At the dawn of the 21st century, manufacturing firms are facing a shifting business landscape on many levels. Everything from employment trends to raw material costs seems to be in flux, and energy usage is no exception. How companies consume, waste, conserve, and pay for their energy resources is now a hot topic and a strong determinant of success for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer manufacturing enterprises.
What should you be doing to make sure your business is eco-conscious? And why should you invest in clean, green energy decisions even if they seem to promise low short-term ROI?
The Value of Environmental Consciousness
Consider Diamond Wipes International, a manufacturing facility located in Chino, California. The company, a mid-sized producer of disposable wipes for the hotel and restaurant industry, recently invested in a giant 3,360 panel solar power installation at its Chino plant. The installation produces enough to offset the company’s energy needs, and even collects energy in excess of those needs on sunny days. But at 1.6 million dollars, or eight percent of the company’s yearly earnings, the panels came at no small cost.
And even while they supply clean, cost-free energy and much of their investment will be returned in the form of government rebates, the panels are not expected to pay for themselves for at least seven or eight years. So where is the financial value of the panels expected to lie? And why has the company made this decision? Diamond’s answer is simple: It’s just good business.
A Green Reputation
Many manufacturing firms, especially business-to-business enterprises like Diamond, are seeing trends in the market landscape that show a strong and rising consumer demand for products developed by green companies, using green materials in green facilities. Everything matters, from energy sources to packaging, to the origin of raw materials. And since Diamond’s business clients are facing a high expectation of sustainability from their consumers, that demand shapes and influences their supply chains.
While Diamond may have poured a heavy upfront investment into its green energy installation, the company is already seeing the benefits in increased business-to-business client interest. In an age of increasing concern for sustainable business practices, manufacturers are advised to think “clearly, but quickly” as they consider adopting cleaner standards. And most experts agree that those who ignore green energy and production trends do so at great financial risk.
Are you facing important green energy decisions and trying to calculate optimal levels of investment? The Seattle small business and staffing experts at Pace can help. Contact us for us for a consultation today.