Today, businesses are under pressure not only to improve revenues and profitability, but to demonstrate that they have a positive impact on their environment. A “green business” is one that does good to their surroundings, community, employees, customers, and the planet at large. Going green has many benefits for organizations, including tax benefits, improved brand image, and ease of attracting new talent.
We’ll explain how smart mobility and sustainable transport, including micromobility, electric vehicles and organizational measures like flexible schedules, can have a dramatic impact on your business’s environmental and social impact. Green mobility can go a long way towards making your company a green business.
In this article:
- What is a green business
- Benefits of “going green”
- Beyond environmental responsibility
- How to green your business with green mobility
- Green is a mindset, not a strategy
What is a Green Business?
Green businesses try to reduce their negative environmental impact, protect their employees from harm, and endeavour to have a positive effect on the social and ecological environment.
Regardless of the industry you operate in, your business can find ways to adopt sustainable practices, that can not only protect the environment, but also generate benefits like cost savings, regulatory compliance, improving employee well being, and enhancing brand image.
Benefits of “Going Green”
Businesses around the world are responding to a global imperative and consumer demand to go green.
According to Forbes:
- More than 80% of consumers respect companies and brands that adopt eco-friendly practices.
- More than half of consumers boycott companies with unsustainable practices or products.
- A third of consumers want recycling and composting information to be clear on product packaging.
Going green has additional benefits beyond making consumers happy:
- Tax credits and incentives—many countries and municipalities provide monetary and other incentives for sustainable practices. For example, in the USA, businesses that invest in green energy projects receive a tax credit equal to 10-30% of the investment.
- Becoming an attractive workplace—green businesses are more attractive for new talent, especially for the new digital-first generation.
- Healthier, more productive employees—a workplace that emphasizes environmentally-friendly practices is likely to offer healthier foods, micromobility alternatives like bicycles and scooters, and a less stressful office environment.
- Improved efficiency—sustainable business practices result in more efficient business operations. Tightening production processes to eliminate waste can have an overall positive impact on business culture.
- Cost savings—reducing energy usage, recycling raw materials and cutting down on waste has a direct impact on a business’s operating costs.
Beyond Environmental Responsibility
The modern definition of sustainability is not just about the environment—it includes ethical, social, and governance factors, such as workplace and community relations, and regulatory compliance.
Investors, employees, regulators, competitors, and communities used to evaluate businesses only from an economic standpoint—evaluating if it is profitable and able to grow. Today, these stakeholders look at businesses from a new perspective, evaluating its commitment to do good to its location, the broader community, and the planet. Increasingly, investment, purchasing and employment decisions are made based on these new criteria.
Many businesses are setting sustainability goals and performance indicators to gain an edge on competitors. These goals can include:
- Reducing carbon footprint
- Reducing overall mileage of corporate fleet
- Setting milestones for removing non-sustainable suppliers
- Setting milestones for clearly marketing packaging with sustainability information
- Setting milestones for improving socially irresponsible employment practices
How to Green Your Business with Green Mobility
Here are a few ways you can use mobility, or in other words the transport methods used by your business and its employees, to improve your standing as a green business.
1. Encourage employees to leave the car at home
In the USA, 86% of employees still use a single-occupancy private vehicle to commute to work. Your business should look at ways to help employees get to work easily without the use of a private car. A corporate shuttle can be introduced which picks-up and drops-off employees at set locations to get them to and from their place of work.
Businesses can also encourage employees to use carsharing services. These services provide the convenience of a private car, but allow the same car to be shared by others, using a per-hour rental model. Another option is ride hailing which is also environmentally friendly compared to owning a private car, and gives your employees the benefit of being able to order their transportation on-demand.
Alternative transport generates cost savings for both your business and your employees. Use some of those savings to incentivise employees to use alternative transport. Offer gifts, cash prizes, or benefits like preferred parking, for those who agree to ditch private or company vehicles in favor of environmentally-friendly transport methods.
2. Switch to electric vehicles
Many businesses are considering gradually switching their fleets to electric vehicles. These may be employee company cars, utility vehicles serving field staff, or even vans and heavier vehicles.
Electric vehicles are more expensive, but are also heavily subsidized by most governments, and have much lower operating expenses. Newer models have similar range and speed to fuel-based vehicles, with faster acceleration and improved four-wheel drive. Electric vehicles are also a highly visible symbol of environmentally-friendly practices.
It’s important to realize that Electric vehicles do generate CO2 emissions, but can reduce up to 40% of harmful emissions compared to a gas-powered vehicle.
3. Flexible hours and working from home
In today’s digital workplace, many roles and tasks can be performed remotely. Consider allowing employees to work at home at least part of the time, or providing flexible schedules. For example, allowing parents of small children to arrive at the office very early in the morning or during evening hours.
Flexible or from-home work can significantly reduce journey times, mileage, and as a result, the business’s carbon footprint. At the same time it can improve employee morale and well being.
4. Leverage multimodal transportation solutions
The modern mobility ecosystem offers new multimodal transportation solutions that can benefit your employees while reducing environmental impact.
Multimodal transportation essentially relates to where a journey is completed using different travel modes. For example, employees may cycle on a rented bike to a bus stop, take a bus to work, then use an electric scooter to get to the store, and carry groceries home in a taxi. Through the HERE Mobility Marketplace businesses can offer their customers and employees a variety of transportation options on-demand or pre-booked, via one single platform. This provides your business with a greener transport solution, and offers them the convenience and freedom of being able to choose the transportation they want, in real-time.
Green is a Mindset, Not a Strategy
It’s impossible to “go green” by simply laying down a business plan, assigning resources and setting goals. Green business and corporate responsibility are different from other types of business initiatives because they have an ethical and moral aspect. The people behind your green initiative, and especially top management, have to really care about green values and the ones they are supposed to benefit.
Green business makes good business sense—but you cannot carry out a green initiative simply to reap those benefits. A successful green business must be focused, first and foremost, on the people impacted by your company’s daily operations.
Start by understanding how employees, customers, and your community may be harmed by existing business practices. If possible, let them voice their concerns and try to empathise with them. Then, based on this knowledge, design your green program to reduce harm and create a positive impact on the lives of the people you interact with every day.