elsey, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Wayne Elsey is the founder and CEO of Elsey Enterprises. Among his independent brands, he is also the founder and CEO of Funds2Orgs. This social enterprise helps nonprofits, schools, churches, civic groups, individuals, and others raise funds while helping to support micro-enterprise (small business) opportunities in developing nations and the environment.



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