Going green no longer just a trend
Consumers are increasingly seeking out sustainable products and/ or services, and leaning towards supporting companies who are making genuine efforts to improve their sustainability rankings.
"The green revolution has taken root in society’s general consciousness." says Jurie Hanekom of Swartland. "Operating in an environmentally sustainable way, and offering products and services with verifiable green credentials, is no longer a mere fringe movement reserved for boutique consumer products, but rather, it has become a mainstream movement worldwide, and for the younger generation, living sustainably in a fundamental value." he continues.
Over the past decade, environmental issues have steadily encroached on business largely due to escalating public and governmental concern about climate change, industrial pollution, food safety, and natural resource depletion, to name a few. As a result, consumers are increasingly seeking out sustainable products and services, and leaning towards supporting companies who are making genuine efforts to improve their sustainability rankings.
Even governments are interceding, with new regulations governing green practices and requirements. In South Africa, one example is the SANS 10400-XA National Building Regulations covering energy usage in buildings, which has had a massive impact on the building industry at large.
The current state of the environment we inhabit is cause to be more environmentally conscious – from the food we eat, the cars we drive, right down to the windows and doors we choose for our homes. There are several benefits to embracing environmentally friendly practices:
Saving you money
While overhauling more traditional, less earth-friendly practices can be a sizeable initial investment, if you look at the investment over the long-term, the savings can be immense. Choosing sustainable products can cost you a little more up front, but if you analyse what they will save you over time, you will see that they will not only allow you to recoup your initial investment, but will also save you considerable cost in the long run.
As an example, Fenestration (arrangement of windows in a building), continues to be one of the worst culprits for energy loss in homes. It has been estimated that approximately 40% of all energy loss in a building occurs through standard, single pane windows. This number can be dramatically reduced if compliant windows are used instead. These windows won’t be the cheapest windows on the market, but they will end up saving you hundreds of thousands of Rands on your utility bills over the years.
Today, we live in the digital age, and consumers are well informed – they can easily go online and check out a business’s green credentials and tell the genuinely committed ones apart from the ‘fakers’. Surveys consistently show that more than half of consumers prefer to buy from companies with an environmental conscious – and with the transparency inherent in the digital age that means that a company has to actually be green, and not just seem green.
Helping the environment
This might be stating the obvious, but none the less, it remains worth noting. Beyond the prudent economic reasons to go green, at its core, it remains an important step in preserving the earth for the long-term. Reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other gasses reduces the impact of global climate change, while cutting back on the use of paper, water, and other materials can help protect natural habitats.
Taking steps towards sustainability
Replacing windows with energy efficient models can go a long way to improving the overall insulation of your home, and save you money on heating and cooling bills. Other examples include installing new lighting systems, enforcing a recycling programme, saving water by installing more water-efficient sanitaryware and fittings, and so on.