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Waste Industry // Environment

Green Solutions for Businesses to Stay Profitable and Fight Climate Change

Businesses can fight climate change by investing in recycling and sustainable initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint and encourage radical change.

Bradford Arick | May 5, 2022


Investing in the planet is no longer just a trendy thing for enterprises to consider. Climate change predictions mean mounting problems with the potential to upend profitability and supply chains. Green technologies can pave the way for you to show that what is good for the planet is actually good for your business at the same time. 

The problems climate change presents for businesses


It’s not just parts of the world that are sweating because of hotter weather. Investors and businesses are now feeling the heat, quite literally. A recent study from the University of California, Davis found that extreme heatwaves cause declines in market value for businesses. In the first 20 days after the beginning of a heatwave, some firms lost 1 to 2 percent of their market value. 


A 2021 analysis by the business and financial services company, Moody’s, found that more than 5,000 publicly-traded companies and approximately 2 million underlying support facilities face “substantial exposure to physical climate risks.” Electronic manufacturing companies have nearly a quarter of assets exposed to risk from flooding, presenting a major potential issue for supply chains. Utilities are particularly vulnerable to heat and water stress with 80-85% of assets at risk in North America. Real estate and construction face threats from wildfires, hurricanes, and typhoons. Chemical manufacturers, which rely on clean water for products, have nearly 60% of their assets exposed to potential high water problems.


The year 2020 is tied with 2016 as the hottest year on record for the planet. As temperatures increase globally, the threat of extreme weather events is also going up with potentially catastrophic impacts on businesses and economies.


Businesses are now taking stock of the impact this climate crisis can have. Real, hard facts are just one way in which stakeholders can be forced to take notice. Green technologies can help reduce the impact humans are having on the environment. 


RoadRunner’s CEO, Graham Rihn, shared some easy-to-implement solutions with VentureBeat recently so that your company can start laying the foundation for going greener, adding to your ESG goals, and supporting the environment.


Think about your office waste and where it goes


You can reimagine your office waste and how you deal with it. Landfills are among the largest sources of methane emissions in the U.S. and nearly half of our waste is sent there. Methane traps 86 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, contributing dramatically to the greenhouse effect. A radical, easy-to-install approach for recycling, composting, and waste diversion could save you money and fight climate change. By recycling paper, for example, fewer trees are cut down meaning more CO2 is absorbed from the atmosphere, fewer logs are taken to a paper mill reducing fuel consumption, and that paper can be remanufactured.


Get employees and customers on board


Create a green team. Educate your employees and customers about recycling and waste diversion. Brainstorm ways to implement environmental initiatives. The best way to get your employees and customers on board with sustainable solutions is to educate them about their impact on the planet and encourage them to think outside the box. It wouldn’t hurt to also make the case for long-term job security. The average American generates 19 metric tons of greenhouse gasses per year. If you have 25 employees, you’re generating enough each week to fill the Statue of Liberty. Spread the message among your workforce and consumers to start thinking greener.


Video conferencing is easier and cheaper than business travel


Another approach is to limit your business travel. With the world still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, video conferencing technology has taken off, replacing what would have been a person in a seat on a plane burning jet fuel. It is now easier than ever to connect with employees across the globe without ever leaving your home or office. In some instances, you won’t even need an internet connection if using a smartphone. The savings could easily equal thousands of dollars for a business and another step in the right direction for the planet.


Sustainable sourcing is in demand


Consider choosing sustainable suppliers. Smarter purchasing decisions and suppliers who use sustainable materials mean cost savings. More and more sustainable products and services are hitting the market using valuable post-consumer base materials. These use less energy, produce less waste and contribute to a closed-loop process, meaning one company’s waste is another’s raw material. One study found that 55% of customers are willing to pay more for goods and services that come from companies committed to having a positive impact on the environment.


Choose energy-efficiency for office equipment


Another easy solution: upgrade the lights. Energy consumption is responsible for over one-third of all CO2 emissions in the U.S. The average office building pays out more than $30,000 every year in just energy costs alone. The EPA estimates that businesses could save over 1.5 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions if every office product purchased in the U.S. was ENERGY STAR certified. Additionally, installing solar panels on office buildings can bring down energy costs and contribute to less reliance on fossil fuels to generate power. 


Saving money and saving the planet can work in perfect harmony. The right plan with the willingness to pursue sustainability goals and the reimagining of how new or existing technology can get you there is the roadmap. While the process is long and involved, there are small steps that can be taken in the here and now to get started down that path. Climate change could mean businesses shutting down and jobs lost if they don’t pivot and adapt. The journey of recycling 1,000 tons of paper begins with a single sheet.

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