What is Green?
A green business, or sustainable business, can generally be defined as one that strives to reduce its negative impact on the local environment, community, society or economy while maintaining a profit. However, there is no standard definition and perhaps the best approach is for each business to define for itself what it means to be a green business and develop a list of actions or standards that it will adhere to.
- A business looking to describe itself as a “green business” could work towards matching itself against the following four criteria:
- It incorporates principles of sustainability into its business decisions.
- It supplies environmentally friendly products or services that replaces demand for non-green products and/or services.
- It is greener than traditional competition.
- It has made an enduring commitment to environmental principles in its business operations.
In developing a green checklist, a business will have a set of standards that is unique to its business, industry and community. This list of actions should be able to guide the business in every purchase, decision and step it can take to be more sustainable as it strives towards a green future.
A good starting point for any aspiring green business is to come up with a mission statement that defines what sustainability means for that business. Potential next step could be to take actions in the following areas: compliance with environmental laws and regulations, waste reduction, resource conservation, pollution prevention, and environmental advocacy.
Any green checklist should be a living document, a constant work in progress, and something that is referred to for every important business decision. A completed checklist can also be compared against green certification opportunities to receive third-party affirmation of your commitment.
Why Go Green?
More than simply a feel-good exercise, going green has proven to be profitable for a variety of companies in Toronto and across the world. Walmart is saving more than $500 million a year from its sustainability initiatives; from 2005 to 2010 GE sold $70 billion of green products and services and for Interface carpet green initiatives have generated 28% of the company’s operating profit over the last 14 years.
Leading businesses everywhere are going green to cut costs, raise revenues, engage employees and customers, and mitigate risk against rising energy prices.
Greentbiz has been created to deliver programming that helps BIAs and businesses reduce energy and resource costs, uncover new business opportunities, and address everyday operational challenges in a green and cost-effective manner.
Why should BIAs and Small Businesses care about greenTbiz?
Sustainable business practices are becoming a competitive necessity. The eco-business approach offers organizations diverse opportunities to streamline business operations through resources and knowledge sharing, and proven eco-efficiency approaches.
The business community can do more for the environment working together than apart. By facilitating innovative collaborative partnerships, greenTbiz will help companies achieve results faster, cheaper and with less individual risk.
Toronto’s BIAs have the potential to become world-class examples for eco-innovation. Turning this vision into reality and true competitive advantage demands collaboration between local businesses, governments and communities.