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Environmental Protection & Preservation


Green Business Bureau Helps Businesses Get Most Environmental Bang for Their Buck


The Green Business Bureau helps eco-minded businesses and consumers across the nation save money while saving the environment. In the midst of a dire economic climate, concerns over global warming and depleting natural resources tend to take backseat to anxieties about depleting financial resources. But the initiatives of the Green Business Bureau-or GBB for short-prove that Americans wanting to be more conservative with their money can actually benefit from taking steps to conserve the environment.

For the GBB, "going green" means more than just becoming eco-friendly. It means becoming eco-efficient, too. At the core of the GBB organization is a program of green initiatives -essentially, specific and cost-efficient tasks that businesses can undertake on their path to sustainability. The GBB's founder, Marcos Cordero, believes that "mindless greenwashing" has become a cultural epidemic, so he wanted to offer businesses a practical and financially prudent plan for becoming environmentally responsible that included more than just a bunch of planet-saving tips and tricks.

So what makes the GBB's program of initiatives so different? "Every initiative our member businesses receive has been designed to yield the maximum benefit for the environment while minimizing the level of effort and investment. And each set of recommendations has also been specifically tailored to the goals and needs of that individual business," said Cordero. "Essentially, we've calculated the equation for delivering your business the most environmental bang for its buck."

The GBB has set out to prove that being environmentally ethical and commercially successful are actually mutually beneficial, rather than incompatible, goals. Cordero himself is somewhat of an oxymoron-he's a business-savvy entrepreneur and soulful environmentalist all at once. Those qualities led him to found an organization that would enable a broader base of businesses to participate in sustainable practices by giving them not only informational resources-a straightforward "roadmap" for implementing those practices-but also cost-saving incentives. GBB.org, where member businesses can log in to access their personalized going-green program, allows business managers to track how their efforts pay off, not only in terms of estimated environmental impact but also in terms of fiscal rewards. One initiative, for example, encourages the use of recycled toners for workplace printers, estimating the yearly cost savings at $500 for a small-sized company that makes the switch from traditional toners.

If the GBB system of greening the economy takes off, consumers who have reluctantly curbed spending on eco-friendly goods in an effort to keep their pocketbooks intact may be pleasantly surprised to find that green products are becoming increasingly affordable as more companies put eco-efficiency into practice. Businesses that become certified by the GBB can reach out to this growing base of eco-aware consumers by letting their customers know that they've been recognized for their commitment to sustainability by a nationwide, third-party organization. (To help get the word out, the GBB provides member businesses with a GBB seal to display in their storefront or on their website, in addition to listing them in their online directory of green-certified businesses.)

Recent marketing surveys show that even in rough economic times, consumers prefer to buy green products. Three new reports from Forrester Research, the Carbon Trust Standard, and IRI find anywhere from 16 to 62 percent of shoppers in the U.S. and U.K. take environmental considerations to heart when making a purchase. And Washington seems to take environmental policy seriously, too. As part of their plan to rescue the economy, the Obama administration has proposed a slew of initiatives intended to stimulate the market by investing in environmentally friendly projects. In short, it's hard to ignore the growing body of evidence that going green is more critical than ever for businesses that want to stay afloat in our sinking economy-and thrive in the long-term as well.

When it comes to our economy, it seems that green is the color of the future. The GBB is on to something big. But they're making it easy for businesses to achieve this big goal by taking small steps. For more information about the organization or to become a member, visit GBB.org.





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