How do you want the world to see your business? Maybe you’d like a reputation for agility within your industry. It could be that you want to be known as the customer service champion of your sector. Or perhaps – as is increasingly the case – you’re striving to improve your eco-friendly credentials and boost your organisation’s place in the green business rankings.
Why go green?
‘Going green’ is a hot topic in business, and many of the world’s biggest organisations are already on this track. There’s a number of reasons for this, not least because, in certain parts of the world, being an environmentally friendly business is actually a legislative requirement. In Australia, for example, ‘businesses are governed by laws that prescribe how they interact with their suppliers, customers and other businesses – and, this includes environmental legislation.’ This level of regulatory control is only likely to increase around the world, as governments become more urgently pressed by the need to tackle issues like climate change.
It could also be a more tactical decision. Chances are, your customers are becoming more concerned with your environmental stance. In the retail industry, for example, eco-conscious brands are thriving and shoppers are becoming more aware of ‘the ethical and environmental impact of goods and services’. In the future, this will extend far beyond where people choose to shop, into every service, provider and business they work with.
But it isn’t simply a matter of people choosing to shop with you – being environmentally friendly may well be crucial for your reputation. The negative publicity that can arise from environmental breaches can be significant, and protesters are bringing these issues to the front of public consciousness more than ever before. Reputational damage can have a serious impact on your business performance, so doing all you can to keep your organisation eco-friendly isn’t just good for the planet: it’ll benefit your PR activity, too.
Making your business more environmentally friendly
So, what strategies can you implement to make your business greener? Simple things, like considering your office supplies, can be a good place to start. Look for recycled paper products, or (where possible) try and implement as many paperless processes as possible. Likewise, you can practice ‘green procurement’ to ensure your suppliers ‘source goods and services that have been produced sustainably and don’t require extensive packaging’.
But your technology can also have an impact, especially given air travel has such a high carbon footprint. One significant way you could improve your green credentials is by limiting the amount of travel you and your employees do. Whether it’s long, daily commutes into the offices, or jet-setting around the world for face-to-face meetings, you could be racking up a lot of air miles and a hefty carbon footprint along with it. To tackle this, think about the communications infrastructure you could implement that might allow you to work more remotely – like Unified Communications (UC), which encompasses voice, data, mobile and video.
You might not have considered this aspect of UC, but the reality is, it could seriously improve your organisation’s environmental impact. By making communications easier and more reliable, UC limits the need for face-to-face meetings and empowers staff to work from anywhere in the world. If you know you can reliably video conference with colleagues and clients around the world, the need to travel is reduced. This could result in a significantly reduced carbon footprint, as well as improving your all-round efficiency.
The environmentally (and business) friendly choice
Of course, this is by no means the only benefit of UC. As well as limiting your environmental impact, integrated comms can also increase employee engagement, improve customer satisfaction, and make your business more agile and efficient. Plus, it’s easy to implement – and can be paid for via one simple monthly cost per user. So, UC won’t just improve your green credentials: it could boost your organisation’s performance, too.
Adapted from 'The green credentials (and other benefits) of Unified Communications', written by Cem Ahmet and originally posted to the official site of Gamma.