Workplace sustainability is one of the biggest trends at organizations today, with consumers, business partners and prospective employees all paying attention to how your organization manages its operations and decisions with regard to environmental impact.

It turns out, "going green" could actually be good for business. By making changes to save money on energy costs, reduce carbon emissions and otherwise achieve greater workplace sustainability, finance leaders can impact their organization's bottom line while boosting their brand and public reputation. Here's how organizations can implement sustainable business practices and benefit from becoming a green workplace.

Save on Electricity by Switching to LED Light Bulbs

One of the most immediate and effective ways to "go green" is to have your organization invest in energy-saving technology. This can be as simple as switching the light bulb brand in your offices and facilities to LED light bulbs. The Department of Energy notes that LED lights use 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting. By 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save more than $30 billion nationwide on electricity prices.

Save on Taxes by Applying for Relevant Tax Credits

Did you know there are a number of federal tax incentives to encourage businesses to "go green?" For example, the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a tax incentive that rewards organizations for investing in solar power for buildings they own. The ITC gives a dollar-for-dollar reduction in income taxes owed, equal to 30 percent of the organization's spending on solar power. The ITC is applicable to an investment in various renewable energy sources including fuel cells, hybrid solar lighting systems, solar water heating, solar space heating or cooling and small wind turbines. The Department of Energy offers a "Tax Credits, Rebates & Savings" tool where you can look up tax credits, rebates and incentives available at the state level.

Improve Your Marketing Reach by Promoting Sustainable and Environmental Issues

More and more consumers are interested in buying from businesses that practice environmental sustainability. In fact, Cone Communications reports that, if businesses address environmental issues, they'll receive consumer trust, loyalty and a positive image. A whopping 90 percent of consumers "would switch brands to one associated with a social or environmental cause," notes Cone Communications.

Consider telling the story of your efforts to "go green" in your marketing campaigns. There are a variety of ecolabeling and certification programs — both through government agencies and third-party programs — to get your organization's products or services certified as eco-friendly.

Improve Your Workforce Recruitment and Retention Strategy by Telling Your Story

Another impact of "going green" is that it can help your organization recruit and retain talented employees. Cone Communications reports that 62 percent of global consumers want to work for a socially responsible organization, even if their salary would be less than elsewhere. This is where telling the story of your organization's commitment to sustainability can become part of your workforce recruitment and retention strategy as well.

There are lots of ways for organizations to "go green," which can come with cost savings and a good reputation. As consumers and prospective employees become more concerned about climate change, fossil fuels and other environmental impacts of modern life, finance leaders have an opportunity to promote an eco-friendly agenda. By investing in energy-saving technologies, capitalizing on renewable energy investment tax credits and building the organization's reputation as one committed to "going green," your business may be able to enjoy the bottom line benefits and brand-enhancing effects of becoming a sustainability leader.

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Tags: Tax Credits corporate social responsibility culture