The idea that what’s good for the environment is good for your business may be a bit tricky to accept. In some cases, “green” products and services are more costly and businesses fear that consumers will be turned off by having to pay more. However, there are many examples of businesses who clearly demonstrate that consumers not only don’t mind paying a bit more for products and services that are environmentally responsible, but demonstrate a high customer loyalty to these same businesses. Today, many Fortune 500 companies pride themselves on doing what’s good for the environment.
Here are some tips to do what’s environmentally responsible and profit from consumers’ demand for “green” products and services:
- Sell Green. Sell products or services that minimize adverse environmental impact and that are safe for consumer use. Place environmentally friendly product lines in more prominent positions in the store. Educate consumers on the advantages of these product lines through advertising- both external and in the store.
- Follow through. Offer safe disposal areas for the products you sell that need special care: batteries, cell phone components, CFL light bulbs, air conditioning units.
- Train staff in Selling Green. Train staff to promote energy efficient and environmentally responsible products and services by directing customers to these lines.
- Sell reusable shopping bags. Or use paper bags when necessary to package goods. For large items, place a “sold” sticker on the product, rather than bag. At the least, ask cashier staff to not automatically ask if consumers want a bag, do not double-bag when not absolutely necessary and to not use more wrapping than necessary.
- Include the “environment” as a stakeholder in your business’ decision-making process- when considering what lines to sell and what products to promote.
- Be a green businessplace. Reduce waste (limit printing of paper, use CFL light bulbs, turn off unnecessary lighting, turn down your air conditioning or heating units), recycle (place recycling bins in convenient locations throughout your business), reuse (print on both sides of the paper, stock staff kitchen with reusable dishes). Encourage car-pooling amongst your staff.
- Give corporate donations to environmentally responsible groups and encourage staff to volunteer for environmental activities such as “clean-up” days (picking up litter and refuse at parks and roadside).