Going Green: How Business Can Benefit in More Ways than One

If you’re thinking about “going green,” then you should first go deep.

What does that mean? Essentially, you need to think big. Besides demonstrating a love for the environment, making a meaningful commitment to the green cause can reap benefits in other ways.

Some politicians are currently pushing for a plan requiring low-carbon infrastructure redevelopment for buildings across the country as part of the “Green New Deal,” or GND. Whether or not the GND succeeds, it seems the future of infrastructure will rely more heavily on environmentally-friendly development. There is no time like the present to start making changes your business practices. Pretty soon, when everyone must be eco-savvy, it becomes more difficult for you to stand out. Committing to “going green” now can benefit not only your carbon footprint, but also can strengthen your reputation in the public eye.

So, how do you get the word out? In short – earned media. It is a valuable branding tool for any organization. Getting coverage is easier said than done, but if you do something remarkable, people will want to write about you. In the late 1970s, psychologist Herbert Gans developed the idea of journalistic values. These values describe what resonates with readers. The media won’t cover the cool things your business is doing unless they are novel or newsworthy. One of these values, “Responsible Capitalism,” suggests Americans love competitive businesses who care about community and the environment.

Perception is everything, and the public can be judgmental and fickle. A successful business devoid of any philanthropic initiatives could be seen as greedy. That’s why making an organization-wide commitment to environmentally-friendly practices shows the public your business cares about more than just profits and facilitates a personal connection to target audiences. But, it isn’t only external audiences that matter. Establishing strong internal messaging for company employees keeps everyone on the same page and creates a sense of unity.

Understanding public relations means thinking like a journalist. The media is under no obligation to write about you but showing everyone you’re a strong, positive contributor to your community could change that. You may even draw the attention of organizations like the U.S. Green Building Council, which recognizes and approves energy-efficient or “green” facilities. Media will want to write about you, if you are changing lives for the better and truly doing your part to help the environment.

So, think big, think green, and always think like a journalist.

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