The debate over the Paris climate accords, signed by the U.S. and dozens of countries on Earth Day, 2016, centers mainly on cost, with some saying that a transition from the old ways of doing business is too expensive. But the evidence is overwhelming that a greener economy will not only help save human life on earth, it will be a boon for business.
It's pretty widely known that boosting a business's energy efficiency not only reduces its carbon footprint, but also saves money. What's less well understood is how much customers and employees care about a company's approach to sustainability.
For example, a recent survey by the Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility showed that 42 % of Americans are "willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact."
Plus, sustainable companies find it easier to recruit the best employees. A study by Corporate Responsibility Magazine found that more than 70% of Americans want to work for a company whose leadership is actively involved in corporate responsibility and/or environmental issues. In fact, according to a survey by Net Impact, 45% of Americans said they would take a 15% pay cut to work in a job that makes a social or environmental impact.
Talented Millennials are especially committed to finding an employer who shares their dedication to sustainable corporate behavior. And once workers find a green employer, they are 16% more productive than average, according to research by UCLA.
All of this is why green│spaces has launched its green│light third-party corporate sustainability certification program. When businesses achieve green│light certification, they signal to customers and prospective employees alike that they care about their environmental and social impact in Chattanooga — and that they not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.
Here's how it works: A company contacts the green│light program director to get started. Green│spaces evaluates the organization's size and type and helps it create a step-by-step sustainability plan. The plan might suggest actions relating to wellness, energy, water, recycling, facility maintenance, landscaping, purchasing and/or transportation. As a first step, companies can visit the green│spaces website for a toolkit that helps benchmark energy and water use. As the company implements and documents improvements, green│spaces helps support these efforts and celebrate achievements.
So far, green│light certified businesses include 212 Market Restaurant, The Crash Pad, Flying Squirrel, River City Company, Ruby Falls, The Strand, and The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
And many other area businesses are working toward certification, including Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel; Elemi; Franklin Architects; Green's Eco Build & Design; Hunter Museum; Lupi's; Riverview Animal Hospital; Sportsbarn; Taco Mamacita; and Urban Stack.
We encourage you to visit the green│light participant businesses and show them some love! Learn more about the green│light program here.
Written by guest blogger Leslie Bell