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More and more, businesses are practicing sustainability solutions every day. Organizations understand that the success of a business does not solely depend on the quality of the products or services it offers. Here are a few reasons businesses can benefit from increased sustainability measures.

Environmental Protection and Impact

Thinking “go green” is nothing more than a marketing ploy to trend another catchphrase is sorely missing the mark. Yes, incorporating eco-living measures is noble, but it’s much bigger than that. With over 7 billion people inhabiting this earth now, it’s vital more than ever to be conscious of environmental impact. Ignoring signs from the earth that it needs its human inhabitants to be more thoughtful and less wasteful is detrimental on an ecological level for this and future generations.

Many major companies are recognizing the significance of sustainability practices and how communicating these measures with the public shapes consumer opinion. A year-to-year report of energy consumption, recycling methods, and eco-friendly product use tell consumers that businesses care about their impact on the environment and are doing something positive that makes a dramatic difference. In this conversation, humble and discreet communications won’t help a business’s image. Consumers want to know, and they want proof. What companies are doing to show their knowledge of and care about their carbon footprint is affecting purchase decisions.

Consumption and Waste

As a business factor, more sustainable measures improve the bottom line. Every piece of paper and staple, every burning light and toilet flushed, every elevator run and air-conditioned office uses and generates energy that pulls from an organization’s profit. Therefore, businesses that choose to implement sustainability measures increase efficiency.

The Sierra Club reports that the US produced over 20 million tons of paper. If that doesn’t put things into perspective, here are some sobering numbers about paper and paper waste from The World Counts and RoadRunner:

  • Printing the Sunday edition of the New York Times requires 75,000 trees
  • Offices in the US account for more than 12 trillion sheets of paper per year
  • The average office worker generates about 2 pounds of paper and paperboard products per day
  • Average office workers consume 10,000 sheets of office paper per year, per person
  • 30% of print jobs are never picked up

What’s more, all this paper use isn’t even necessary. Many of it ends up right in the trash. Obligatory print jobs of reports, charts, and email threads are cluttering office spaces, trash bins, and, eventually, landfills. Fortunately, many companies are turning to document management software, which is an excellent solution to much of the paper-use problem. Using digitized methods such as printing to PDF instead of paper is just one small but beneficial eco-swap.

Sustainable Culture, Philosophy, and Practice

Business sustainability seeks to extend the sustainability conversation to include other essential matters to a business’s reputation and operations. How organizations choose to address such issues as women’s participation, child-protection laws, and corruption can affect customer satisfaction, thereby affecting the company’s profit.

With social media being the ever-present denominator for releasing information to customers and branding techniques, it has become increasingly harder for organizations to feign ignorance -- or worse -- make no improvements at all. Transparency makes businesses more trustworthy and desirable. Consumers want to support companies with missions and moral compasses they can support in good conscience.

For the Greater Good

Sustainability innovation is becoming more popular within companies. Human resource departments can implement incentives that encourage employees to be more aware of their energy consumption. With paper use so highly abused nationally, it’s no wonder that document management and records management companies that trade paper consumption for electronic data storing are seeing such significant growth.

Organizations that take just small strides in doing something to be more eco-friendly increase their branding power, improve the bottom line, and help do some good for this planet we all call home.