Small businesses that use sustainable business practices as part of their operating and marketing strategy often realize significant economic gains. However, creating market messaging for greening a business operations can be intimidating, or worse, lead a small business owner to think moving to a sustainable business model will require large capital outlays. That is a flawed perception. The challenge for many companies, then, is identifying where the greatest opportunities are for them at the lowest cost to implementation.
A large number of firms start with internal practices, which may include process efficiencies, reducing landfill destined waste, reducing water use and implementing recycling programs. Each of these practices has a direct, measurable financial impact on a company. For example, improving process efficiencies may result in moving products and services to market more quickly. Reducing waste will also reduce the expenses associated with waste removal and disposal. A water bill declines with less water usage. A recycling program contributes to reducing waste removal and other associated expenses.
Small business owners should also look at maximizing economic and sustainability benefits through building and physical structure improvements. Specific types of sustainable business practices that fall into this category include upgrading lighting and windows; installing better or additional insulation; adding building wraps to facility expansions; and cleaning, maintaining, and upgrading HVAC systems.
In 2013, MBDA and the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity (ED) within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) established a partnership aimed at increasing the participation of minority business enterprises (MBEs) in energy – one of the largest industries in the United States. In addition to enhancing access to procurement and contracting opportunities available through the DOE for minority firms, MBDA and ED are also working to create and unveil growth opportunities for minority firms through technology transfer and commercialization.
On March 13 and 14, 2014, MBDA Acting National Director Alejandra Castillo joined Director Dot Harris of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Economic Impact and Diversity (ED), on a Domestic Trade Mission to one of DOE’S 17 national research laboratories - the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, Illinois. Joined also by a delegation including minority-owned firms and the local Chicago MBDA Business Center, this Trade Mission represented a collaborative effort to advance the mission of the Minorities in Energy Initiative launched by DOE in September of 2013.
The delegation participated in meetings with instrumental partners and stakeholders including Clean Energy Trust, Energy Foundry, World Business Chicago, the Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation, and the Office of Congressman Bobby Rush of the First District of Illinois. The meetings proved informative, helping to open doors for minority firms to access innovation, technology, and capital resources through this partnership.
The partnership shared with DOE will also help to level the playing field for minority firms and develop a gateway to new opportunities through technology transfer. Upon gaining critical market intelligence of the technology developed at laboratories such as Argonne National Laboratory, MBEs will be able to better compete in their contracting programs. Also, the sharing of expertise and resources between the MBDA Business Center network and the DOE national laboratories can be of immense benefit to the growth and development of MBEs in the energy and technology industries.
October is Energy Awareness month, and it’s a great opportunity to look around your office for ways to save energy.
Why do some companies save more than others? One reason is how they approach energy management. Companies that follow a few basic principles achieve greater savings. If you are serious about reducing energy use, you can apply these principles and save!
Make energy a priority
Start saving energy by making it a priority for everyone in the company.
Someone has to be responsible for energy. Initially, this might be a designated energy champion. Over time, responsibility can be expanded to a team of people.
Set a goal
Goals create clear objectives for energy management activities. Need help? Take the ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry and reduce your energy intensity by 10%.
Going green isn’t just good for the environment—it can be great for your business as well! Companies known for proactive environmental policies often find that their reputation as a green business allows them to better attract and retain high quality employees, improve community relations, and strengthen customer loyalty.
Learn how to “green your business” and work toward creating a cleaner, healthier environment for thecommunity and for the planet. We’ve updated our Green Business Guide for 2013 with the latest tips on what you as a small business owner can do to protect our ecosystems and promote a sustainable, successful business.
Green Business Practices
From changing a light bulb and using recyclable products to installing energy efficient equipment and systems, every business can make simple changes that save energy costs and natural resources. Start by brainstorming a variety of options to reduce your business’s environmental footprint, then choose the most impactful and cost effective options for your business. For additional tips on ways to green your business, our partners at SCORE also offer a number of resources. If you’re interested in getting into the business of helping others get green, SBA has also produced an online training course on how your business can take advantage of these eco-trends.
It’s important to recognize that consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious. Eco-friendly practices may seem costly but can serve as a great investment for future growth in businesses as it reduces costs and creates happier customers.
Business.gov provides suggestions and information from fellow business owners as well as industry and government experts. Linked to the site, you can find a Green Business Guide that offers tons of tips on how to pursue and maintain a green business. Recommendations include how to reduce energy costs, how green technology develops energy efficient upgrades, what kinds tax credits there are to green technology developments, and more. By cutting down on expenses and becoming more consumer-friendly, your business can open up opportunities for growth.