Green Is Good Business
Sustainability is here to stay. Every day, you see companies' sustainability efforts in action—at the coffee shop, the office, local retailers and beyond.
The emphasis on green in the graphics industry is also growing. A recent ISA survey found that 72 percent of sign companies consider sustainability strategies "important" or "very important"; 65 percent consider buying green materials "important" or "very important"; and more than half of companies implement sustainable practices in manufacturing, energy conservation or waste management.
Whether reducing waste, streamlining production, saving energy or offering more eco-friendly products or services, sustainability initiatives are good for the environment and can boost your business, too.
Increase revenue opportunities. Greener products can sometimes cost more to produce. The good news is that buyers often are willing to pay more for sustainable goods. A survey of apparel consumers found that they would pay 15-20 percent more for products made using sustainable practices. Another survey showed that 90 percent of facility managers would pay an additional 5-10 percent for products produced by a sustainable company. Perhaps most importantly, offering greener solutions can create access to new customers seeking sustainable alternatives.
Answer growing demand and gain a competitive edge. Businesses large and small are looking to their vendor-partners to offer sustainable choices. A 2012 Green Biz/Ernst & Young survey found that 58 percent of the companies polled have discussed sustainability initiatives with their suppliers, while 25 percent are already working directly with suppliers and measuring their performance in sustainability. Many organizations—from manufacturers and retailers to state governments—now give purchasing preference to companies with environmentally sound products and practices.
Reduce energy and waste management costs. GreenBiz survey respondents identified cost reduction (74 percent) as the most important driver in sustainability efforts. And 93 percent of respondents said reducing energy use was a key contributor to overall savings. Decreasing the use of hazardous materials can also deliver cost savings by reducing the need for special waste handling.
Consider the "triple bottom line." Today, businesses are examining not only the financial aspects of their operations, but environmental and social measures, too. Keeping all three categories in mind can help your company positively impact its sustainability profile. For example, making production processes more efficient can lead to reduced energy and chemical use, less waste, a safer workplace and financial benefits.
For tips on how to become a more sustainable business, visit the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership or the sustainability section of our website.
As a start, consider using products with lower environmental impact. 3M offers a growing portfolio of environmentally preferred graphics solutions including solventless, UV-curable inks, non-PVC films and light-efficient products for illuminated signage.