by Libby Vinson
Business as-usual is changing its tune. Sustainable building construction, energy-effective design, and eco-friendly business practices are proven sound economic choices. More and more companies are getting the message that ‘going green’ is not only good for the environment, but is economically advantageous. Innovative entrepreneurs and CEO’s understand that they can meet their customers’ needs, expand their business base, increase profits and help solve environmental problems…all at the same time.
Many green companies are now taking their commitment to the environment one step further by choosing to do business with vendors that share their same eco-friendly values. These businesses know that their ‘carbon footprint’ includes every partner in their supply chain. That is why working solely with environmentally-sensitive vendors is becoming a central component of green corporate strategy. When looking at the numbers, the reasons for going green—all the way—are very clear.
From materials and construction to lighting, heating, and cooling, the building industry accounts for roughly 40 percent of all the energy used in the United States. Eco-conscience companies are trying to do their part to reduce emissions by building or retro-fitting their offices to meet the requirements for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, the nationally accepted benchmark for design construction and operation of high performance green buildings set forth by the United States Green Building Council. While the initial outlay of money to use green architects and builders is generally greater than traditional construction, the payoff comes over time with savings in heating and electricity costs and lower dependency on oil.
Creating eco-friendly offices is only the first step that many of these green companies are taking. Selecting eco-friendly vendors to maintain the space is just as important. Green firms of all sizes are choosing pesticide-free landscapers that use plants that don’t need additional watering after the first year; cleaning companies that use environmentally-sensitive products; energy star rated appliances; office furniture, carpeting and other related equipment that does not emit chemicals under ambient conditions; and the list of partners in going green goes on and on.
More and more service industries and other vendors are jumping on board too. Accounting, engineering, law firms and other professional service providers are going green and becoming part of the supply chain solution. One fine example is MantaCole—a full service business law firm that has harnessed the power of technology to deliver services to clients in a virtually paperless environment. Also known as “TheElawfirm.com,” MantaCole enables clients to view their files electronically through a totally secure and reliable company server. They can easily track their budgets, monitor the status of their case and receive all their case documents in encrypted electronic files.
Not only has MantaCole’s paperless system saved an estimated 12 trees per year, going green has proved to be beneficial for the firm’s bottom-line. The company’s paperless system has allowed attorneys to deliver all their services in a more streamlined and productive manner, which has resulted in double-digit increases in growth since the company opened four years ago.
Technology and video conferencing capabilities utilized by MantaCole reduce the need for employees to travel to the office, court, and even client locations. Fewer trips by plane and automobile mean less carbon dioxide emissions. It is a winning combination for employees and clients as well as the planet.
The impact of the green initiative is also being felt by the hospitality industry. As the number of firms becoming environmentally conscious increases, many properties are implementing conservation practices to meet the demand for green facilities to host meetings and conferences.
The managers of green properties are eager to institute environmentally friendly policies that save water, save energy and reduce solid waste. These practices also make good fiscal sense by reducing the facility’s overhead costs in the face of growing economic challenges.
Any environmentally interested group can walk their talk by choosing an environmentally responsible site for meetings and conventions. Conservation by the hospitality industry is appreciated and required to achieve the operation and maintenance of buildings that are environmentally responsible, cost effective, productive and healthy places to work—a goal that benefits everyone!
Published in CT Green Scene