When environmental consciousness and sustainability began going more mainstream about ten years ago in the U.S., business and industry were largely seen as the enemy. Widespread perception was that profits were the primary goal and there was little incentive for companies to curb energy consumption or pollution beyond regulated limits.
What a difference a decade makes. Many businesses are now leading the charge in the Green revolution. Retail giant Wal-Mart has launched an environmental plan aimed at reducing energy use and packaging waste and selling more sustainable products. This year it began opening test stores that cut overall energy use up to 45 percent compared to its Supercenters built in 2005.
In our own industry, it’s clear to see how important environmental stewardship has become. Not only are companies adopting policies and developing products that foster sustainability and reduce waste and pollutants, but they are also helping end users’ bottom lines. Aerodynamic and hybrid vehicles, auxiliary power units and remanufacturing programs all contribute to a greener industry.
These companies aren’t sacrificing profits. It turns out going Green makes good business sense – for large and small businesses alike. Here are a few reasons why:
- It cuts costs. Decreasing energy consumption also means cutting energy bills. And with oil prices at all-time highs, this can mean saving a significant amount of money. Energy-conserving measures range from switching to long-lasting fluorescent light bulbs to using waste oil to heat your facility to investing in more fuel-efficient delivery vehicles.
- It improves image and garners recognition. Before Wal-Mart introduced its environmental initiative, a study found 10 percent of customers stopped patronizing the store because of its flawed reputation, including its stance toward the environment. While your customers might not care as much about your carbon footprint, the trucking industry as a whole could use an environmental image booster.
Going green also offers opportunities for local and national recognition and media exposure that can bring your company to the attention of potential customers. EPA’s Energy Star program, for instance, provides public relations materials to promote your efforts.
- The Green market is strong. With environmental regulations tightening and fuel prices soaring, providing your customers with products and services that help them reduce emissions and fuel consumption is a smart move.
In this issue, our editors have put together an overview of environmental initiatives in our industry and a look at ways for making your business more environmentally responsible. It may help you improve not only the environment, but your bottom line.