Smarter Business: Greening Advisor
Greening is good business
Many of the suggestions in this guide can reduce operating costs. Improved efficiency means less waste, which should translate into cost savings. Reducing paper use, for example, saves money. A typical office disposes of about 350 pounds of wastepaper per employee per year. Switching from single-sided to double-sided copying and printing can cut this figure—and corresponding expenditures and environmental impacts—almost in half.
New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI)
This joint venture of General Motors and Toyota, which produces $2 billion of North American automobile purchases, incorporated material efficiency, energy conservation, solid waste reduction, and recycling efforts in their environmental programs, saving the company approximately $4.5 million in 1999. NUMMI now requires their suppliers to use reusable shipping containers for the shipment of parts, which reduced their consumption of cardboard by 60 percent in 1999, accounting for $2.5 million of the company's savings that year while also avoiding 11,000 tons of waste.
Bank of America
By reducing the basis weight of its ATM receipts from 20 pounds to 15 pounds, Bank of America saved more than just paper; this simple move also gained the bank additional savings in transportation, storage and handling costs, to the tune of $500,000 a year.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the 16th busiest airport in the United States, increased its recycling from 100 tons diverted from landfills in 2001 to 900 tons diverted in 2005, resulting in an annual savings of $178,000.
Oakland Processing and Distribution Center of U.S. Postal Service
By taking steps to remove recyclables from their waste stream and increasing the efficiency of energy and water use, this processing and distribution point of the U.S. Postal Service is saving $500,000 a year.
Ghirardelli Chocolate Company
Ghirardelli redesigned their packaging to incorporate reusable plastic totes for chocolate shipments, eliminating the need to purchase and dispose of 580,000 cardboard boxes every year. This move saves the chocolate company $520,000 annually.
We are already living in a carbon-constrained world. In the United States, the question is no longer whether we will set mandatory caps on global warming emissions, but rather when and how these mandatory caps will be put in place. Knowing that these regulations are coming, and that frequent extreme weather events intensified by climate change can disrupt business, it is smart business to take a hard look at how to minimize the risks and costs—and increase the opportunities and savings—for your business in a carbon-constrained world.
Creates Good Public Relations
Environmentally intelligent initiatives help enhance your standing in the community. If your business initiates a program to improve its environmental performance, you can reap public relations benefits if you find ways to publicize your work.
Boosts Employee Health, Morale, and Productivity
A program to protect the environment can boost employee morale. Using less-toxic products and incorporating “green building” techniques have also been shown to reduce absenteeism and increase productivity.
Switching to double-sided copying and printing can cut the expense and environmental costs of wastepaper disposal almost in half.
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