In business, there is a broad harmony on environmental initiatives. While they are good for the planet and customers, they can hurt business.

It is believed that going green or adopting sustainable initiatives involves higher costs which will affect profits. Given this, can businesses go the full distance by being environmentally sustainable?

Considering that several companies have indeed implemented green measures, it has been proved that ecology and economy is not as competitive as many assume. When done well, it’s possible to advance both pursuits simultaneously.

Eco-innovation has considerable benefits. It not only helps tap into small and emerging markets, but is also a great tool to attract investors. In addition, continuous and concerted adoption of sustainable measures raises the possibility of abolishing waste and reducing an organisation’s costs.

In the UAE and elsewhere, governments have mandated environmental compliance in various forms, which ensure all members in the business chain adopt green measures thereby extinguishing some of the higher costs involved in the logistics. This in turn, presents opportunities for businesses to gain a competitive edge and push profits.

While a business operating with a green mindset is good for the environment, it can also help save it money. In addition, a refined public image is a great benefit from going green. Studies show that consumers are more attracted to companies that regard the environment ... and a natural effect of a positive public image is a guaranteed increase in sales.

From Walmart to Target, incorporating green initiatives have helped them record a 20 per cent increase in sales. Although there are several benefits to going green, it is critical businesses remain genuine in their approach.

As such, business policies should be consistent with the green measures, and entrepreneurs must actually do what they claim to be doing in green-themed marketing campaigns. One of the best approaches to tap and go the full distance with green initiatives is through letting the customer take part in positive environmental action.

When it comes down to the benefits of going green for a business, the positives clearly offset the negatives. The time and money invested might take longer to reimburse, but once it does, it pays back in dividends over the years. And not only in money but offering a feel-good factor, which makes the company a hit with its target audience.

As a business, sometimes the best thing to do with a bandwagon is jump on it. However, just don’t talk, but take action on the green policies. The green landscape is huge, and if businesses have a powerful selling point, they will not just be able to differentiate from the competition, but also have a larger share in a segment of the market that continues to grow.

It’s time entrepreneurs take the plunge, and see the positive impact going green can make.

— Ryan Ribeiro is Executive Director of Invoiz, an initiative that promotes the use of digital receipts in place of paper-based ones.