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With Earth Day being celebrated today, it is time to renew the commitment to work together to make sure that our planet is cleaner, that we live a more sustainable life and attempt to help others to do the same.

A ‘green’ business strives to have a positive impact on the environment and community it operates in. It adopts and practices business strategies and policies that improve the quality of life for its customers and employees and goes beyond regulations to demonstrate its commitment to a healthy and sustainable future.

Going green makes good business sense. A high impact initiative is to to reduce paper waste. A sound paper policy is built on three basic principles: reducing paper use, recycling paper and buying environmentally preferable paper. A recent study by Xerox showed that 45% of the paper printed in offices ends up in the trash can by the end of the day. This less-than-one-day lifespan is the fate of one trillion sheets of paper per year, worldwide. Bank of America saved $500,000 in paper, transportation, storing and handling costs by simply reducing the paper density of its ATM receipts from 20 pounds to 15.

Even customers admire green business practices and the demand for environmentally-friendly products is on the rise. According to a survey conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), more consumers were willing to pay a higher price for green products if they were considered to be of higher quality.

Environmentally conscious business practices help attract and retain the best employees by enhancing employee satisfaction and pride in the workplace. Workers are paying growing attention to companies’ environmental policies and an increasing number report that they would be more inclined to work for ‘green’ companies.

Lastly, community involvement is an important cornerstone for many companies and green business practices enhance public image, community relations and goodwill.
However, it’s important not to get too bogged down in the big concepts. It’s the practical, day-to-day ideas that will help businesses go green 365 days a year, ensuring that we think and act green every day.

– Fauzia Kerai Khan
The writer is Chief Consultant, i&b Consulting, Training, eLearning. fauzia@iandbconsulting.com.

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on April 22, 2012.