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The Importance of Being Green

January 28, 2014

 By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Al Gore’s chilling documentary about global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, may be old news at this point, but its message certainly isn’t going away any time soon.

What was once a hip cause, environmental concern, has now gone so thoroughly mainstream that most communities recycle and most businesses consider the environmental impact of their products. Just visit Apple’s (News - Alert) web site and one of the first things you learn about their new Macbook Pro laptops is that they are good to the environment.

With weather patterns changing in alarming ways, and natural disasters seemingly more common than ever, even the skeptics are starting to change their tune about the environment and protecting it.

But even if you doubt the need to help the environment, it still makes sense to ensure that your business is green. There are at least five good reasons why a business should focus not just on its products, but also on the impact it has on the world around it.

These reasons include attracting young talent, winning the public relations war, saving money, driving efficiency, and, well, doing the right thing.

Talent is more important than ever in this knowledge economy, and much of that talent come from young people in the millennial generation. This generation cares a lot about the environment, having grown up during the heyday of environmental awareness. So as hiring the right employee becomes more important than ever, it is important to pull out all the stops in attracting this talent. One way for a business to signal its attractiveness to young talent is by having a good environmental protection policy.

Being green also is smart money. Take paper use, for instance.

A business can save trees by swapping out its paper fax machine for a cloud-based fax-over-IP (FoIP) solution such as that offered by FaxSIPit, for instance. A green move? Absolutely. A smart move? Also true. That’s because moving to FoIP eliminates paper, toner and fax machine maintenance, which is also saved green of another sort.

Running a business that is proactively green is a good public relations move. Or, at least, it is a shield against a bad public relations move since the competition has already gone green. Business must be green because otherwise it is at a competitive disadvantage.

Being green helps with efficiency. Not always, of course; recycling doesn’t exactly save time. But in many cases, it can. Returning to our FoIP example, for instance, the move not only helps the environment and saves money, it also allows employees to avoid filing paper, looking for old documents, and needing to cart around files that can more easily be searched and grabbed from the corporate intranet.

Being green also is the right thing to do. That doesn’t make the most sense from a business standpoint, but it does if you think about all the problems that global warming creates for business and realize that changing the situation all starts with individual action.

Be the change you want to see in the world, the Indian freedom fighter, Gandhi, was reported to have said. Taken together with the other business reasons to be environmentally responsible, it is an ethical dictum that is relatively easy to follow.

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