In talking about California’s Net Zero Energy (ZNE) goals for 2030, it is clear that one of the most important reasons that business go green is to meet policy requirements. But, what would happen if those policies did not exist? Would business leaders still look for alternative energy sources, build and retrofit their facilities to be more energy efficient, or consider other environmentally-friendly options when it came to running their business? While, I am certain that many business owners would still lead a charge to be more environmentally-conscious, it is more likely that the majority of business owners would make more choices based on the financial bottom line rather than a “feel-good” choice for the environment.
I cannot blame business owners for making choices that are right for their business, because I understand their position. It can sometimes be a tough choice between making an environmentally-smart decision and a financially-smart one. Fortunately, there are ways to find the balance between being green and running a successful business, and many energy-efficient and alternative energy solutions can actually save a company money in their utility bills over time.
If government policies were not in place, why would a business need to care enough to choose green solutions? The simple (and perhaps complex in a way too) answer is that the climate changes happening in the world are already affecting businesses. A business pays for climate change in adjustments to their facilities or they pay for it in other ways.
Water, or the lack thereof, typically becomes a trending topic in the summer as everyone is cautioned to cut back on the use of water. As the climate changes, it is gradually affecting the availability of water in California and other parts of the United States. The snowcaps are decreasing in size and are melting sooner in the year, this taxes the water storage systems and leads to shortages later in the year.
For some businesses, water is vital to the manufacturing process. For others waters shortages could turn into increased utility costs and interruptions to doing business.
Extreme Weather and Natural Disasters
In the Eastern United States, there have an increasing number of stronger-than-normal hurricanes that are causing catastrophic flooding, In California, wildfires are becoming bigger and harder to fight. Extreme weather and natural disasters can cause financial loss for businesses ranging from a facility lost to a fire to lost days of work for employees because of severe weather. An increase in natural disasters can also lead to more expensive insurance premiums.
Increasing heat can have several effects on a business. For businesses whose workers primarily work outside or in conditions that are exposed to the weather, the rising temperatures make it more likely that an employee will suffer from a heat-related illness. Also, hotter temperatures can cause higher utility bills as HVAC systems work hard to keep facilities at comfortable temperatures.
Rising sea levels are beginning to erode the coastal areas of the United States. For businesses not located on a coast, it can be tempting to not worry as much about the effect of coastal erosion on the day-to-day of business. However, it can (and does) effect businesses throughout the United States. Coastal erosion may begin to cause issues with major transportation routes, causing delays and higher costs in shipping and receiving goods from coastal areas. The rising seas levels are also causing fresh water sources to become mixed with salt water, contaminating it for use as drinking water.
Why It Matters
As you can see, with or without policies, the changes in the world’s climate is already affecting businesses and without major shifts to greener choices, the effects will only get worse. While government policies may be difficult to live up to, not doing anything may be a far worse choice.
Choose What is Right for Business and the World
At Emilygrene Corp., we help clients find that right mix of meeting government policies, choosing to be green, and making financially-smart decisions. If you need help in finding the balance between those three things, contact us today.