The “Greening” of Corporate America

When we think of business, the “green” that typically comes to mind is money. These days, however, corporations are opting for the sustainable kind of green. The trend towards recycling, waste reduction, and environmentally friendly practices has been a thing for consumers, but corporations are finding that embracing them more robustly is increasingly good for their bottom line.

The pandemic – with all of its supply-chain issues – highlighted the importance of rethinking how businesses operate day to day.  For companies of all types and sizes, the pandemic created an imperative to adapt and be flexible, especially in areas of waste. That, in turn, kicked off a drive to bring other green practices into the workplace. More firms are now incorporating renewable energy sources into office spaces, rethinking their transportation/shipping methods, reducing food waste in the breakroom, and more.

And they’re finding that sustainable practices like these pay off in impressive ways. Manufacturers and retailers that use a lot of electricity save money on energy bills by switching to sustainable energy sources like solar panels. Green practices also result in greater profits, due to more efficient performance and lower overhead costs. Landlords who build sustainable structures – or retrofit their old ones — find that those green office spaces command higher rents.

Other less tangible benefits to green offices include greater employee retention. Through the use of natural lighting, ergonomic furniture, and cleaner indoor air, workers report feeling happier and healthier. The appeal of sustainability extends to consumers as well; one survey shows that one-third of adults in the U.S. have a greater interest in the environment now than they did prior to COVID-19. The follow-on is that more opt to do business with companies whose products and practices are more eco-friendly.

Beyond everyday “green” practices, corporate America’s increasing embrace of sustainability is driving innovations in architecture, transportation, products, and even long-established corporate culture (for example, remote work options cut down on commuting/greenhouse emissions).

This major office complex on Long Island is a model for other big companies that want to make the shift toward more sustainable practices. They’ve been at the forefront for years, so they offer a helpful blueprint.

We recently helped to produce a TV series for Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK. “Rock, Paper, Timber” explores exciting ways that construction and corporate environments are evolving to be more sustainable. The full episode features some other cool stuff we think you’ll like. Please have a look and let us know what you think.

-Cindy Grogan

Photo by Alesia Kazantceva on Unsplash

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