Now more than ever before are companies feeling the pressure to alter their practices to be more environmentally-conscious. Climate change is having real affects on the state of our planet. The decisions we make now will have lasting consequences for generations to come. No longer can corporations avoid responsibility as society is forced to shift to more sustainable measures. At the same time, there are self-serving benefits for companies to consider when thinking of becoming more eco-friendly. Going green will not just help save the planet, but it also has the potential to save businesses money and their own brand reputations.
Major corporations, even those on Wall Street, that have changed their strategies cite reasoning to maximize profits and mitigate risk. Preserving resources simply makes good business sense, and sustainable working measures should thus be common sense for successful companies. Companies like Wal-Mart have found that by switching to solar power, for example, they’ve saved a significant amount of money on their energy bills (Davenport, 2014). Depending on fossil fuels is becoming increasingly more risky as well. A case in point includes the ever-fluctuating prices of oil and the potential for it to become more regulated. Consequentially, making smart business decisions can also improve market share from more competitive products. Pat Tiernan, Hewlett-Packard Co.’s vice president for social and environmental responsibility, explained, “We don’t do things just to be, for example, tree huggers. We do select things that have a brand value to them, but most of the things that we do, it has to make business sense” (Davenport, 2014).
Companies are joining the movement; The Goldman Sachs Group has already invested over $1.5 billion to alternative and clean energy usages (Davenport, 2014). Our society soon will no longer be able to depend on our planet the way it currently does; our resources are fleeting quickly and we must transition to new methods.
Not only is it smart from a financial standpoint, but public relations professionals are also supporting the green movement for brand image purposes. With consumers becoming increasingly more concerned with the status of the environment, many are learning that the brands they support have significant influence over our planet’s health as well. A company that is showing how they are giving back to the planet, and thus customers’ communities, will develop stronger and more positive brand reputations (Linn, 2007). Consumers are attracted to brands that exude similar values as they admire, and eco-sustainability is quickly rising in moral demand.
Not only does this impact the target customer base, but job seekers are also becoming more interested in businesses that adhere to similar virtues (Linn, 2007). A company’s predominant brand image has a considerable affect on the applicants they receive.
There is no doubt that with the inevitable rise of climate change, more companies will follow the trend to go green– not only by the advice of financial consultants, but also public relations professionals. Global citizens want to preserve our planet’s health, thus people will increasingly become more sensitive to the corporate social responsibility measures companies take. Public relations practitioners should be additionally researching how the organizations they support can improve their carbon footprints and consequential brand images.