Business Operations

Why Become a Green Business?

By Andrée-Anne Blais-Auclair October 9 2019

How does one go about making their business environmentally responsible? Before coming to this question, we must first answer another: Why would a business want to reduce its environmental footprint?


I’m already hearing you make your calculations, exasperated by all the imaginary spending involved… or even asking yourself how much time out of your already-full schedule going green will take.

So Why Go Green?

The answer is self-evident. Even asking the question is kind of a faux-pas. Because! We’re in a crisis! The climate emergency. It’s our duty as citizens, as humans… isn’t it?

Anyone leading a business knows full well that business decisions must be backed by more than values and irrational desires. But going green is so much more than that; it generates concrete benefits and a return on investment that’s worth the sacrifice.

Savings from Going Green

Fondaction CEO Léopold Beaulieu is eloquent in answering entrepreneurs who ask if going green is profitable:

How can it not be? Green initiatives allow you to position yourself on the market and ensure your organization’s sustainability, while using as few resources as possible.

Money saved by a company by going green

We were convinced.

According to most business leaders who have made the jump, the main advantage of doing so turned out to be financial. You read that right. Despite being costly at first, pro-environment choices apparently make for significant savings in the middle and long term. Of course, there’s also time to be invested in the process. And we all know time is money. But know that you can do it little by little, without revamping your whole organization.

Governments Like Green Businesses

As a document from the Ministère du Développement économique, de l’Innovation et de l’Exportation du Québec entitled “Les bénéfices d’une démarche de développement durable pour les entreprises québécoises” points out:

“By attempting to reduce the environmental impact of their production processes, manufacturers benefitted from savings averaging over $50,000 per year, and achieved a return on investment in less than 16 months on average.”

The same document states that many investors, such as the Caisse Desjardins and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, are more inclined to support socially responsible businesses. For example, the Caisse Desjardins founded the SociéTerre portfolios, “which are intended to invest in Canadian businesses selected according to environmental, social and governance criteria.”

What's more, if you didn’t already know, the government grants subsidies for greenhouse gas emission reduction and other green initiatives.

Better Staff Retention

We would also do well to take into account staff’s gross domestic happiness and nourish their pride of working for us. Lest we forget, we’re going through a labour shortage. Going green is a concrete promise to your staff—the promise of caring about tomorrow, and their and their children’s futures.

The best way of recruiting and retaining employees is to offer them more than just a job. Good conditions are well and good, but a mission is even better.

Charles Massicotte, who employs 350 people, stated in a Les Affaires article entitled “Miser sur la rétention du personnel” that “the first element to consider is that your business’s most important asset is its staff. It’s therefore necessary to create environments that promote their mobilization and retention.” Becoming an environmentally responsible business could well become a valuable argument for employees, and an additional source of motivation to work for you, as a responsible employer.

Corporate Culture

But what about you? What sets your corporate culture apart? It’s your brand image. The concept of employer brand refers to that for which an employer is recognized, both internally and externally, in terms of their work environment or social engagement. In a context where the environmental cause is so prominently featured in public space, all social engagements, almost without exception, must include environmentally responsible actions.

A More Appealing Brand Image

Knowing this information reinforces that your green commitments will have a considerable positive effect on your popularity. Did you know that “50% of Canadians say they won’t support a political party that doesn’t commit to combatting climate change?”

What’s more, 86% of Canadians buy green products and services.

86% of Canadians buy green products and services

Lespagesvertes.ca

Do you know Lespagesvertes.ca? It’s a platform listing over 1,500 green enterprises in Quebec. Each enterprise gets a rating forenvironmental awareness. Being on this kind of list is excellent publicity, and lends credibility to environmental initiatives.

The Invaluable Power of Influence

As an employer, you have tthe power to influence, to pave the way, to set trends. There’s nothing more stimulating for a team than an engaging mission and the opportunity to tangibly change the world around them.

Alain Petit, CRHA, notes that:

Mobilization is the measure of an employee’s emotional engagement and bond with their organization. A mobilized employee looks to outdo themselves, and their actions are aligned with their organization’s. They demonstrate a real desire to progress, to perform and to engage, and are certain to have a positive and significant influence.

If your mission is sufficiently embedded in your corporate culture, odds are your employees will adhere to it in their work. They might even be tempted to adopt it in their personal lives. You have the power to inspire change. And what a big change it is.

Are You a Green Business?

Going green with our businesses is a prerequisite for the success of the green shift that’s already underway in Quebec and elsewhere in the world. Environmentally responsible entrepreneurs have the potential to become important catalysts for change. Are you already part of the movement? If not, what are you waiting for? For 10 simple tips to help with going green, read this.


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