By 2030, demand for food, water, and energy is estimated to increase by approximately 50%. Because of this, businesses that are currently implementing energy saving strategies will be far better off in the future than those who are not. Fossil fuels are finite resources and as reserves of coal, gas, and oil run out, prices will climb rapidly. The uncertainty of future supplies of fossil fuels and the growing popularity of “green energy” should incentivize businesses to adopt sustainable strategies.
Many companies are reluctant to make energy changes and other sustainability changes because of the initial costs and obligations. Although start-up costs for clean technology are generally higher than costs for traditional energy technology, the future savings from clean technology can actually make it the least expensive option overall. For example, switching from traditional lighting to LED lighting can save a business 50% on its lighting electricity costs, and the initial costs associated with implementing the clean technology can be recovered in just three years.
Executives in Brazil, China, Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States were asked about sustainable business practices and not even half had implemented goals to reduce water consumption, waste, and fossil fuel emissions. I believe the main reason for this is a lack of clean technology knowledge around the world. In the last few years alone, “clean tech” costs have fallen dramatically. For instance, it costs half of what it did three years ago to install solar panels. These price drops have made it much more affordable for businesses worldwide to integrate sustainable, clean technology.
In today’s sluggish economy, it may seem unreasonable for a business to spend a large sum of money on upgrading to clean technology; however, this ignores the future cost savings. Firms must realize both the economic and environmental gains that can result from implementing clean technology and sustainable strategies. In addition, clean energy’s increasing popularity may enhance public relations for a firm that operates in a sustainable manner.